Nats’ selective science

Written By: - Date published: 6:45 am, November 7th, 2014 - 87 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, censorship, science - Tags: , , ,

As a working scientist I would like to thank Dita De Boni for this piece in yesterday’s Herald:

Govt loath to let facts come between friends

National Party loves ‘helpful’ science, but turns nasty if findings irk its mates

I know John Key is an exceptionally busy man, but it was good to see him take the opportunity to pile on the opposition party back-bencher, the very last man on the Green Party list, and give him a serve for being “barking mad”. … You see, it is important that we follow the National Party’s lead, and respect science at all times.

That is to say, all times except for the times when scientists come out with stuff that makes us feel uncomfortable and make our friends in industry unhappy. Then we should see fit to dump on it from a great height. We may turn it into an equation, thus: Science = good (very good, if supporting it = political point-scoring).

Annoying Science with Expensive Ramifications = bad.

De Boni has summarised the Nats’ attitude to science perfectly. She looks at their treatment of climate change science, of Mike Joy and his work on our water quality, and the “tacit approval” of (Slater’s) attacks on research in on the dietary effects of sugar. Then…

The Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman, supports new rules governing what scientists can say in public because Governments are concerned scientists are straying into advocacy (i.e. saying things they don’t like) rather than sticking with their area of expertise.

One proposal that might ordinarily cause alarm is that scientists be gagged from speaking on controversial topics two months before an election, and at all other times, get permission from PR teams before doing so.

We going to have rules to muzzle scientists now? Really? How exactly does that square with Universities’ statutory role as critic and conscience of society? It would be a stupid battle for Gluckman to squander his reputation on.

87 comments on “Nats’ selective science”

  1. tc 1

    How much of gluckmans reputation has already been devalued being the Nats science spin doctor for a few terms ?

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100….despite his pansy PR interviews on radionz…he is associated with “in the name of science trying to stiffle science and free debate”….words like contemptible spring to mind

  2. evnz 2

    One of the finest essays I’ve read for a while. Farmers are the same, happy to believe in vetinary science for their animals, food technology science for their products but not climate science explaining why they are having more droughts and floods.

  3. Whateva next? 3

    After Hard Talk interview, hard to take anyone seriously in this golf club govt.
    Mr.Key had no problem with the fact he could get any lawyer or scientist to say what he wanted them to say…..

  4. philj 4

    xox
    The dismemberment of the DSIR was a very sad day for science in NZ. Who,which Government did that? Our science has never recovered. Pretty much corporatised…. like most of government these days . Not to forget pulling Gov’t funding for Futures Research. In their wisdom maybe there isn’t a future , and were just saving some money.

    • jaymam 4.1

      According to Wikipedia the DSIR was reconstituted into profit-motivated entities called Crown Research Institutes by the Crown Research Institutes Act 1992.
      I guess that was National’s fault then.

  5. Derek 5

    He must be taking his lead from that jack ass Stephen Harper who has thoroughly gagged Canadian scientists

    • joe90 5.1

      Next up, muzzle the public and burn the books.

      “The new rules are undemocratic. They attempt to restrict the public’s participation in these hearings and prevent a real dialogue about the environmental impacts of the Line 9 pipeline project,” said Adam Scott of Environmental Defence. “Canadians should not have to apply for permission to have their voices heard on projects that carry serious risks to their communities.”

      http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1141479/new-undemocratic-rules-create-barrier-to-public-participation-in-upcoming-pipeline-hearings-a-consequence-of-weakened-federal-environmental-laws-under

      Scientists say the closure of some of the world’s finest fishery, ocean and environmental libraries by the Harper government has been so chaotic that irreplaceable collections of intellectual capital built by Canadian taxpayers for future generations has been lost forever.

      Many collections such as the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library in Mont-Joli, Quebec ended up in dumpsters while others such as Winnipeg’s historic Freshwater Institute library were scavenged by citizens, scientists and local environmental consultants. Others were burned or went to landfills, say scientists.

      http://thetyee.ca/News/2013/12/23/Canadian-Science-Libraries/

      • NZJester 5.1.1

        Wasn’t there another group that muzzled the scientists, burned the books, and selectively took pieces of research to prove their scientific theories. I think that group adopted a symbol that used to be a symbol of auspiciousness. I think they also had National in their name.

