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Scientists Fight Back In Canada

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the five-minute-major-but-no-instigator-penalty dept.

Canada 277

Trufagus writes "The current Canadian government is widely regarded as 'anti-science,' and this year they have stepped up their efforts to undermine scientists and control their contact with the media. But now the federal scientists are fighting back and have just launched their own website. Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, said, 'If science isn't supported then you're going to find that decisions are going to be made more at the political level,' on Monday as the union launched their website."

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Reality's well-known biases (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944744)

"The union said in a release the recent decision to end the mandatory long-form census is the latest step in a worrying trend away from evidence-based policy making."

Well, see, there's your problem. You silly scientists, insisting that demonstrable facts are used to guide public policy. Don't you know that the truth is whatever the Party says it is?

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944756)

Soviet Canada, wait what.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

chronosan (1109639) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944830)

It's Soviet Canuckistan.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945722)

Thing is, this is the least "soviet" government we've had in a LONG time.

The summary is pure hyperbole. There's nothing anti-science about the current government; people just stick that label on them because it's a conservative majority. The entire uproar is a manufactroversy - government funded scientists are still free to conduct their research and publish their findings free of interference, they're just limited in their contact with the media. Seeing as how pretty much every other arm of the government has the same limitations, I personally don't see an issue here.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (2, Insightful)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945874)

"Least soviet" yes. Dissolving government twice, once to prevent a vote and the other to avoid discussing a controversial issue. Cutting a deal with Google to allow the Speech From the Throne to be publicly broadcast but NOT the opposition's response. The G20 debacle.

You stay open and fair Harper.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (2, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944934)

In Soviet Canada, ignorance is a dish best served cold.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944918)

How many fingers, Winston?

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

jargonCCNA (531779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945740)

THERE! ARE! FOUR! LIGHTS!

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0, Flamebait)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944998)

Don't you know that the truth is whatever the Party says it is?

The problem with your argument is that it assumes scientists are always right and are always better able to conduct public policy than politicians. Wasn't this precisely what Dwight Eisenhower warned us about in the 1950's?

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present -- and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

Your point also completely disregards the growing philosophy of post-normal science [wikipedia.org] , where scientists can "produce" evidence to support a viewpoint they consider to be politically expedient, even if the evidence does not necessarily incontrovertibly entail the conclusions.

It's rather sweet that you hold all of science in so high a regard. I used to. These days I see Scientists pretty much in the same was as I see politicians: I always want to follow the money.

No, it doesn't assume that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945038)

No, it doesn't assume that. All it assumes is that the Party assumes it is itself always right.

Please try a little comprehension with your reading.

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945082)

Please try a little comprehension with your reading.

There's nothing wrong with my reading comprehension. The sarcasm in the OP is obviously directed towards the idea that politicians have no right to contract scientists in the area of public policy, where scientists produce evidence that supports a particular point of view (which, I might add, they are well able to do for any point of view). This is plainly absurd, for the reasons I have given.

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (3, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945188)

Ya, that whole science thing is a waste of time.
The "scientists" just make things up so that the "data" says whatever they want it to say.
And they have an agenda!
A scary agenda! ...of some kind...

The very idea that it could be a good thing if policies at a national level were influenced by such nonsense as "evidence" or "data" or "reality" is absurd!

If the sceientists want to disrupt the orderly running of the country by publicly talking about how their "data" (made up of course) and "conclusions"(nefarious no doubt) contradict the decisons made by our good and godfearing leaders then they should be silenced!

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945580)

The very idea that it could be a good thing if policies at a national level were influenced by such nonsense as "evidence" or "data" or "reality" is absurd!

Your argument is really lacking in any intellectual rigour. It is also insufficiently nuanced.

Nobody is arguing that evidence shouldn't be used when making policy decisions. What I am arguing is that science isn't always black and white. There can be a range of opinion on any given issue, with supporting or contradictory evidence on both sides, provided of course that those with contradictory evidence or opinions aren't black-balled by the scientific establishment.

The role of politicians is to take a view on the evidence, not to simply accept it at face value.

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33946044)

Nobody is arguing that evidence shouldn't be used when making policy decisions.

The role of politicians is to take a view on the evidence, not to simply accept it at face value.

If you're aware at all at what's going on in Canada, or if you'd read the article, you'd know that the entire point is that the govt is moving away from evidence-based decision making. It cancels programs that might give data they don't want to acknowledge, and then claim that the data is unknown so they must go ahead with what is known. The restriction on scientists is not because they don't want scientists dictating policy -- it's because they want to censor and regulate scientific discourse. If the evidence gathered is broadly interpreted contrary to their official party policy -- which was arrived at without the use of data -- then they want it shut down, period.

To claim otherwise means you're either not familiar with the current situation in Canada, or you have a bone to pick with a particular peripherally related issue and are projecting it onto this situation.

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (1, Interesting)

huckamania (533052) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945584)

The issue is about 'federal scientists'. The government of Canada is within their rights to setup rules regarding how their employees are talking to the media. It is no different then any large organization. There are numerous reasons why a large organization would want to control their public image. Imagine if you were an employer and one of your employees thought they had the right to hold press conferences that disagree with how you are running things.

These 'federal scientists' are free to work elsewhere if they disagree with these rules. The citizens of Canada can pressure their current pols and/or elect new ones if they are unhappy with these rules.

Welcome to the real world.

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (1)

easterberry (1826250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945926)

The rules we don't know about because the people who know about them are being cut off from the media?

Re:No, it doesn't assume that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945358)

And you assume that scientist are always right.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (5, Insightful)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945402)

I'm sorry, but what do you mean by "follow the money"? How do you think scientists get paid? They get a salary from their university. There, I followed the money for you. Grants can only cover lab equipment, grad students (lab equipment), and experiments. You are not allowed to spend grant money on anything else.

