Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pro: Scientists should be advocates

Scientists are faced with a dilemma when presenting information because they are challenged with being opinion based due to public policy advocacy.  I believe that scientists should advocate for policies that are affected by their studies or expertise. Scientists are responsible for being masters of their own field of study, and should be the most knowledgeable about why they are in their own perspective field. If scientists only present the facts without providing an opinionated suggestion for policy, they neglect to include a direction for where their studies plan on going and how to engage their audience. 
Because they know the material better than the general public, scientists should advocate for policies if they so choose. Scientists should be given a choice to advocate but should also include explanations to their reasoning so that the general public can fully understand how a particular scientist would respond to policy. The problem lies on the scientist’s reasoning because many believe that scientists who advocate have their studies skewed in order to curry favor. Advocating their position in public policies puts scientists at a higher threat for losing credibility, but I believe as long as a scientist is true to his/her work and the data has not been tampered, scientists can still advocate for public policy. 

Scientists are connected to numerous fields of study through the facts and data. The facts and data that scientists present need a direction in order for future studies or policies will be made. Scientists who have many opinions on their perspective field are more likely to be passionate about their work. If you take away a scientist’s opinions, you take away their passion and you are just left with data. Public policies are made from this data but the general public will not know what to do with it without it bearing any substance from the scientist.

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