Thanks to a Montanan who sent this link to a Missoulian article entitled “Conservation biologists must take message to politicians, experts say at UM.”
The weeklong gathering has brought scientists, policymakers and journalists from around the world to the University of Montana. While much of the gathering is focused on the latest scientific discipline discoveries, this year’s agenda also features many discussions about getting more science to the general public.
Dominick DellaSala, president and chief scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, argued that even different political camps can end up following the same policy aims. He said that while the George W. Bush administration caught fire for recommending logging and thinning in spotted owl habitat with little evidence that would help the bird, the Obama administration has pursued a very similar policy.
“The thinning goes forward even though the science says, ‘Wait a minute,’ ” DellaSala said. “With the precautionary principle, the agency has the burden of proof to demonstrate it’s not harmful.”
Based on these quotes, the folks there seem to be pretty sloppy about what is “science.” For example, the precautionary principle is not science, it’s an idea or value. I don’t believe that particular idea is enshrined in law but others can help with that.
Here are some more:
But that’s going to take a higher level of commitment and organization than most scientists are willing to assume, said David Johns, a professor of politics and law at Portland State University and co-founder of the Yellowstone-to-Yukon Conservation Initiative.
“Conservationists have abandoned grassroots organizing,” Johns said. “It’s mostly check-writers supporting professional staff. But when you’re only playing the inside game, you can’t match the resources of our opponents.”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said managing people is much harder than managing wildlife, especially where science is involved. When people “stack facts based on beliefs,” to make political decisions, it becomes extremely hard for scientific evidence to persuade someone to change an opinion.
Ah.. it sounds like conservation “ists” and “biologists” are the same folks.. but “science” is supposed to be objective (or not..). Even Director Ashe as quoted seems to believe that “science” should drive political decisions.
The curious thing about this is that everyone knows that scientists in the real world do have different values and do disagree about things.. in fact, science is supposed to be open and transparent. Plus our government if supposed to be “of the people” not “of the scientists.”
And politicians get that .. that’s why you see scientists of all persuasions testifying at hearings.