Tuesday, February 06, 2007

lawnscience question #4

Today's New York Times has a profile on Susan Solomon, the scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charged with generating the fourth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report. According to the article, the report has been simultaneously critiqued for going too far, and for not going far enough. I'm interested in the latter question, because in defending her decision not to take a stronger approach to providing policy recommendations, she says "I believe that is a societal choice. I believe science is one input to that choice, and I also believe that science can best serve society by refraining from going beyond its expertise."

This I understand--and a lot of people, though definitely not all, believe that there can be some sort of distinction drawn between science and policy. But *how* should we actually draw the line? And if we can't come up with neutral criteria for where the line actually *is*, can we at least come up with neutral "procedural" criteria for figuring out whether we each should draw the line?

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