  6. Macro 6

    The shameful dealing of Dr Jim Salinger by NIWA early on in this “administration” is a case in point. Actually it has had the benefit of allowing Jim to speak out publicly far more freely than he was able to in the past. Nevertheless it was a very stressful time for him.

  7. Al 7

    No – these are crap days to be a New Zealander. I have been going steadily backwards under National, but do admit it wasn’t always good under Labour either (e.g. 1984 – 1989). The fact that the Tory’s chose to ignore Hager’s book was tacit acceptance of a corrupt government – then middle New Zealand followed suit!

    All that shows is the ignorance of the public. Colin is a great example – fully support war and depriving families of the right to bury their own with dignity. Probably supports Whaledump and anyone else within the Key junta. Economists talk about ‘capture’ and this is clearly the case in regards middle New Zealand and it’s lack of ability to critically decry neoliberal economic orthodoxy … despite the FACT that key underlying assumptions have been repeatedly debunked … assumptions such as the ‘efficient market hypothesis’, supply-side economics, self-regulating markets and at the individual level, homo economicus.

    No, it is a crap time to be a New Zealand. Thanks to the freaking Tory’s I currently can’t even afford to get out of this place to another country where rampant neoliberalism and it’s supporters are far away. No this wasn’t always the case, but after the deception leading up to the last election and the way it was all just disregarded as what Key calls “smoke and mirrors” is downright dispicable.

  8. Tracey 8

    as long as selected groups are not going into work camps or suffering pogroms or individuals are disappearing we should just sit quietly while freedom is eroded?

  9. tricle up 9

    There has been no problems with the free voice of science in the past the issues are relevant and must be brought to a full awareness science is sitting on the right side of time as issues are tabled and debated and facts revealed into the real world .freedom of expression resonates quite well thank you ..thanks Dita a good read .

  10. Fahrenheit 451 10

    To Sir Peter Gluckman,

    Your a member of the Royal Society?

    Remember this, or has your pay check & ego clouded your pompous memory:

    The Royal Society’s motto ‘Nullius in verba’ roughly translates as:

    “TAKE NOBODY’S WORD FOR IT”

    It is an expression of the determination of Fellows to withstand the domination of authority and to verify all statements by an appeal to facts determined by experiment. https://royalsociety.org/about-us/history/

    Its amazing how a scientist has suddenly become an expert in Social & Moral Philosophy. According to your rules mate, you cant comment…..

    Tis amazing how Gerry, John, Paula et al all become instant experts when the jump from portfolio to portfolio. This bag of sad egos are definitely not polymaths.

    Take a big running jump, you self important XXXXs.

    You really want a revolution don’t you.

  11. Fahrenheit 451 11

    That Nats and Sir Peter seem to want functional idiots (like useful idiots in the spy game), the ultimate in an intelligent yet stupid labor force.

    Yes thats right folks, as a functional idiot, you wont have any opinions outside of your remit given by the government. Keep working more efficiently and well give your masters a pay rise.

    Thank you Nanny Nat, I was scared of thinking out of the box, thank god you were here to steer me in the right direction.

    Oh, what about this:

    NOTE THE TPPA is coming, so gagging scientist would?

    Example of Gagging Scientists:

    1.Piltz revealed in 2005 that the Bush administration was revising supposedly scientific reports to cast doubt on the existence of human-caused climate change. He leaked copies of the edited documents to The New York Times, after resigning from his job as a senior associate for the U.S. government’s Global Change Research Office. https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/20/remembering-rick-piltz-fought-government-suppression-science/

    2.US drug firm drops libel action against scientist
    GE Healthcare says it did not mean to stifle academic debate with action against radiologist Henrik Thomsen
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/feb/18/ge-healthcare-henrik-thomsen-libel

    3. The earth round the sun thingy:

    “On this day in 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.”
    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/galileo-is-convicted-of-heresy

  12. Fahrenheit 451 12

    http://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/center-science-and-democracy

    The Center for Science and Democracy
    Engaged scientists + an informed public = a stronger democracy.

