Science, facts, opinions, trust….the impossible combination?

On Tuesday 14 March, we had our annual GSE/GRS Research Day in Delft. The main topic of this special day was “Is science only an opinion”.

A lot of passionate debates were held about the place of science today in society, the trust of citizens in science and their researchers while scepticism increases regarding political institutions and media, the independence with industry and governments, the necessity to publish (“or perish”), our communication with media, how to engage in large scale debates while we are “only” experts in a sub(-sub-)-domain etc…

Personally, these debates had a special taste, 1.5 month after opening this web-page Twitter (and my motivations), but also 1 day after AMS sent their letter to Mr. Scott Pruitt, new Administrator of the US EPA agency, who stated his “disagreement” about the nature and role of atmospheric CO2 in the increased temperatures over recent decades. In spite of all the hard evidences, and comprehensive factual works achieved by worldwide researchers…

Shall we (continue to) engage in public debates with society? Yes! The question is more how to separate our personal opinions to objective facts, support citizens with our complex (and sometimes unclear) information, and ensure the real benefits to our societies! Likely, the new developed tools via Internet and media can help us on this.

Great thanks to all the organisers (Dr. Ramon Hanssen, Dr. Stef Lhermitte, Debbie Rietdijk, Irma Zomerdijk & Lidwien de Jong) for this great day! Let’s keep the debates alive and constructive!

AMS_Pruitt_Letter
The letter sent by AMS on 2017.03.13 to Mr. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the US EPA agency.

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