26 February 2013

Promises and Paradoxes of Scientific Authority

Earlier this month I participated in an excellent symposium on the global politics of scientific advice organized by the Steps Centre at the University of Sussex. They have now put videos from all of the sessions online. Above is my lecture.

You can see the rest (highly recommended), here.


  1. Roger,

    Are you going to provide some more details about the meeting? Very curious to learn more about it.

  2. Good talk Roger, thanks for posting

  3. The expert needs to be both an advocate, or rather adviser, and a scientist. They should present the PDF and the single number in that order, where both are supported by strong evidence (not inference - this is where the expert and advocate part ways).

    A consequence of a highly educated population is that more individuals are capable of discerning misrepresentation or outright fraud without specialty knowledge and without direct participation in the specialty field. The expert needs to acknowledge this pervasive knowledge and skill and offer a presentation which respects each of the stakeholders. This is obviously most pertinent when considering issues with a ubiquitous effect.

    If the experts persist in mistreating people, then they should expect a negative response commensurate to their impertinence. It does not serve the expert well to treat adults as children or otherwise incapable of properly ordering their lives and managing the risk inherent to life.

    This is where many experts, advocates, and politicians get it wrong. They need to respect the intelligence and dignity of people. They need to stop exploiting people in order to implement their preferred perception of reality.

    That said, I welcome The Honest Broker. Thanks for sharing, Professor Pielke.

  4. A great distillation of many posts here, made very accessible both intellectually and temporally. Excellent presentation.