Please provide some evidence to back up your insinuation that "Scientists" are... what? Bought by someone? Have some sort of political agenda? Please also cite evidence for the "growing philosophy of post-normal science", because, being a scientist, I have not encountered it in any of the fields that I work in.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945778)

These scientists get a salary from a government agency. They may or may not also get a salary from a university, but that is besides the point. This is about employers controlling the communications of its employees. That the employers are various government agencies adds a bit of an interesting twist in that the Canadian populace as a whole are paying their salaries, and so should have some stake in the fruits of their labours. The implication is that the politicians are only interested in data that backs up their agendas, and would like to sweep any contradicting evidence under the rug. Add to this that the scientists may also have their own agendas (career advancement being one of them), and so might be tempted to work towards specific conclusions rather than objectively look at what conclusions their data points to.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945450)

Your point also completely disregards the growing philosophy of post-normal science [wikipedia.org] , where scientists can "produce" evidence to support a viewpoint they consider to be politically expedient, even if the evidence does not necessarily incontrovertibly entail the conclusions.

Thank you! If more people understand what this is, they will be able to wrap their heads around the state of climate science today.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (5, Insightful)

bluie- (1172769) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945598)

Science is far too diverse to categorize all scientists as one thing or another. The scientific process is our best (and really only tool) for determining what is physically true. Yes, scientists can abuse the process, or choose to disregard some evidence, but this kind of science won't stand up to peer review.

Good public policy should involve decisions based on fact, and that means a system where politicians, who make our decisions, are well informed by the scientific community, and the public understands through the media not only the facts but the reasons behind implementing them as policy. Of course this isn't really what we have today.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (5, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945644)

And your argument conveniently fails (yet again) to produce any credible reason as to why scientists would fabricate results. Yes, we all know about "scientists" whose livelihood is tied to, for example, the fossil fuel industry. We'd rather expect such shenanigans from them, and of course, history has proven that expectation to be well founded, but we don't have anything anywhere near such a relationship between some funding entity and the huge majority of climate scientists (for example) who are raising the alarm about what they are finding.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0, Flamebait)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945812)

And your argument conveniently fails (yet again) to produce any credible reason as to why scientists would fabricate results

Are you seriously suggesting that results are never fabricated? Or that it's not possible for Scientists to behave in a generally dishonest manner in order to advance their own agendas [amazon.co.uk] ? Or that scientists do not have political opinions that are in direct conflict with the work they perform [ens-newswire.com] ?

According to David Goodstein of Caltech, there are motivators for scientists to commit misconduct, which are briefly summarised here.

Career pressure

Science is still a very strongly career-driven discipline. Scientists depend on a good reputation to receive ongoing support and funding; and a good reputation relies largely on the publication of high-profile scientific papers. Hence, there is a strong imperative to "publish or perish". Clearly, this may motivate desperate (or fame-hungry) scientists to fabricate results.

To this category may also be added a paranoia that there are other scientists out there who are close to success in the same experiment, which puts extra pressure on being the first one. It is suggested as a cause of the fraud of Hwang Woo-Suk. A main source of detection comes when other research teams in fact fail or get different results.

Laziness

Even on the rare occasions when scientists do falsify data, they almost never do so with the active intent to introduce false information into the body of scientific knowledge. Rather, they intend to introduce a fact that they believe is true, without going to the trouble and difficulty of actually performing the experiments required.
Easiness of fabrication

In many scientific fields, results are often difficult to reproduce accurately, being obscured by noise, artifacts and other extraneous data. That means that even if a scientist does falsify data, they can expect to get away with it - or at least claim innocence if their results conflict with others in the same field. There are no "scientific police" which are trained to fight scientific crimes, all investigations are made by experts in science but amateurs in dealing with criminals. It is relatively easy to cheat. Finances

There is the additional incentive of money. If one has a promising proposal in an area in which federal or other grant money or funding is available, especially in a new technology in which there is no existing standard to compare it with, the submission of preliminary data cannot be confirmed until further research is done.

Ideology

While perhaps the least common incentive, it is still there. The classic example would be anti-abortionists claiming sonograms show the silent scream of an aborted fetus demonstrates the fetus is alive with feeling, while pro-abortionists would submit demographic studies showing that women who considered abortion but later decided against it are doomed to life of dependency on welfare, lower socioeconomic status, relationship abuse, child abuse, drug abuse, etc.

Scientists are Human and subject to all of the same frailties as the rest of us. If you want the political sphere, as Dwight said, "to be held captive" by them, then in my view that is a very naive viewpoint indeed. There are many cargo-cults in science. Its practitioners are no more suited to directing public policy than anyone else.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

MadUndergrad (950779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945976)

Of course to be fair I think even many of those scientists do produce good research, with their results either buried or cherrypicked depending on whether or not it's favorable to their corporate sponsors. Granted you'd think that anyone who stays in such an environment has to be somewhat complicit, I'm just saying they're maybe not as corrupt as you might think.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945672)

"The problem with your argument is that it assumes scientists are always right"

Bollocks. Even scientists don't say they are always right. With politicians however, more often than not it does not even seem to matter whether they are right or wrong.

"These days I see Scientists pretty much in the same was as I see politicians: I always want to follow the money."

Which explains why there are no scientists on the Fortune 500 list?

Btw, how do you see corporate leaders? Or do they just not factor into your worldview?

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945764)

Post-normal science is not exactly mainstream in science.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945798)

"It's rather sweet that you hold all of science in so high a regard. I used to. These days I see Scientists pretty much in the same was as I see politicians: I always want to follow the money."

That's a joke, given that most scientists work at a fraction of the wage they could receive if they worked in other, similarly-qualified jobs. People don't go into science "for the money", so it obviously can't be the primary motivation behind their work. It's certainly a factor in plenty of issues in science, but not an overriding one, and not most of the time. Don't be so cynical.

