Frustrated scientist makes non-PC objection to public dialogue

Researcher John Warren writes about his (politically-incorrect) frustration with being asked to engage in two-way dialogue with the public. The headline writer summarized it as “Scientists are too busy discovering hard facts to engage the public in constant dialogue, says John Warren”, but that’s not right. Warren says: “The trouble is, for a meaningful two-way discussion to occur there must be at least some understanding on the part of the non-specialist…the value that the public ascribed to biodiversity was simply a reflection of how important we told them it was the minute before. Democracy is about informed choice, but science is now so vast and complex, that no single individual could ever be well enough informed to make this level of dialogue feasible.” I’ve been waiting for someone to point this out on nanotech, about which we hear so many calls for public dialogue.

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