At the end of last week, I posted my own thoughts and those of Alan Randall on the fine line between a scientist's role as truth-seeker versus advocate. Over the weekend, I was doing some pleasure reading and I came across the following quote by Andre Maurois that sums up my concern over scientists staking out strong policy positions:
My concern is not that scientists are biased. Quite the contrary, most scientists I know are painstakingly objective. Despite that, once a scientist publicly advocates a position--even if that position is founded in fact based on the current state of knowledge--that scientist is likely to succumb to the natural tendency to turn that position into desire and defend that position selectively and vehemently.
That is where we are in the climate change debate. Two sides, with ardently staked positions, selectively choosing 'facts' to support that predetermined position and raging against the 'facts' in disagreement.
Science is better than that.