Ever since the days of tobacco industry "scientific" studies, probably earlier, some people have developed the attitude that science can be twisted to say whatever anybody wants. No, not really. You can try using the usual techniques of human persuasion, but it doesn't work for long -- also as the tobacco industry fiasco demonstrated. However, there are plenty of other examples that worked for a while and then failed (e.g., Lysenkoism [wikipedia.org] ). Science isn't perfect, but it does sort these things out eventually, and the more open the process the better, which is the biggest problem with what the Canadian government is doing. I hold science in high regard precisely because scientists *don't* claim to be "always right", and we do critique ideas openly in public forums.

I find the various philosophical arguments to the contrary -- i.e that science doesn't work reliably -- completely uncompelling. Just because you can make an entertaining philosophical argument out of "the Earth is flat" doesn't mean that any chosen scientific position is equally tenable, or that it could be artificially supported as long as there is enough money behind holding such a position. That's nonsense. It's a snake-oil salesman argument that they can stay in business forever. I'm sorry, but once people realize the stuff doesn't work or even makes things worse, or even before that point, there are going to be questions and other scientists are going to step in and test the claims. There will still be gullible people around from which you could make money ("There's a sucker born every minute"), but scientists are going to be the biggest critics, and eventually reality is going to shine through for anyone willing to take the time to look.

It's also important to understand that scientists do not set public policy, they provide the ingredients -- information -- for democratically-elected politicians to make informed decisions. When politicians ignore important information it is part of a scientist's job to point it out -- especially to the broader public. To that extent scientists certainly can have political influence on both political leaders and the public, but the ultimate decisions are not their call. It's up to the politicians and the public that elect them. Well, okay, unless a scientist happens to be elected to public office, but that isn't particularly likely.

Also keep in mind that scientists in a democracy are citizens too. I personally think scientists should be cautious about stepping into the political realm, but at the same time I'd never deny them their right to speak their opinion.

In my experience, the people who don't think science is significantly more trustworthy than your typical politician are the ones that have their own political agenda to push, and science happens to be in the way of it. Therefore, tearing down science generally fits their own agenda.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945954)

It's also important to understand that scientists do not set public policy, they provide the ingredients -- information -- for democratically-elected politicians to make informed decisions

I was with you up to this point. So you see no conflict of interest between scientists receiving research grants and continued funding (or their institutions doing so) and the requirements of the people actually paying the bills (the Government)? Interestingly, you are aware of the conflict when it comes to private corporations and research into the effects of tobacco smoking, for example, but you are strangely blind when exactly the same scenario presents itself in the public sphere. Why?

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945840)

The problem with your argument is that it assumes scientists are always right and are always better able to conduct public policy than politicians. Wasn't this precisely what Dwight Eisenhower warned us about in the 1950's?

No it doesn't assume that they are always right. Science has a decent feedback loop and is decent at self-correcting--just like democratic societies.

As long as science properly sticks to what Poppler called falsifiable claims, it will work properly. It gathers facts and trends, make them public, and lets other scientists (and society in general) figure out if anything needs to be done.

Your point also completely disregards the growing philosophy of post-normal science [wikipedia.org], where scientists can "produce" evidence to support a viewpoint they consider to be politically expedient, even if the evidence does not necessarily incontrovertibly entail the conclusions.

As opposed to politicians making decisions that are "politically expedient, even if the evidence does not necessarily incontrovertibly entail the conclusions." The first step is in gathering evidence. Once you have that, you can publicly dissect it. Once it is confirmed (hopefully multiple times), you begin acting on it.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

Bongo (13261) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945940)

In life one has to choose what to believe in, what to value most, what is it that is the true guide?

At some point, some people choose Science. The way our minds work, we don't have much room for more than one Absolute at a time... otherwise it isn't an Absolute if there's more then a few... Science... Art... Morals... Religion... Sex... whatever. Something gets placed at the top.

The funny thing is that people will spend about 10 or 20 years putting one thing as the absolute top and then later, through life experience, change their minds, and put something else at the top. Then they put being Relative at the top... for a while... then another 20 years and it changes again.

What I'm saying is, yes, I agree with you... people are imagining that Science is the best most rational objective guide to truth... and they are partially correct. But they forget the "partially" and so they have to denounce anyone who might suggest that in practice, science is practiced by people with human motivations just like the rest of us, and that just because there are institutions and methods doesn't mean that those institutions and methods can't become corrupted to varying degrees from time to time, or just make mistakes which take a long time to correct, if they're even noticed.

I mean, we used to believe the police were the force for good and eventually we came to see things like "institutionalised racism" as real. But wait... how can there be bad cops? Surely the majority of good cops would catch them right away? Well... not if there's too many of them and they are covering each other's backs. Or if denouncing the few bad ones would bring the force into disrepute and lead to social problems because people lose faith in the police. So... "better" to hide the bad ones. That's why it is "institutionalised racism".

Many fields and activities have great value, even I daresay, politicians who have to expend great intelligence in trying to hold the nation together whilst trying to get something done, when competing groups would happily kill each other. I have to entertain the idea that some politicians are actually great people. Some scientists are great people. Some doctors are great people. Some soldiers are great. Some philosophers are great. Some religious people are great. The list goes on. And any of them could be wrong on any number of subjects.

But no... I'm forgetting... SCIENZ RULEZZZ!

Re:Reality's well-known biases (2, Insightful)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33946018)

It's rather sweet that you hold all of science in so high a regard. I used to. These days I see Scientists pretty much in the same was as I see politicians: I always want to follow the money.

Even if that was true, I'd take scientists over politicians any day of the week. To be a scientist, you have to be, at the very least, above-average intelligent. But not to be a politician, being a lying, greedy pig is just enough.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945030)

Outside of a few backwards hellholes, I'm pretty sure that communism as a threat to empiricism is dead and buried. I'm sure that North Korea thinks that crops evolve because Dear Leader wishes them to; but that isn't exactly a problem for canadian scientists.