    “Science and democracy are powerful partners. The United States was founded on the conviction that an informed citizenry, armed with evidence and reason, can make wise decisions that promote public health, safety and well-being. Throughout our history, science has helped our nation deliver on that promise.

    But today, this legacy is slipping away. Science is sidelined or misrepresented by special interests. Scientists are attacked. Our broken political system struggles to find long-term solutions to urgent problems, while a fragmented, polarized media landscape makes it hard for the public to separate truth from spin or hold leaders accountable.

    Under these conditions, it is more important now than ever for scientists and citizens to work together, engage in our democratic processes, and push for reforms to ensure that our policies are informed by science and evidence. The Center for Science and Democracy was founded to advance these goals.”

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      In order to do this, the Patriot leaders of the Revolution used ‘a language inspiring to all classes, specific enough in its listing of grievances to charge people with anger against the British, vague enough to avoid class conflict among the rebels, and stirring enough to build a patriotic feeling for the resistance movement’ (1999: 68). But this was a difficult game for the Patriot leaders to play because it required a balancing act, maintaining broadly popular support for the War of Independence and Revolution by appealing to universal notions of liberty and democracy, on one hand, while simultaneously defending the sanctity of property and the rule of a rich capitalist minority, on the other.

      History of democracy by B. Roper

      And that is what we have in our representative democracy – rule by the rich.

      That said, more fact based information and engagement by scientists and the public will result in better democracy and, hopefully, the eventual replacement of representative democracy with participatory democracy.

  13. dave 13

    How long before they pass an act that makes it illeagle to publish any information or activity that challenges the status quo or disproves corporate or nacts view of reality as we get closer to economic collapse media and individual censorship will increase

  14. Bill 14

    It would be a stupid battle for Gluckman to squander his reputation on.

    Indeed it would. Scientists, academics and others are already effectively gagged, and self-censoring in order to avoid vilification from the Nat Party’s attack machine.

    I’m curious if threats to funding or to employment are also perceived ‘behavioural modifiers’ on the part of those same scientists and academics.

    edit – making noises about potential official censorship suggests no censorship at present. Backing off – as they inevitably will – will leave many people with the false impression that academics and scientists are currently free to comment as they see fit…which is not the case.

  15. seeker 15

    “I know John Key is an exceptionally busy man, but it was good to see him take the opportunity to pile on the opposition party back-bencher, the very last man on the Green Party list, and give him a serve for being “barking mad”……”

    I wonder if our Royalty ‘sychophant’ John Key would be so scathing of Prince Charles or indeed his mother Her Majesty the Queen who actually employs a Court Homeopath!
    The Royal Family are well known believers in the efficacy of homeopathy.(perhaps not for ebola though).

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/prince-charles/10433939/Prince-Charles-and-homeopathy-crank-or-revolutionary.html

    • Chooky 15.1

      +100…yes the Queenie Mother used homeopathy and drank gin and lived to be 101 ! ..in fact they all look rather healthy and well preserved on homeopathic medicine

      Not just royalty use homeopathy ….but our sophisticated scientist John Key of course knows better than most of Europe’s doctors and India’s doctors….such a great scientist he is… (NOT)…. that he can insult a large sector of the world’s medical fraternity and population in their choice of medicine…He makes New Zealand the laughing stock

      ‘Homeopathic Medicine: Europe’s #1 Alternative for Doctors

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-euro_b_402490.html

      ( Question: Who is “barking mad?”)

      • higherstandard 15.1.1

        ‘(Question: Who is “barking mad?”)’

        [RL: Deleted. Pointless abuse.]

        • higherstandard 15.1.1.1

          That was neither pointless nor was it abuse.

          This is abuse.

          Fuck off REDLOGIX you dreary old cunt.

          [RL: Heh – got a bite. I’m not going to delete, or ban you. Just leave this here for our collective amusement.]

          • ankerawshark 15.1.1.1.1

            Sorry whoever is moderating I would very much prefer to see the c word edited out. Would you consider this please?

