Blue Ribbon Panel: Where Does Science End and Policy Begin?
The BiPartisan Policy Center has announced a Blue Ribbon panel that will issue recommendations intended to inform Obama's call for a Memorandum on Scientific Integrity.
Importantly, the panel will study and address an important theme that continues to re-occur in the so-called "science wars": what is the dividing line between where science ends and policymaking begins? Or as I blogged earlier today, what is the demarcation between the first and second premise in compelling policy action?
From the press release to the interim report issued today:
The report's premise is that "a critical goal of any new procedures for establishing regulatory policy must be to clarify which aspects of a regulatory issue are matters of science and which are matters of policy," such as economics and ethics. "The tendency, on all sides, to frame regulatory issues as debates solely about science, regardless of the actual subject in dispute, is at the root of the stalemate and acrimony all too present in the regulatory system today."
The panel's recommendations include the following:
*Federal regulatory documents should spell out "which aspects of disputes are truly about scientific results and which concern policy." The report suggests that this might be done by agencies describing "what additional science would change the debate over a proposed regulatory policy and in what ways" the debate would change.
*Federal agencies should make frequent use of scientific advisory panels made up solely of scientific experts.
*Scientific advisory panels "should not be asked to recommend specific policies. Rather, they should be empanelled to reach conclusions about the science that would guide a policy decision." Separate advisory panels, which should include scientific experts, can advise on policy questions.
*Federal agencies should use more open processes for naming advisory committee members that could allow for public comment, in part, to uncover conflicts-of-interest potential advisors may have.
*The federal government should issue clearer, more consistent policies on conflict-of-interest.
*When federal agencies or advisory committees review scientific literature, "not all studies should be given equal weight in surveying a field."
*Policymakers "should be wary of conclusions about risk that are expressed as a single number."
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A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
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