[ASC-list] Scientists being political

Toss Gascoigne director at tossgascoigne.com.au
Sun Mar 17 04:54:26 UTC 2013

An article on scientists being political, by Andrew Campbell:

The late Professor Peter Cullen was a gifted exponent of the art of 'speaking truth to power', communicating about complex scientific questions to policy makers, politicians and the media.

His many Cullenisms (pdf) included this important insight:

When scientists do enter the political arena, they must understand they are playing to different rules from those used in science and need to learn the rules of politics and the media. Unless they understand the rules and tactics of policy debate it is like them walking on to a tennis court equipped only with golf sticks.

Science and policy are different domains, with different cultures, different praxis, different language and requiring different navigation skills to ensure successful passage.

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