            • Chooky 15.1.1.1.1.1

              +100 ankerawshark …’higherstandard’ is lowering the tone…however it was left to show him and his example of “pointless” … “abuse”… up

              looks like higherstandard is NOT a higherstandard on The Standard

              …maybe he should change his name to lowerstandard ?

        • Chooky 15.1.1.2

          who is “barking mad”?…well Prince Charles on John Key’s estimation ….and the Queen ….and the French

          “Homeopathy is popular not only among the French public but also among the French medical community. As many as 70 percent of physicians are receptive to homeopathy and consider it effective, at least 25,000 physicians prescribe homeopathic medicines for their patients. Homeopathy is taught in at least seven medical schools: Besancon, Bordeaux, Lille, Limoges, Marseille, Paris-Nord, and Poitiers, and there are numerous postgraduate training programs. Courses in homeopathy are taught in 21 of France’s 24 schools of pharmacy, and also taught in two dental schools, two veterinary medical schools, and three schools of midwivery.”

          and the Germans ( but then they would be wouldnt they ?..they are not very technologically advanced in the sciences…and homeopathy is definitely not scientific )

          “Approximately 10 percent of German doctors specialize in homeopathy, with approximately 10 percent more prescribing homeopathic remedies on occasion. In 1993, there were 1,993 medical doctors who had formally qualified in homeopathy, while in 2006, this number jumped over 100 percent to 6,073 (20)”

          What about the Italians?…”barking mad” as well i am afraid …

          “In 2004 a total of 7.5 million Italians use homeopathic medicines, 2.5 million more than a survey showed in 2000 (33)”

          …and the Swiss “barking mad” ….”The Swiss Federal Office for Public Health issued a report to the government of Switzerland which concluded that “the effectiveness of homeopathy can be supported by clinical evidence, and professional and adequate application be regarded as safe” (30).

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-euro_b_402490.html

          ( Conclusion : John Key and some narrow minded Wasp ‘scientists’ can’t understand homeopathy …but who cares?)

          • higherstandard 15.1.1.2.1

            I see you link to an article written by Dana Ullman

            “Dana Ullman is a notorious quack and one of homeopathy’s most vocal spokespersons. He has no qualifications in medicine or science (or, of more questionable relevance, in alt-med either) and has been arrested in the past for practising medicine without a license, resulting in his now being requested to sign contracts with each client he takes, declaring that he is not a doctor.
            Ullman is famous for claiming that Darwin was a fan of homeopathy, and that were it not for homeopathic remedies, he would not have been able to write ‘On the Origin of Species’. This was checkable, and turns out, unsurprisingly, to be poppycock.”

            “Ullman calls himself an “expert in homeopathic medicine” (which is akin to being a unicorn veterinarian) and since he has never been able to show that his particular health religion has any validity, he lashes out futilely at reality.”

            http://americanloons.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/393-dana-ullman.html
            http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/2010/04/30/dana-ullman/
            http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Dana_Ullman
            http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/12/homeopathic-revolution-by-dana-ullman.html

            • joe90 15.1.1.2.1.1

              Dude’s got his own internet law too.

              http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-dull-man-law/

            • Chooky 15.1.1.2.1.2

              whatever character assassination hatchet job you do on Dana Ullman who writes for the Huffington Post….. this does not negate the facts that Homeopathy is widely used and endorsed around the world and in technologically and scientifically advanced Western countries like France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland as well as India ….and it is used widely by doctors trained in Western medicine

              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dana-ullman/homeopathic-medicine-euro_b_402490.html

              …In any case the subject of this post is the John Key Nact government’s closing down of open debate… especially on critical environmental and food issues …..by New Zealand scientists….aided and abetted by the Prime Minister’s chief science adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman

              ….lets stick to the topic and not get conveniently side tracked by red herrings ( by your ridiculing of Dan Ullman and homeopathy )

              • You bought up homeopathy you moron, don’t be upset when you are then presented with evidence that it is quackery of the highest order.

                To say it is widely used by Drs trained in Western medicine is as delusional and bizarre as your anti vaccination and anti fluoridation ravings.

                • Chooky

                  @ lowerstandard…..”you moron”?really?….stick to the facts ……no I didnt bring up homeopathy ….seeker did! (” pointless” …” abuse” again from you ?)

