Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Roundup: Uncertainty, Science, and Public Policy

There are two interesting essays on the evolution/ID debate in today's newspapers.  Nobody is going to be persuaded one way or the other by either article, but perhaps they can bring much-needed perspective to the debate.  Christians can't afford to oppose evolution, by Richard Colling, published in the Chicago Tribune, attempts to bridge the gap in understanding between both sides.  Borrowing from the style of George Lakoff, the author presents the objections each side had to the other's viewpoint.  In God and Darwin We Trust, by Dan Neil, in the LA Times, presents the view of the debate as described by inhabitants of Patagonia.  

Hot on Parkinson's Tail, also in the LA Times, describes the current thinking about the possible relationship between exposure to pesticides, and Parkinson disease.   Climate talks - hoops and hot air, by Richard Black, posted at BBC News, is a nice display of British humor.  A nice display of British formality can be found in Handling Uncertainty in Scientific Advice, published by the UK's Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology.  What these all have in common, is that they portray and discuss the problems that arise when various degrees of uncertainty are portrayed -- and misportrayed -- when scientific matters become issues in public policy.  Continue reading here.