Are you saying such instruction (whether explicit or inferred) is not your experience?
Exactly. I've never had any instruction from management that I could not air my opinions. As long as I don't speak for PFR and I don't.
And yes I'm from PFR and the water quality questions were (I think) NIWA.
Nothing prevents any scientist from referencing any commentary or accessing other scientists which makes the section in the ethics document pointless. Cannot have it both ways.
Huh? I don't understand the problem. If I read the relevant literature in order to become knowledgable about a subject and then pass on that knowledge with relevant citations then there is no breach of that ethical document.
If however, I comment on surgical techniques as if I have some expertise, without having done any research and giving no citations then I have breached ethics.
The point is I am using my exalted position as a scientist (snort) to sway opinion in an area where I have no expertise - that is just plain wrong.
And that is exactly what he is doing to scientists within our CRIs. He is buying both their scientific integrity and their silence.
No he isn't. He buys the CRI boards of directors and the SETs. Since they are like him, businessmen and accountants and they understand being bought and sold.
Stupid scientists like me don't get it. We speak out, even if what we say opposes the government's preferred position. And unless we breach intellectual property (which exists just the same in the Universities) we can pretty much say what we think. BTW I take IP pretty seriously.
Providing we are clear that it is our personal opinion (educated or not) and not the position of the company for which we work.
In my experience there has not been a case in our institute where any scientist has been forced to say something they did not believe to be true nor any case (excepting intellectual property issues) where they have been told to stay silent.
One caveat there is that sometimes we don't talk about preliminary results. That can look like being silent on data but mostly it's about trying not to be wrong.
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.