‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Science and Public Trust

There is a very significant paper by Mike Hulme and Jerome Ravetz on the BBC website about trust in science

Read it here - BBC 'Show Your Working'

(N.B. This is posted because of what it says about the process of science - not because of what it says about climate change).

A few snippets from the article

A revolution in science

"So we have a three-fold revolution in the demands that are placed on scientific knowledge claims as they apply to investigations such as climate change:

•To be warranted, knowledge must emerge from a respectful process in which science's own internal social norms and practices are adhered to
•To be validated, knowledge must also be subject to the scrutiny of an extended community of citizens who have legitimate stakes in the significance of what is being claimed
•And to be empowered for use in public deliberation and policy-making, knowledge must be fully exposed to the proliferating new communication media by which such extended peer scrutiny takes place.

The opportunity that lies at the centre of these more open practices of science is to secure the gold standard of trust."

"A more open and a better understood science process will mean more trusted science, and will increase the chances of both "good science" and "good policy". "Show your working" is the imperative given to scientists when preparing for publication to peers. There, it refers to techniques. Now, with the public as partner in the creation and implementation of scientific knowledge in the policy domain, the injunction has a new and enhanced meaning."

And a happy new year

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