Tag Archives: Nature

Some of us rather deal with bacteria than people

There is no love lost between science and politics in my experience. The general population overall seems to have a level of distrust for both. The nature of politics showing as people pleasing, backstabbing, and a bit dirty to younger generations, has possibly deterred individuals interest in politics. Some of us rather deal with bacteria than people.

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Luke Jerram with glass E. coli (http://www.visualnews.com/2011/06/11/harmful-virus-made-of-beautiful-glass/)

How ever this can lead to serious problems in decision making in politics and isolation of science from society. Luckily there are scientific advisers at many levels of governing. An enlightening article in Nature by Peter Gluckman, the scientific adviser of New Zealand’s prime minister, paints a positive picture of this position. His comment on the advisers role in policy making underlines that we can’t just barge in to politics:

The role of the science adviser is often less about providing direct technical expertise than it is about nudging attitudes and practices to enhance both the demand for and the supply of evidence for public policy.

The preparation of policies is not about bringing up great science and implementing policies only driven by raw science. The society has other parameters, that need to be taken into account like economy, traditions, and social structure. Scientists need to be aware of these parameters as much as policy makers need to understand science.

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HIV in glass by Luke Jerram (http://www.lukejerram.com/glass/gallery)

Cutting edge science can be extremely difficult to grasp. Nature News has put out a helpful list of tips for evaluating scientific claims for non-scientists. It has twenty core principles of evaluating scientific data explained. There is also a 20 point tip list for scientists to understand the making of policies in the Guardian written in response to the Nature’s list. Putting these lists to use in policymakers and scientists interactions could make a positive impact on the whole process and bring the two groups together. Not to mention increase the trust of public for both politics and science.