                  ….and stick to the facts…..homeopathy is widely used in Germany, France , Switzerland, Italy and Britain …and by doctors…and endorsed by the medical schools and medical establishments in those countries…..

                  ….”your anti vaccination and anti fluoridation ravings” ( more abuse?)

                  …again you are factually wrong!

                  ..I do not have an opinion on fluoridation (except to keep an open mind and keep learning)… I am sure fluoridation critics have good grounds ….and there are some reputable dentists and scientists among them

                  …..isnt it great in New Zealand that they can air their views freely ? (thus far)

                  I am not anti ALL vaccines …again stick to the facts!…..however like many others ( many doctors, immunologists and vaccine scientists and parents and caregivers with children) I am concerned about the ever increasing use of more and more vaccinations on very small babies and children, especially the combined MMR vaccine ( and now the corporates want to vaccinate pregnant women!)…anyone who has had a child with an adverse reaction to a vaccine and/or long term damage is very concerned!

                  ….( but then again you would like to close this debate down and abuse people who express critical views contrary to your own and the corporates’ multi billion dollar industries ..a mark of fascism imo)

                  • Higherstandard

                    On the contrary I’m happy for you to spout as much nonsense as you want.

                    Each and every time you venture forth to spout your ill informed non referenced and opinionated dross it serves to weaken your position.

                    If homeopathy is so effective why not apply to PHARMAC or DHBNZ for funding ?

                    I also note you have your usual dig at pharmaceutical companies.

                    I have been critical of the pharmaceutical industry for trying to put their thumb on the scale of the scientific process. I also agree with transparency in pharmaceutical payments to doctors, and academic researchers need to maintain their independence as much as possible.

                    At the same time, there are legitimate partnerships between academia and industry that produce tangible benefits for the public. It’s a tricky relationship, and it’s evolving in a good way, but there are problems.

                    However why don’t we look at homeopathic providers approach to their income. They get to charge patients with disposable income cash. They get to give every patient a specific answer, because they are just making it up, are homeopathic companies not making large profits from water, don’t homeopaths have a very vested interest in their claims, profession, and products none of which have any evidence of efficacy.

                    • Chooky

                      @ lowerstandard ….well i think people will make their own minds up about the quality of your arguments ( false accusations, character framing )

                      …your factual inaccuracies

                      ….and your refusal to face legitimate arguments head on

                      ….they will also note your setting up straw man arguments and red herrings rather than confront the topic at hand

                      ……which is freedom of speech of New Zealand scientists to speak out on matters of considerable scientific and public and environmental concern

                      ( btw…I am not against all pharmaceuticals , nor partnerships with academia…as long as it is properly monitored and ethical and the science is legitimate …Nor am I for all homeopathics regardless, nor do I prescribe homeopathics or take them often ( but when I have or my family has ,they have worked) …I merely note that in many Western countries they are used by populations and doctors and are regarded as having efficacy )

                    • higherstandard

                      Chooky as will people make up their minds about the quality of your arguments zero evidence, anecdotes and lies.

                      “…your factual inaccuracies”

                      🙄 the irony

                      “….and your refusal to face legitimate arguments head on”

                      🙄 the irony

                      “….they will also note your setting up straw man arguments and red herrings rather than confront the topic at hand”

                      🙄 the irony

                      “……which is freedom of speech of New Zealand scientists to speak out on matters of considerable scientific and public and environmental concern”

                      I’m no particular fan of gluckman however he only wants to stop scientists from being able to speak with scientific authority on topics that are outside of their area of expertise, such as the numpty bearded git which so many here complained about on breakfast TV.

                      ( btw…I am not against all pharmaceuticals , nor partnerships with academia…as long as it is properly monitored and ethical and the science is legitimate )

                      🙄 the irony

                      ps +100 …..

                    • Chooky

                      higherstandard? …. irony

                    • higherstandard

                      +100..

                      Oh what a riposte, quick send for an ambulance I’m mortally wounded

                    • Chooky

                      @ knucklehead …..stabbed yourself in the nom de plume did you?.

