Why can’t we be friends?

Lot long ago, natural scientists saw social theory critics as dangerous subversives, undermining science authority. The armistice was first settled in the UK. Social scientists were invited to cooperate with government and big science to engage a suspicious public. The exemplar was Labour’s risky GM Nation Debate.

The cooperative seems productive. At Harvard, Sheila Jasanoff set up a Science and Democracy Network, to examine the dialogue between experts and publics. The first academic output is Designs on Nature. But the impact of the effort is best assessed by scientists’ willingness to replace the words “truth” and “objectivity” with such social mush as “trust,” “persuasion” and “morality.”

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