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Panel Says Scientific Advocacy Can Help Resolve Important Issues, Warns of its Misuse
While science can be a powerful tool for resolving important issues, its misuse can lead to misguided policies and a loss of public trust in scientists, a panel warned at the 2008 AAAS Forum on Science & Technology Policy.
Speaking 8 May at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington, D.C, the panel said that effective advocacy by scientists encourages researchers to apply their professional expertise or research to a public policy question. This allows lawmakers and the public to learn about potential benefits or consequences of a policy, they said.
But when scientists use their scientific credentials to advocate on behalf of a non-scientific question or one outside their expertise, or use poor methodology, Ruth Krulfeld, professor emeritus of anthropology at George Washington University, said that scientists can lose credibility and sometimes harm the causes they aim to support.
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