Depending on your region, businesses that absolutely hate any environmental, product safety, or occupational health regulations; Jesus freaks/ Allah enthusiasts/ Torah bashers with major hang-ups on biology, cosmology, and sex; or the occasional ultra-green who insists that any human activity is a threat to mother gaia(outside of a few pockets of Europe, these guys are playing a distant third), are really the present threats of note.

There are also the jackbooted drug warriors, who could really use a course in comparative risk assessment; but precisely their weakness in that area makes them a very single-issue threat to scientific policymaking.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (-1, Troll)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945072)

It's question of how those 'facts' are gathered and what the goals are.

Science itself is valueless. It cannot be used to set policy.

In the case of the mandatory long form census, do I think it is worth threatening my fellow citizen with jail time and fines for not filling in a form on how many hours of unpaid housework they did?
Absolutely not. Yet apparently many 'scientists' think they should.
Apparently it is 'scientific' that government use force against its citizens to collect data for scientists to use. It would not be mandatory otherwise.

The fact that they see this whole process as 'scientific' and cannot be questioned is really quite absurd.
Now maybe that is your value system, and you really think that is what government should be doing. Great and all... that's what the democratic process is all about. It's called politics.
Yet, the fact that people try and defend that value judgment as science is a problem.

Great maybe you can statistically improve the life span of Canadians. Congrats. That's a value judgement. Increasing life span.
How do you balance that with other value judgments of freedom, personal choice, democracy... ?

This aspect of the modern scientific movement is more like a religion and we need separation of church and state.

If all these scientists were doing was writing reports and facts, wonderful. But they're not.
They like to make grande pronouncements that include demanding the government enact this and that legislation.

It really is like religion. No one should mind a religious group spreading their beliefs
The problems come when they get power and start legislating their beliefs.

'Evidence' based policy making is not exactly objective and scientific. Everything has values... as before you measure something, you must decide what to measure.

Take a philosophy class and read about utilitarianism.
That's what these scientists are basically trying. Yet again, it all comes back to what you choose to measure, which is a value and moral judgment... which has nothing to do with science.

Scientists have long crossed the line of just being object truth seekers and are well into politics and political movements.
Science does not purify politics.
Politics infects science.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1, Informative)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945260)

In the case of the mandatory long form census, do I think it is worth threatening my fellow citizen with jail time and fines for not filling in a form on how many hours of unpaid housework they did?
Absolutely not. Yet apparently many 'scientists' think they should.
Apparently it is 'scientific' that government use force against its citizens to collect data for scientists to use. It would not be mandatory otherwise.

The fact that they see this whole process as 'scientific' and cannot be questioned is really quite absurd.

You know what's absurd? That you don't know what "scientific" means.
"Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible, to reduce biased interpretations of results. "
If everyone is threatened with jail time if they don't fill out the form, then you don't have a self-selecting group of people willing to fill out the form.

It really is like religion.

Oh FUCK no! Religion doesn't fly planes, religion didn't cure polio: There's your goddamn problem, you're too fucking stupid to understand the difference between reality and fiction, you think science and religion are the same.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (3, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945276)

Science itself is valueless. It cannot be used to set policy.

Whoa, what? Are you seriously suggesting that humanity is worse off knowing how to form various iron compounds, or how to treat leukemia, or how freshwater mussels affect trout? As far as whether it can be used to set policy, are you suggesting that we set policy with no understanding whatsoever about what the probable effects of that policy are?

It really is like religion

... except that science produces testable, verifiable, repeatable results. Unlike religion, there's absolutely nothing science tells you to accept simply because an authority says so. If you don't think a scientific result is accurate, you can look through the data and methodology, you could set up a lab and try to repeat the result, you could look at what other scientists have to say about it, and so forth.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1)

Millennium (2451) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945514)

I think the grandparent meant to say that science makes no value judgments, as opposed to saying that it has no value.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945444)

"Apparently it is 'scientific' that government use force against its citizens to collect data for scientists to use. It would not be mandatory otherwise."

What you miss is the fact that the data isn't being collected for scientists, it is being collected by scientists who are tasked by the government to provide the information to make informed political decisions, rather than wild-assed guesses.

This is not some ivory-tower statistical exercise, it's providing the necessary ingredients to make a useful decision by politicians elected by us to make those decisions. The alternative is, of course, to not base decisions on useful or detailed information.

Then there's the straw argument about "jail time" for failure to fill in the forms. As far as I can remember, nobody has ever been jailed. So, yeah, strike that nonsense off there because it is both extreme and unused anyway.

We still seriously need the data. And, yes, it's a duty of all citizens to provide it, so I have no problem with providing some kind of strong incentive to get on with it. Rather than listening to government speaking points, sit down and think how you would manage a country of ~30 million people without decent, reasonably comprehensive data to help decide where you were going to efficiently and effectively invest your limited financial resources over the next several years, rather than wastefully overallocating them where they aren't needed, and underallocating for places it is needed. I mean, ye gods, government is already short-sighted enough, now you want them to be blind?

Or is it your political plan to just wing it on gut instinct on the basis that "science is infected by politics" anyway? Science isn't perfect, but the alternative isn't exactly effective.

Re:Reality's well-known biases (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945504)

Science itself is valueless. It cannot be used to set policy.

So when science says that fibrous asbestos causes cancer, we shouldn't do anything about it? When science says BPA is toxic, we shouldn't do anything about it? When science says certain levels of alcohol lead to slower response times when operating automobiles, we shouldn't do anything about it?

Generally speaking, we should minimize laws and regulations. But, when science gives us facts and trends that point to something "bad" or undesirable happening, we should ignore it?

Science gives us data about what is happening. Once policy makers know what is happening, they can decide whether it is good or bad (or neutral), and whether something needs to be done about it.

