Monthly Archives: April 2016

When Science Doesn’t Work

About my blog posts: In the About section of this blog, I describe that I want this blog to support the kind of dialogue my eponymous book advocates: a dialogue focused on understanding the other side to increase the likelihood of creating robust and stable compromise solutions. To that end, I’m going to try and make most of my posts on environmental topics not be advocacy pieces. Instead, I want to focus on posing questions (both supportive and critical) that an issue, article, news event, etc. suggests, in the hope of encouraging and supporting dialogue. I admit, this is certainly not what most blog posts are like, but why not try something different? So, here it goes …

Arts and Letters Daily recently highlighted an article by William Wilson in First Things entitled “Scientific Regress.” In it, Wilson poses questions about the foundation of the authority of science and, by implication, how to use science in policy-making. These questions are related to Chapter 5 in my book. Some questions I thought of from reading the article:

  • Is the human aspect of science troublesome to the enterprise of figuring out what to do? Why or why not?
  • Does the article justify a non-policy-prescriptive approach to science and policy, even assuming the article’s arguments is correct? Why or why not? What approach do you think the article does justify?
  • Does scientism as the author describes enter into environmental issues? If so, in what ways? If not, why?