Science and policy, politics and the people

Science and policy, politics and the people

Consider this statement…

“With science, politicians get the answers they want but scientist don’t”

• Discuss the above in relation to the three groups; scientists, politicians and the people using examples to support your argument. This question was inspired from a program called the ‘Bad Evidence’ on BBC RADIO 4

This is recording by the lecturer giving few hints and tips. It may not make sense but it may help you to understand what should be included in the coursework

“If you think about it politicians like facts, they like everything to be certain but we as scientist are comfortable living with uncertainty. And what about people who don’t have a background in science. How do they think.

One person and case study you can research about is Professor David Nutt. He was a government advisor on drugs. He was able to explain risks and uncertainties in relation to drugs that are legal such as alcohol and tobacco and drugs that are illegal but are restrictive chemical guide.

He started to talk about the science of risks and when he started to talk publicly about the science of risks, the government got a little bit shaky and politicians were unhappy because they solely were out of there comfort zone…
…because they didn’t like, because there are issues ‘if you look at the risks that some illegal substances have compared to legalised substances (tobacco and alcohol) the risks don’t really add up.

Professor David Nutt is good when you look at how he interacted: The interaction between him and the politicians so it’s the interaction between scientists and politicians.

So another person to research into is Professor David spigelhalter. If you are going to quote David you need to go to his published work rather than his broadcasts.

Look up Ben Goldacre: he has a website called Bad Science. One of the key things that I would like you to use as if it were a lecture I got him to come and give is ‘Bad Evidence’ on BBC radio 4 iplayer. The program of Bad Evidence actually looks at how the research done on how education should be done has been comprehensively ignored by politicians. All policy should be evidently driven.

You can also mention the ‘Fracking’ issue; how politicians want to go ahead with it but good science shows its affect

look up words like uncertainty of science and the provisional nature of science.”

“Layout of coursework

Two paragraphs on what makes ‘science’ science. The scientific method is you put up ideas and you try to refute them. So you put out a hypothesis (not a fact) and you test it. So the scientific method has its rigorous system of testing where you out an idea and you test it to destruction. Its provision, it’s never ever secure. Science is fact driven but provisional.

Politics and policy; politics is mainly opinion driven

Contrast and compare; show where science and policy have worked well together. Find examples on where science has enforced policy and worked out into the law. An example would be the compelling of Tabaco, how passive smoking is dangerous to health and it was accepted.”
• Use two major case studies and use a few other peripheral examples around it
• Essay needs to be evidence based
• 1650 words excluding references
• Referenced Harvard style: in-text citation and a full list of references ‘Wikipedia should not be used’
• This coursework will be submitted via “turnitin” so no plagiarism is accepted
• UK Writer