It's like the F-35: do we need new jets? Yes. Do we need a 5G fighter? Maybe (what criteria are we using to judge? unknown). Could we have gotten a better deal or more industrial concessions with a more open process? Previous experience implies yes. The Cons came in on a promise of greater transparency and openness, but they're no different than the last bunch of yahoos.

In the case of the mandatory long form census, do I think it is worth threatening my fellow citizen with jail time and fines for not filling in a form on how many hours of unpaid housework they did?

Canada doesn't ask much of its citizens. Basically you're (1) attend jury service semi-regularly, and (2) fill out said form every few years.

While the jail time is excessive, I don't think a fine is. By filling it out you're allowing municipalities, counties, provinces, and Ottawa to make decisions on policy and resource deployment based on facts on the ground. And personally, I trust Statistics Canada a lot more with this data than I would private corporations having it and then the Feds collating it from them.

Politicians and bureaucrats are a lot more accountable than most private corporations, especially if they're multi-national.

And this goes back to my earlier point: the long-form census gives policy makers a snapshot of how society is organized. And going back to previous censuses it is possible to spot trends. Various levels of government can then plan for the needs of the citizens and allocate various resources more efficiently in areas where they are needed.

Scientists have long crossed the line of just being object truth seekers and are well into politics and political movements.

Overgeneralizing much?

Re:Reality's well-known biases (0)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945156)

Ridiculous. The long-form census is still there, it's just voluntary. What the government got rid of was the mandatory part of it. Going to jail for not telling the government how and when I drive to work and go about my daily business is an affront to civil liberties. Getting rid of this was a GOOD thing.

And I also highly disagree with the statement that the government is considered 'anti-science'. This is just liberal media spin. I've never hear the government considered in that light by any serious source.

statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944758)

> The current Canadian government is widely regarded as 'anti-science,'

Just saying ... This statement is total shit.

Re:statement (3, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944864)

> The current Canadian government is widely regarded as 'anti-science,'

Just saying ... This statement is total shit.

Do you have any evidence to back up that statement?

Re:statement (4, Insightful)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944926)

The article backs him up. If Canadians were aware that their government was anti-science then it wouldn't be newsworthy that a science union put up a website raising awareness about the way the Canadian government is treating scientists.

I'm a Canadian and I didn't know - now I do. I knew that the Conservative government is against public services in general, but I certainly didn't know they're regulating what public scientists are allowed to say.

Re:statement (1)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945178)

Damn, and I thought that Saddam Hussein as your prime-minister [wikipedia.org] was bad enough already, and now this. Well, let's hope that four American kids can solve this problem for your scientists on this Christmas too. It's your best bet, considering "efficiency" of all other legitimate and official solutions. Good luck anyway!

Re:statement (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945278)

If Canadians were aware that their government was anti-science then it wouldn't be newsworthy that a science union put up a website raising awareness about the way the Canadian government is treating scientists.

I'm a Canadian and I didn't know - now I do.

I knew. I think it's newsworthy. Your ignorance doesn't mean something isn't widely known, it just means you're ignorant.

Re:statement (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945842)

It is long established that belief is more powerful than fact. Facts often interfere with our beliefs to the point that you have to get rid of one in favor of the other. The problem is simply that one's own identity is tied very closely to belief where facts are rarely, if ever, claimed as a part of one's identity. Political affiliations and sports teams are also often components of identity for some people to the point of being violently defensive of them.

It may seem nonsensical to ignore new information in order to maintain one's beliefs, but we see it all the time. We see it in diet, religion, relative mathematics, and pretty much every aspect of life. It is all part of how the brain works. We break down, simplify and symbolically represent things in our minds. It serves to help remember, categorize and index what we keep in there. To change our beliefs means to change our long-term neural pathways. This is no trivial matter. For example, I am atheist, but I was raised Christian and so various aspects of Christian thinking still runs through my brain with no sign of ever going away.

Beliefs are comforting. To challenge belief is to make someone uncomfortable.

Re:statement (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944946)

He does; but all that exposure to non-hazardous asbestos has left him needing to speak slowly and breath out of his good lung...

Ricky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944798)

Anyone else notice this guy looks exactly like Ricky Gervais?

Re:Ricky? (0, Offtopic)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944962)

Looks more like a cross between Ricky Gervais and Simon Pegg!

Coming soon--- (1)

cindyann (1916572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944832)

Next step: government outlaws scientists fighting back!

Re:Coming soon--- (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944896)

Have a care ma'am. The scientists are the ones who gave the government their toys. We might take them away.

Re:Coming soon--- (2, Insightful)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945002)

They made the toys with money provide by the government.

People need to remember who they work for and look for a new employer if they don't like the conditions.

Re:Coming soon--- (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945272)

Public sector scientists certainly do remember that. At least, I sure did when I was a government scientist, before I moved on to other opportunities. While I worked in that job I took my commitment to the public very seriously and treated any money I received for my research as if it was my own -- I pay taxes too, you know.

That's why public sector scientists get particularly frustrated when they are told by their government masters that they can't speak to the public who are paying the bills, and it's why the public should feel justifiably angry with any government that sets serious restrictions on scientific communication. You the public are our bosses, not merely the government-of-the-day who might not like the scientific results and decides to stifle open communication.

A government that prevents scientists from speaking to the public is denying the public the right to hear the scientific results they paid for, and for issues that everyone agrees are important to the public (e.g., things like public safety, health, resource development and preservation, etc.). Government scientists provide what is needed to have informed political discussion and decisions. It's grossly irresponsible on all sorts of levels to restrict their communication with the public, but it sure isn't the fault of the scientists trying to do their job.

Re:Coming soon--- (0)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945392)

and treated any money I received for my research as if it was my own

Nice euphemism for theft ...

/sarcasm off

Re:Coming soon--- (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945494)

I'm pretty sure they meant it as they were careful with the money, and did not spend it frivolously.

