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Science used for Public Policy

kgrass's picture

In class on Thursday, we discussed how uncertainty is a large part of the scientific process. Often times experiments result in more questions than answers, which leads to more exploration. Creativity and different viewpoints are crucial for approaching problems and seeking a more complete understanding of a question. These are many positive outcomes of the uncertainty of science. The negative aspect to uncertainty is when science is used to make public policy. If these observations and beliefs aren’t certain, when is there enough evidence to be used to dictate what people can and can’t do? If the evidence can yield different interpretations, what makes one interpretation more valuable than another? There are many ideas that in retrospect we can see was “wrong” or a bad approach to a situation due to the evidence and observations we have now. It makes me wonder what beliefs the general population holds that future generations will look back on and say “what were they thinking”??  


skindeep's picture

i found this post very

i found this post very interesting, you ask when we have enough evidence to dictate people's actions and what makes one interpretation more valuable than another - these questions made me think about society today, and the pillars it stands on. we are surrounded by societies that are governed by laws that are based on concepts like religion and ethics and history. we create and negate ideas based on the knowledge we have today, and almost everything we do is based on an idea of the way it's always been, or the way people think it's always been.

what/who decides what is and is not legitimate? what are we calculating when we claim to calculate the 'general public opinion' -- as we've built society, we've built barriers and divisions between people, and well, where does that leave us?

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