28 January 2011

Science Meets Politics

If you happen to teach science and policy, or you are a scientist interested in participating in the policy process or you are just curious about how experts participate in the political process, then you'll find this short 10 minute video of interest.

It shows a scientist, an agronomist, testifying before the Washington State Senate Environment, Water and Energy Committee.  He gives a short testimony, then gets some questions from the State Senators and the State Senators then get into a debate, with one ultimately walking out.

Here are some questions for discussion after you see the video:

The scientist claims to be "objective" and speaking for science.  What might this mean?

The policy makers appear to have no interest in his science, and focus on his legitimacy and thus credibility.  What is going on here?

What might the scientist have done differently?

What might the policy makers have done differently?

What does this say about the relationship of science and policy in a highly politicized context?