Re:Coming soon--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945998)

I'm sure people think the same thing every time they "steal" the use of some asphalt on taxpayer-funded public roads. /sarcasm off

The fact remains that I was tasked by the government to do a job and given some taxpayer money to do it, some tiny fraction of which came from my own taxes, just like yours. I therefore treated the money very responsibly rather than squandering it on, say, doughnuts, beer, and hookers that weren't essential to the research task at hand.

If you begrudge the fact that any money at all is spent on scientific research by the Canadian government, then I'm sorry, but that's not my department. The politicians at the top decided on our behalf that some scientific information would be worthwhile to collect rather than making political decisions in a vacuum. They chose the priorities for the research, and they hired me among many others to fulfill those goals. I diligently and responsibly tried to do that, as did my coworkers tasked in similar ways.

If it's any consolation, I left that job for another that offered more money and more control of the research direction. The research money still can't be spent on doughnuts, beer, or hookers.

Re:Coming soon--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945434)

"They made the toys with money provide by the government."

They made the presses the government printed the money on and calculated how much they can print.

Re:Coming soon--- (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945530)

And if the conditions are oppressive, the people working for them will leave, and there will be no new toys.

Re:Coming soon--- (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945770)

Why is it that when ever a discussion about public employees comes up, someone invariably mentions something amounting to, "They are working for the public and should be flogged for misspending public money".
Funny thing about public employees, they happen to be people as well. People, as you may well know have self interests. They also like to have fun.
You show me someone who has never misspent company money and had fun on company time and I will show you a liar.

Re:Coming soon--- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945084)

Have a care ma'am. The scientists are the ones who gave the government their toys. We might take them away.

Atlas didn't so much shrug, but he did set the world down for a bit while he had some donuts, eh?

/posted from south of the border.
//we've got anti-science nuts in politcs here too.
///but at least our government is still in the toymaking business, from which Canada retired in 1959 by means of blowtorch.

Big business corruption and greed is anti-science (5, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944844)

If you can prove that a business is ruining the environment and economy through sound scientific methods, OF COURSE big businesses will try to stifle research, innovation and facts in order to continue their relentless pursuit of money. Unabashed greed and facts do not mix well.

The worst-case scenario is never knowing the truth about anything because businesses have completely obscured reality in order to continue their pursuit of massive profits.

Re:Big business corruption and greed is anti-scien (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944878)

If you can prove that a business is ruining the environment and economy through sound scientific methods, OF COURSE big businesses will try to stifle research, innovation and facts in order to continue their relentless pursuit of money. Unabashed greed and facts do not mix well.

The worst-case scenario is never knowing the truth about anything because businesses have completely obscured reality in order to continue their pursuit of massive profits.

I've never heard of a business ruining the environment and economy through sound scientific methods.

Re:Big business corruption and greed is anti-scien (2, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944986)

"The worst-case scenario is never knowing the truth about anything because businesses have completely obscured reality in order to continue their pursuit of massive profits."

No coincidence that the Religious Right in the US, who compose the vast majority of the Tea Party, are funded by oil billionaires among others.

It's the perfect storm of anti-science superstition and corporate greed.

Re:Big business corruption and greed is anti-scien (0, Offtopic)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945230)

No coincidence that the Religious Right in the US, who compose the vast majority of the Tea Party, are funded by oil billionaires among others.

As opposed to the entire Left in the U.S., which is funded by the billionaires who played a significant role in the housing bubble and bust (the Sandlers) combined with a currency speculator billionaire (George Soros).

Re:Big business corruption and greed is anti-scien (1)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945096)

Maybe Big Business is not so good for science, but still most tech innovations are done primarily in the private sector. The state is actually a much bigger obstacle to scientific research.

In "The Economic Laws of Scientific Research", Keeley showed with backed data (stats from OECD countries,) that gov-funded R&D is wasteful, and appears to reduce overall R&D spending, thereby causing slower economic growth.

Publicly funded science is ineffective compared to the private sector, although the latter is far from being perfect.

And since we're talking about Canada, an anecdotal evidence of the thesis above is the deplorable present state of Canadian fisheries where R&D are managed by the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) .

I dislike unions, but... (1)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944846)

I dislike unions, but, in this case, I must agree with them and support their decision. The government can't interfere with scientists the way it does!

Go figure (5, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944862)

that a conservative government is anti-science.

Re:Go figure (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944954)

Go figure that you're a giant pussy.

Re:Go figure (2, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945024)

Why is that a Troll? There are almost zero secular Conservatives, and not enough to make policy.

Religion and science are opposing views, and religionists have a history of stifling science and killing scientists they thought threatened belief in their imaginary celestial friend.

Re:Go figure (1)

Minion of Eris (1574569) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945662)

It isn't even that they are anti-science per se, but more that they are anti-dissemination of truths revealed by science. They aren't stifling the research so much as muzzling the researchers.

Think of the Seals! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944870)

Clubbing is scientifically proven to cause harm to Seals. That's why Canadians don't like science.

Re:Think of the Seals! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944928)

I agree. Guys in the Navy should never go partying.

Re:Think of the Seals! (0)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944948)

lol

Re:Think of the Seals! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944936)

Clubs are a hotbed of illegal drug use, of course they are going to harm baby seals...

combining two things (4, Insightful)

memnock (466995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944884)

conservatives hate: scientists and unions. i imagine there will be some kind of counter-campaign to smear the Public Science members at some point. another CRU incident maybe?

of course what i just wrote is based on politics too. it's hard to see how rationality can trump ignorance when the ignorant have the bully pulpit to shout down the rationalists.

Shockingly Unsurprising (4, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944886)

Conservatives in Canada rise to power, and start squelching science funding. Anyone who didn't see this coming hasn't been paying attention ... anywhere. Many scientists in Canada saw this coming a while ago and have been working on diversifying their funding to insulate themselves from the inevitable cuts.

