Many years ago, when I was young and spirited, I held the view that the world would be a much better place if scientists ran relevant parts of the government. I foresaw cerebral debate, realistic assessment of risks, intelligent adjudication, long-term planning, clear explanations of policy, and an absence of PR spin: The most rational people making the best possible decisions.

I've modified this. We do need logical people to be much more involved than they are at present, but most issues in public life are extremely complex and have to account for the irrational as well as the rational. Most of you will probably agree with this, but one blind spot persists: the public discussion of scientific issues.

On this, scientists - or at least a vocal subpopulation - want to cling to the...


1. M. Nisbet, C. Mooney, "Framing science," Science, 316:56, 2007. 2. M. Nisbet, C. Mooney, "Thanks for the facts. Now sell them," Washington Post, April 15, 2007, page B3. 3.

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