The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics
Scientists have a choice concerning what role they should play in political debates and policy formation, particularly in terms of how they present their research. This book is about understanding this choice, what considerations are important to think about when deciding, and the consequences of such choices for the individual scientist and the broader scientific enterprise. Rather than prescribing what course of action each scientist ought to take, the book aims to identify a range of options for individual scientists to consider in making their own judgments about how they would like to position themselves in relation to policy and politics. Using examples from a range of scientific controversies and thought-provoking analogies from other walks of life, The Honest Broker challenges us all - scientists, politicians and citizens - to think carefully about how best science can contribute to policy-making and a healthy democracy.
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Page 65 - Th' unfeeling for his own. Yet, ah ! why should they know their fate, Since sorrow never comes too late, And happiness too swiftly flies ? Thought would destroy their paradise ! No more ; — where ignorance is bliss, 'T is folly to be wise.
Page 166 - ... am using the term is that in which the prospect of a European war is uncertain, or the price of copper and the rate of interest twenty years hence, or the obsolescence of a new invention, or the position of private wealth owners in the social System in 1970. About these matters there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know.
Page 105 - We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act.
Page 110 - Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose—and you allow him to make war at pleasure.
Page 107 - Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
Page 167 - There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.
Page 166 - About these matters there is no scientific basis on which to form any calculable probability whatever. We simply do not know. Nevertheless, the necessity for action and for decision compels us as practical men to do our best to overlook this awkward fact and to behave exactly as we should if we had behind us a good Benthamite calculation of a series of prospective advantages and disadvantages, each multiplied by its appropriate probability, waiting to be summed.