Fortunately, the conservatives in Canada are at least smart enough to know better than to screw with the health care system (at least too much).

Re:Shockingly Unsurprising (4, Interesting)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945052)

Scientists ought to seek out other countries for funding. The brain drain can work in reverse.

If China were smart, it would buy up the scientific talent chased out of the West by religious oppression. China was once the most advanced country in the world. There is no reason that shouldn't happen again. The Communists knew what to do about religion, and did it in a manner no harsher than that which spread religion in the first place.

Re:Shockingly Unsurprising (2, Insightful)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945496)

Except that in China, unlike Canada, you can and probably will go to prison for saying something the government doesn't like.

Also, there's far less oversight of food and drug safety over there.

Re:Shockingly Unsurprising (3, Insightful)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945576)

Why would they need to buy our surplus? They're capable of making plenty of good scientists on their own. They're even willing to give them jobs!

Re:Shockingly Unsurprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945726)

"The Communists knew what to do about religion, and did it in a manner no harsher than that which spread religion in the first place."

Kill millions of their own? I can't think of many religions that spread that way...

Re:Shockingly Unsurprising (-1, Redundant)

cindyann (1916572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945100)

Screw with it? It's not like it's particularly good or anything.

My daughter attended a Canadian university. For three years she (we) had to pay extra for the university health plan because she (obviously) wasn't on the provincial health plan. This was despite the fact that she was covered by my US-based health insurance -- my insurance that covers her anywhere in the world. (And if, by some chance there was something that couldn't/wouldn't be covered in Canada, she was only a few hours away by car and could be brought home for treatment.)

Why? Because my plan doesn't have unlimited mental health coverage. A college student? For three years? Needs unlimited mental heath? She'd never had a need for mental health treatment before that. And who reviewed the appeal? The (Canadian) insurance company! Do you think they had a vested interest in anything except ensuring that they continued to collect their $800 premium every year.

And any time she actually needed health care, getting to see a doctor was a three-plus hour ordeal. No appointments -- walk-in only. When she could have been in class, needed to be in class, instead she was growing old waiting to see a doctor. Good thing nothing serious ever happened to her.

That was C$2400 flushed down the toilet as far as I'm concerned.

Oh, and the stories her friends told a general shortages of doctors because every Canadian that earns an MD leaves. I used to laugh at the billboards on the I81 leading to Canada advertising (begging) for MDs to come work in Canada.

Re:Shockingly Unsurprising (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945928)

Screw with it? It's not like it's particularly good or anything.

The US system? Indeed it isn't particularly good at anything.

My daughter attended a Canadian university. For three years she (we) had to pay extra for the university health plan because she (obviously) wasn't on the provincial health plan. This was despite the fact that she was covered by my US-based health insurance -- my insurance that covers her anywhere in the world

The Canadian health care system is intelligent enough to realize that most likely your insurance plan that claims to "cover her anywhere in the world" would either refuse payment or jerk them around to the point of them giving up on trying to obtain payment. In other words, the Canadians didn't want your health insurance plan to treat them the same way your plan treats American health care providers.

(And if, by some chance there was something that couldn't/wouldn't be covered in Canada, she was only a few hours away by car and could be brought home for treatment.)

That sounds easy but if you are talking about a true emergency situation bringing someone across the US/Canada border is not trivial. And if you have a disease that you want treated down here, good luck talking US CBP into letting you cross back in to the US.

Why? Because my plan doesn't have unlimited mental health coverage. A college student? For three years? Needs unlimited mental heath? She'd never had a need for mental health treatment before that.

If you were to read the data on mental health situations, you would find that young adults are particularly susceptible to mental health issues and mental health crises. They are standing on solid ground insisting that all students have unlimited mental health coverage, regardless of their past. Just because your little Johnny or Sue had a spotless record as a teenager does not mean he or she will do so well as a young adult.

And any time she actually needed health care, getting to see a doctor was a three-plus hour ordeal. No appointments -- walk-in only.

It is not the fault of the system that your daughter did not know how to use it. Someone unfamiliar with the US system would face the same situation their first time through as well.

Oh, and the stories her friends told a general shortages of doctors because every Canadian that earns an MD leaves. I used to laugh at the billboards on the I81 leading to Canada advertising (begging) for MDs to come work in Canada.

I have driven various parts of I81 - including near the NY/Ontario border - a few times over the past several years and have not seen the billboards you refer to. Where abouts did you see these begging billboards?

union = problem (-1, Troll)

Xciton (84642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944906)

Unions are a viral problem. Way too much control over politics.

Remove "union" backing from this and I'll start listening, until then, their on my "ignore list".

Quote reaffirms opponents of science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33944908)

'If science isn't supported then you're going to find that decisions are going to be made more at the political level,'

So basically he's telling corrupt politicians that they are achieving their goals. It's how politicians want it to be so they can do whatever those with most money/influence tell them to. How exactly are the scientists expecting change when they tell those in power they are winning? It's not like the dumbed down public would waste their precious TV time reading such a website anyway.

Stop giving Canadians a bad time.... (0)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 3 years ago | (#33944910)

Their Scientists have now figured out how to make a web page. Maybe they can use it to promote their armed forces [motifake.com]

It's always a tricky balance (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945076)

I was a public servant and research scientist in Canada for several years. I moved on to other things eventually, but I understand why there is friction between scientists and the government of the day. It's normal, and at some level it isn't peculiar to the current government.

Here's why: on one hand, the government wishes to set and completely control the agenda, and the public service is supposed to be setting its goals at the direction of the political level. That's the job of a public servant: to do the job you are directed to do by the government.

