See that's the kind of thing I'd say to their faces too :).
wouldn’t that mean that the chief scientist would have to zip up about an enormous range of topics that he currently opines on?
No because if you read his essays he fully references his data. Where he doesn't know himself he can access scientists who do know and can give you the citations.
What it does mean is that my opinion on the latest surgical techniques is worth as much as a surgeons opinions on GMOs i.e. not much at all.
trying to retain connection and have some influence.
but that is exactly the foundation of 'access journalism' as revealed by #dirtypolitics. Trading off the truth of a matter now in exchange for future opportunities.
I really don't think they are the same at all Sasha. I think dirty politics has revealed that some journalists are entirely comfortable with spreading lies in order to retain favour.
Professor Sir Peter doesn't trade off truth - at least as far as I have seen. What he does clearly do is choose where he is willing to put effort.
So for the cannabis debate there is simply nothing he could say that already has not been said - the PMs office knows all the arguments and evidence and they have decided their policy based on ideology not evidence IMO.
By contrast the science funding debate is arguably as hard to sell to National yet he has expended huge effort (an likely political capital) providing mounting evidence that the current policy is wrong. That likely hasn't made him popular with many cabinet members but the benefit (he and I believe) is so broad spectrum that it is worth the risk of damaging the relationship.
BTW it is precisely being able to manage that balancing act that makes me certain I could never fill that role - I am far too likely to simply tell them they are full of crap :).
What I do believe, is that any privilege we have as scientists is a privilege based on public trust in scientific activities.
I tend to use the word responsibility rather than privilege.
People talk, mistakenly I think, about evidence-based policy, when really we should discuss evidence-informed policy.
Typically, research doesn’t produce a black and white answer, it produces something like a consensus that if we do X, then there is a Y% probability of Z happening.
You are right. But there are also times when a fact is simply a fact, no equivocation, no stats needed.
Out of habit most scientists are reluctant to state absolutes because we have enough experience with artifacts to know that we can be made to look like complete dicks.
Gluckman a ‘scientist’ is not something that meets the definition of ‘Scientist’, when anything he says is filtered by the National machine.
While like any person Professor Sir Peter Gluckman may have faults this is an extremely unfair characterisation of him.
He is a very good scientist in his own field and as science adviser he has tried to advise without burning the delicate bridge between the adviser position and the office of the PM. I fervently hope that his position will be retain through future governments.
I suspect that what you see as a lens of National ideology over Gluckman's advice is instead Gluckman trying to retain connection and have some influence.
How universal is the application of the RSNZ Code at the moment?
Those rules are simply a statement of what a good scientist will do anyway. They are nothing more or less than common sense for scientists. So while I'm not a member there is nothing in the rules that I wouldn't naturally follow.
I can’t make head nor tail of this comment. Is it an in house joke?
No just an attempt to reframe her appalling column prior to the election as merely highlighting that both parties were carrying out illegal activities.
Of course it was an utterly false equivalence but rewriting history is par for the course.
In a column about the media and their effect on the election it is almost perfect irony.
It may be that people who don’t vote, don’t enrol, and aren’t able to enrol would be overwhelmingly opposed to national and vote for left-wing parties.
Gah I can't find it now but someone has done the analysis and that is exactly the case. National has maintained about a million voters for ever. What has changed when Labour has won elections is the number of voters, most of whom appear to either not vote or vote Labour depending on how they feel.
But this assumes we should want the media “to persuade” their audience about news stories. I don’t know how comfortable I am with that idea.
But neither do you want the media to simply pass on the media releases from whichever party. Media releases are effectively party political advertising. If the party concerned wants their statement verbatim then they should pay for the advertising and it should have the appropriate riders.
What happened all too often in this campaign was the media quoting Key or worse asking Key to submit his very own opinion pieces - with no analysis whatsoever.
For me, especially at election time, I want the media to use their resources to analyse. To use access to experts when needed to examine the things that come out of politicians mouths critically.
What we had was far from that critical, informative media.