She Blinded Me With Science! The Role of Science in Public Policy

she blinded me


7:15 AM – 10:00 AM  Thursday, May 19, 2016

Location:  Congregation Bet Ha’am,

81 Westbrook Street, South Portland



Registration –

  • Member – $15.00 (USD)
  • Non- Member – $30.00 (USD)
  • Student Member – Free
  • SunriseGuide Coupon Holder –Free, Must present SunriseGuide coupon at registration table


She Blinded Me With Science!  The Role of Science in Public Policy

We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge- from climate change to vaccinations- faces furious opposition. Some even have doubts about the moon landing.
Joel Achenbach, Washington Post Science writer

Science and technology are foundations of good environmental, public health, and other public policy initiatives, but they can also be twisted to achieve predetermined results. Politics increasingly plays a role in “selecting” scientific data to fit an ideology and confirm what is already believed. History is awash with flat-earth advocates and Washington, DC and Augusta both have their fair share of scientific skeptics. True science is subjected to rigorous experimentation, peer review, and reproduction of results. While absolute certainty is virtually impossible, scientific consensus should always be subject to being overturned by more advanced research, testing, and discovery.

A contemporary example of the diminishing role of science in public policy can be found in the ongoing climate change debate. While some believe that the threat of global warming is a hoax perpetuated to attack the free market and industrial society and keep fossil fuels in the ground, most scientists believe that human activity is the dominant cause. The “debate” over science extends to mining, forestry, water use, medicine, and many other policy spheres.

When taxpayer dollars are at stake, should the scientific research process be under more intense scrutiny in setting public policy? Should politics be allowed to stifle, or at least shape, scientific consensus? Is the role of science in public policy paramount in decision-making? And, what about the precautionary principal – should the lack of reliable scientific knowledge hold back developments in environmental, public health, food, and other potential advances?

Speakers Include:

  • Senator Thomas Saviello, Chair, Environmental & Natural Resources Committee – Maine State Senate
  • Michael Halpern, Program Manager, Center for Science and Democracy – Union of Concerned Scientists
  • James Houle, Program Director – University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center
  • Taryn Hallweaver, Climate Project Director – Maine People’s Alliance

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