Juncker axes Europe’s chief scientific adviser

Juncker axes Europe’s chief scientific adviser | Science | theguardian.com.

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Science: the religion that must not be questioned

Henry Gee (a Senior Editor at Nature) has written in today’s Guardian on the awkward public status of science, stemming from an ongoing but worsening failure of the general public, the media and the political classes to understand how science really works. Jumbo jets, damp-proofing, the arch, plastic, moon landings and nuclear power – not to mention countless other modern achievements and taken-for-granted features of everyday life – owe their utility, reliability, ubiquity or even existence to science, in one form or another. As a result, we see the pronouncements of science in terms of absolute certainty, unquestionable fact, or “Truth”. Continue reading

US supreme court rules human genes cannot be patented

An interesting article. Though the implications are not straightforward, and the outcome not as clear cut as the headline might suggest, it offers support to those who feel that unmodified DNA should be no more patentable than naturally-occurring minerals or other substances in their natural state.

US supreme court rules human genes cannot be patented | Law | guardian.co.uk.

Beware the rise of the government scientists turned lobbyists

George Monibot

George Monibot discusses the alleged distortion by political interests of scientific advice to the public from government scientists. It is an important issue, well expressed in this piece. I say “allegedly” though, because quotes from scientists are notoriously vulnerable to misinterpretation out of context, and scientists themselves often struggle to get their point across in ways non-scientists (including Mr. Monibot) can understand.

Yet when government scientists unambiguously disagree with their political masters, they can expect to be scorned and even dismissed. Wouldn’t want to be in their shoes…

Beware the rise of the government scientists turned lobbyists | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian.