>I don't know whether this is a true story or not, but it is illustrative
>issue of bias and the desire to put aside the scientific method as an
>assessment tool in favour of pure personal opinion/experience...
Bob, you have misinterpretted my words (and perhaps others') --I have no
wish to do away with the scientific method. I'm all in favor of it.
What I do want to change is the use of *science* as an excuse to continue
to use toxic chemical pesticides. I have heard and read many rationales
from various pesticide users and pesticide manufactureres and pesticide
* pesticides are scientifically proven to be safe for humans
* we need more scientific research before we declare pesticides unsafe
* you aren't a scientist therefore you don't know _____ (fill in the blank)
When science is used instead of good judgement, it is time to re-evaluate
why we do scientific research and what our long-term goals are. Science has
notoriously changed its mind about such things as the safety of DDT, of
cigarette smoking, of fats in the diet, of margerine--and so on. Science
used outside of the framework of the Precautionary Principle can be a
dangerous shield, blinding us from reality. For example I've heard
scientists say, as justification for pesticide use, that we need it to feed
the world's starving millions.
(That is one of the most disgusting rationalizations I've heard for the use
of pesticides on food).
Crop losses are about the same now, owing to new superbugs that resist
pesticides, according to the organic farmer whose CSA I was in. The reports
on productivity for Roundup Ready soy beans aren't too hot, either.
Some of us would favor a different application of science--one that admits
our *scientific method* isn't the best way to measure and test systems,
that possibly the *scientific method* is too reductionist to evaluate the
safety of man-made chemicals, and that research funding by manufacturers
may not lead to unbiased science.
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