                      … the ambulance should only be called out out for serious injuries ( waste of taxpayer money otherwise)

                    • higherstandard

                      +100 😆 and 🙄

      • KJT 15.1.2

        Drinking water IS good for you!

      • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.3

        You have to shake it just so. Not stirring. Stirring doesn’t work. And you have to think very hard about Jean Harlowe as you shake it, to calm your spirit and invoke the ether and the higher powers.

        Don’t tell me you forgot the salt on the window-sill!

        • higherstandard 15.1.3.1

          Mitchell and Webb on homeopathy

        • RedLogix 15.1.3.2

          Yeah but it’s very effective at invoking the placebo effect if nothing else. It’s just not worth faffing on about.

          Homeopathy isn’t going to raise global temperatures 2- 6 degC.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.3.2.1

            It might waste a lot of water in a world where water scarcity causes wars.

            • Chooky 15.1.3.2.1.1

              @ oAB…re homeopathy …”It might waste a lot of water in a world where water scarcity causes wars”….bullshit ( ridicule)

              …just because you cant understand something doesnt mean it is worthless or doesnt work …eg quantum mechanics…it works ….but who completely understands quantum physics?

              ….same with homeopathy …it works for many people/cultures/doctors around the world ….so don’t dis it just because you cant understand it..it has scientific validity because it has empirical efficacy

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Shake it baby, shake it.

                I like the video of Randi overdosing on sleeping sugar pills. How about you?

                • Chooky

                  diversion?

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Well, you were blithering about someone who “doesn’t understand” the Sugar Pill Placebo scam, so you can’t have been talking about me, because I’ve read “Doctor” Peter Fisher’s evidence to the Science & Tech Committee of the UK Parliament, which lays out the scam in plain language.

                    It has high comedic value:

                    Dr Fisher stated that the process of “shaking is important” but was unable to say how much shaking was required. He said “that has not been fully investigated” but did tell us that “You have to shake it vigorously […] if you just stir it gently, it does not work”.

                    Of course, it isn’t funny for the victims.

      • NZJester 15.1.4

        A lot of modern synthetic medicine are derived from copies of compounds found in plants. Some natural medicines can work just as well as or better than some of their synthetic forms. However there are also some that do not work quite as well or are near useless without artificial modification. Because natural products can not be patented drug companies push the synthetics and try to stifle the natural products that are helpful. Another problem also is there are some snake-oil salesmen that have also become involved in the Homeopathic scene. There are Homeopathic medicines out there that can be better for you than some modern drugs but sometimes they are very hard to find due to the drug companies and the snake-oil salesmen keeping people away from them.
        Do your research if you are going to use Homeopathic medicines and do not completely rule out the synthetic drugs.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.4.1

          Homeopathy isn’t a medicine, let alone a natural one: it was conjured out of whole cloth in the late 19thC, and closely resembles trickledown economic dogma.

          By comparison, digitalin, aspirin, etc etc, are naturally-derived medicines, and honey is good for wounds.

          Shaken, not stirred.

        • higherstandard 15.1.4.2

          “There are Homeopathic medicines out there that can be better for you than some modern drugs”

          Name one “homeopathic medicine” and the disease/condition it treats that can be better for someone than the equivalent treatment as recognised by mainstream healthcare.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.4.2.1

            Neoliberalism. Thinking very hard about homeopathy and neoliberalism can cure neoliberalism.

            • higherstandard 15.1.4.2.1.1

              Reading your political diatribes is probably quite an effective treatment for insomnia

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Probably? Where’s your confidence? That’s part of the problem with having a distended amygdala: you’re only confident when you’re calm, and when you’re afraid you go to pieces so fast people get hit by the shrapnel.

                (h/t Douglas Adams)

      • Murray Rawshark 15.1.5

        I’m pretty sure the royals use conventional medicine as well. I’d be quite happy for them to use nothing but homeopathy.

    • RedBaronCV 15.2

      Perhaps if John Key is so medically enabled he could nip down and do some of that elective surgery that’s waiting.

  16. Fahrenheit 451 16

    What guts me the most about National, is that their synapses calcify on hearing the money mantra. They will poke your eyes out to make a buck then laugh at you for being blind.

