[Coral-List] Science and advocacy

Brittney Honisch brittney.honisch at gmail.com
Thu Jul 19 18:09:33 EDT 2012

I totally concur. Scientists are trained to do objective work; however,
that does not remove the ability of a scientist to disseminate that
information and try to educate the public in an era of increasing
misinformation. The public deserves a current account, and an accurate one
- something the media may rarely deliver. If we want people to take a stand
on important issues, to become educated, and to actively participate in the
decisions regarding imperiled systems, we can help bridge the information
gap. This is not a conflict as long as we continue to hold ourselves to a
high standard, and fully disclose all we can - what our research suggests,
who funds us, and the potential implications of our observations. Not
everyone has to choose to wear multiple hats, but I think the scientists
that do can approach it in a way that is mutually beneficial for themselves
and others.

The scientific community is not completely insulated from policy or the
public. The discussion of advocacy and education on this list serve is not
evidence of interest groups overtaking Coral List, but merely the result of
talking about pertinent issues and the environment in which we all work.

Brittney Honisch
Masters Candidate
University of the Virgin Islands

On Thu, Jul 19, 2012 at 4:25 PM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Doug Fenner revealed significant insight in his recent
> post on science and advocacy. There were two points I
> would like to reiterate for emphasis.
> We need to work as hard as possible to keep the
> science itself undistorted by external biases.
>            And
> Scientists as citizens, have as much right as any other
> citizen to speak out on important issues, and they may
> have more knowledge of the problems than the average person
> on the street.  Society needs them to speak out.
> I would only add that you as scientists undoubtedly have
> more knowledge than the average person on the street and
> society needs you to speak out in order to counter the
> shameless misinformation being disseminated without similar
> restraint by unprincipled ideologues.
>     Regards,
>      Steve
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list

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