Monday, September 30, 2013

Facts vs Values in Science

Science, performing some social hygiene:
(and using what else but climate change as the primary example)

Better scientific policy decisions start with knowing facts from values, Aug 2013

When gathering public input on policy questions, scientists can speak with authority about facts, but must remember that everyone is an expert when it comes to values.

"Using climate change as an example, a scientist could say, 'The climate is changing.' That's a fact that can be checked," said Thomas Dietz, a member of the MSU Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) and professor of sociology, environmental science and policy, and animal studies.

"But if a scientist says, 'We need to take these actions to halt climate change because it's affecting what people care about,' that's a value. And scientists have no more authority to speak about values than anyone else. Everyone is qualified to speak about values."

Bringing values and deliberation to science communication, Thomas Dietz, 2013
This paper results from the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences, “The Science of Science Communication,” held May 21–22, 2012, at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC. The complete program and audio files of most presentations are available on the NAS Web site at

see also:
Anthropogenic Metadata on Climate Science
aka The Low-Hanging Fruit of Neuro-Pop in the Age of Big Datty
July 21, 2013

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