    Here are lessons learned from European Environmental Agency to see some balance
    Late lessons from early warnings: the precautionary principle 1896–2000

    http://chemicalspolicy.org/downloads/Issue%20Report%20No%2022.pdf

    1. Acknowledge and respond to ignorance, as well as uncertainty and risk, in
    technology appraisal and public policymaking.

    2. Provide adequate long-term environmental and health monitoring and research into early warnings.

    3. Identify and work to reduce ‘blind spots’ and gaps in scientific knowledge.

    4. Identify and reduce interdisciplinary obstacles to learning.

    5. Ensure that real world conditions are adequately accounted for in regulatory appraisal.

    6. Systematically scrutinise the claimed justifications and benefits alongside the potential risks.

    7. Evaluate a range of alternative options for meeting needs alongside the option

    8. Ensure use of ‘lay’ and local knowledge, as well as relevant specialist expertise in
    the appraisal.

    9. Take full account of the assumptions and values of different social groups.

    10. Maintain the regulatory independence of interested parties while retaining an
    inclusive approach to information and opinion gathering.

    11. Identify and reduce institutional obstacles to learning and action.

    12. Avoid ‘paralysis by analysis’ by acting to reduce potential harm when there are reasonable grounds for concern.

    Latest report here:
    http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/late-lessons-2.

    To end with quotes:

    “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”

    “A book is a loaded gun in the house next door…Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?”

    Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

  17. NZJester 17

    Nothing says we are not a fascist government more than gagging scientists and having the police raid journalists houses.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Atrocities. Vicious, organised public violence against minorities (ACT voters, or S Rylands, for example). That would say it more.

      What we have is greedy fuckwits, not fascists.

      • Paul 17.1.1

        Sadly a lot of the upper middle class is wilfully ignorant.

        As long as their foreign holiday is safe.
        As long as they can but either new Audi.
        As long as their house prices keeps going up.

        The house of cards will only collapse when they realise their own position is vulnerable.

        First they came……

  18. Simon 18

    This post represents a wrongful interpretation of Gluckman’s idea. He wants to stop scientists from being able to speak with scientific authority on topics that are outside of their area of expertise.

    A key example comes to mind: On the radio there is a company that sells vitamins, with the owner and pusher labeling himself as a ‘scientist’. For most people, the tacit assumption is that he is a biologist or something related to vitamins etc. In reality he has a masters in geology.

    There are countless other examples of this….and I totally condone Gluckman in this case.

    • Murray Rawshark 18.1

      I don’t believe the Key regime would be looking at this if you were correct. They want to muzzle people like Mike Joy and Peter Wills.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.2

      If the media are so lazy and stupid as to cite Geologists on Biology, the problem is media laziness and stupidity. The Geologist has no authority to relinquish since they are by definition presenting a lay opinion.

      However, it might backfire quite spectacularly when politicians (the member for Epsom leaps to mind) start mouthing off their faith based gobshite on subjects of which they are utterly ignorant.

    • Chooky 18.3

      @ Simon….in so far as a scientist is able to use scientific method and evidence to validate his/her claims….. and is open to critique by other scientists ( in the case you cite especially nutritionists, chemists and micro biologists) …i dont see any problem with scientists speaking out on issues outside their particular expertise

      ….the crucial thing is that scientists can support their claims with evidence and are open to critique and further debate using scientific method

      ( afterall is Gluckman a specialist in environmental issues or an ultimate authority on nutrition? …or for that matter is John Key?)

      • Chooky 18.3.1

        and Simon….another point….just because a scientist is trained in a particular scientific field….and a so-called expert ….this does not make them necessarily an unimpeachable authority …or ethical

        …they may have been bought and corrupted by the corporates

        ….there are plenty examples of shonkey ‘scientific’ results to fit in with corporate desires and expectations eg the tobacco industry and pharmaceutical industry

  19. Sable 19

    There’s nothing honest about this government and their dealings with the the institutions of government not to mention the public.

    The media is in their corner as little more than paid scribes and now they are going after the last groups of people in government institutions who could challenge their lies.

    No doubt this is paving the way for the sleazy traitorous TPPA and the selling of this country and its environment to marauding US interests for 30 pieces of silver.

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