Thursday, October 29, 2009

The politics of science

It's interesting to note how when a scientist comes out with a statement that contradicts government policy how quickly those in power are to disassociate them. The current news is Professor David Nutt on the classification of cannabis. Note the two official responses:

A Home Office spokesman said: "Prof Nutt's views are his own."
a spokesman for the ACMD said: "The lecture Prof Nutt gave at King's College was in his academic capacity and was not in his role as chair of the ACMD."

Oh sure it's really just making it clear that Prof. Nutt isn't speaking in an official capacity, but consider what the reactions would have been if he'd backed up the official view in an academic lecture. Would we have the official bodies falling over themselves to point out that it was an unofficial statement; I think not.

[Additional - got to love The Great Beyond's last line on this
So there you have it, the view that the UK should have “a fully scientifically-based Misuse of Drugs Act” is apparently not one the UK government would share.
[Update - and he's been fired. That would be the Home Secretary firing the chair of the independent ACMD]


Orphi said...

Heh, put science and politics together, and it's no wonder nobody believes anything scientists say…