Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The abuse of science

Ann Althouse has a post linking to a Saletan article in Slate, about a little political editing job performed by the current Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, on a document emanating from a medical association. It's creating a flurry, though I think it will likely blow over as far as Kagan herself is concerned. But it raises more general issues, as both Saletan and Althouse point out. Here's Saletan:
Judges have put too much faith in statements from scientific organizations. This credulity must stop.
Which Althouse generalizes:
We all need to be heighten our skepticism about the way politicians and lawyers use our embrace of the authority of science to scam us.
And I'll generalize again, with the whole global warming fad and eco-politics in mind particularly (taken from my comment to her post):
"We all need to be heighten our skepticism about ... our embrace of the authority of science", period. Scientists have become a kind of modern priesthood for too many, despite the fact that they too are human and are as susceptible to the temptations not just of money or career, but also of quasi-religious fads and cults.

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