But on the other hand, public servants have a broader commitment to the public-at-large, and scientists especially have an ethical responsibility to pursue the science regardless of whether the specific results of a study will support what the government wishes or not. If a measurement has inconvenient implications for political policy, well, too bad. Deal with the data or admit you don't care about reality. An ethical scientist is not going to cover it up or alter the data to fit political policy. Policy can and should dictate to some degree what should be studied in the first place (i.e. policy determines what is important enough to study -- in which field or topic to invest limited money), but it should have no influence on the actual results or the need to communicate them to other scientists and the broader public. Putting a barrier between scientists and the public is counterproductive to scientists doing their job. It's also a waste of money, because what's the point of doing science on behalf of the public and for the sake of important public concerns like health, safety, resources, etc. if you can't in the end communicate with the public, or if doing so is dependent on whether the results align with the politics of the day? Scientists have to be able to talk about the "bad news" as well as "good news".

A government that fails to recognize this balance between political loyalty and the broader loyalty of federal government scientists to the public and to science is a government that is no friend to anyone -- the scientists or the public. Like I said, the friction has always been there and always will be, but it's true that the current government has gone significantly further than previous ones to try to control communication. In my opinion, they're a bunch of control freaks more interested in determining the message than having an informed political debate. I'm glad that scientists fed up with the situation are doing something about it, because what the government is doing is wrong.

In my experience federal government scientists are some of the most highly-dedicated public servants I've ever met, and they're usually working at about two-thirds to half the pay they could get if they moved to equivalent industry jobs. Where I worked, it was the scientists who were often there until 6pm or later, doing their job because they enjoyed it. The administrators and bureaucrats would be out of there 4pm sharp.

Union of Concerned Scientists (4, Informative)

WebSorcerer (889656) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945104)

There is a comparable web site by US scientists started during the Bush Jr. administration. http://www.ucsusa.org/ [ucsusa.org]

Re:Union of Concerned Scientists (2, Informative)

Mendenhall (32321) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945648)

You do know that the Union of Concerned Scientists has been around since 1969, not since Bush Jr., don't you? Did you read their history on their web site?

They (we, in this case) certainly have been more vocal during the most egregiously anti-scientific administrations, but Bush Jr. wasn't the first.

Everything is political (3, Interesting)

southfarthing (1897322) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945132)

So the union doesn't think its positions aren't political? Nonsense. Policy - what we do about the facts - is supposed to be political. Many European countries are effectively bankrupt today. That's the fact. The policies that flow from that fact are political, and there's not a scientifically "right" choice to be made. Do they cut spending? Increase the retirement age? They need to choose based on their values and culture. Scientists are great at finding facts, but return to being regular citizens - no more or less important than anyone else - when it comes to deciding what to do about the facts. The website amounts to a lobby effort to increase funding and power for a bunch of civil servants, the vast majority of whom are engaged in necessary but mundane research that is nowhere near as important as they would like you to think.

Jesus, not scientists, CLIMATOLOGISTS (-1, Flamebait)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945150)

And if the government employed people to read the future in chicken entrails (and they might as well do that) then they would still enjoy the right to tell them what public pronouncements they can make as part of their government funded job, if they want to keep it.

Don't like your employer? Find a better one. Can't find a better one? Then find a different job - you have no Intelligent Designed right to make a living from the public purse.

Good thing unions are not political (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945196)

Unions are luckily not political entities. They will not make statements or take actions unrelated to the strict academic evidence their members have provided. If a union says something, it will A) be related to the area of professional interest of its members, B) be quality checked and represent the entire consenus (and give fair weight to any dissent or doubts).

Good for them...although their web can be blocked. (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945202)

Websites can be blocked, or Ddos, so good luck , as long as you have it in another country and that government is known not to uphold any other nations cries about needing to shut that website down. I think science is so underrated, and under appreciated, although, we do need more scientists out there, I think we need a more understanding government first.

You can not have that type of government if the government itself, is too busy trying to stop any information flow coming out of the science community. I have to ask though, why would they be so assenine? I understand that the science community has a very powerful voice, especially when it comes to climate reports etc....but remember that people are also smart enough to make their own decisions when it comes to information being presented to them, and that when you get 4 reports all conflicting with each other about whether global warming exists, then they will watch closely....if all 4 reports are the same, people accept , we got a problem, if there are 4 reports of which all are held back by the government because they do not want you knowing what is in them, then you know you have a problem with your government

Here in Sunny Queensland - political choices (4, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945222)

A few years back in Queensland, Australia we had a government that wanted to get ahead instead of listening to those gloomy scientists. We ended up with a lot of taxpayers money going to things like Dr Horvath's Hydrogen car scam and the Cape York spaceport where the entire massive operation was going to be run by a two person company (which mysteriously soaked up money for years while still being nothing but two people and glossy brochures). The former USSR and Lysenkoism of course has many worse examples - but my point is purely political choices in science end up in snake oil scams.

Canada's Minister of Science is a Chiropractor... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945224)

... and refused to say if he believed in evolution, saying that questions about is religion were inappropriate...

He then "retracted" himself and said this: "We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment."

Yes, this is Canada's science minister. Look him up: Gary Goodyear

Only in Canada eh? Pity! (5, Funny)

nickull (943338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945232)

I guess people are worried that our state of the art igloo geometric designs, dogsled aerodymanics and maple syrup chemistry are in danger if poltical decisions are made without the benefit of science. Luckily there are only 78 of us in the whole country. We can probably sort it out in about a fortnight over a few Molson's beers while watching ice hockey. duane "Who won the damn gold medals at the last Olympics anyways?"

Let me guess... (2, Interesting)

freeman-sr (1842222) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945234)

The site is being hosted on a server within Canada? There is a few probable sceneries about what the government might do about it, and none of them is going to be liked by the scientists.

Take away their science then (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945270)

No phones, no lights, no motorcars - not a single luxury. Esp no heat.

Re:Take away their science then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945596)

They're scientists, not wizards.

Try to stop that stupid Wi-fi thing too (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33945492)

It's time to introduce some facts to the douchebags running Canada's schools as well.

Union poo flinging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33945646)

More union bellyaching. What this means is that the unions have sensed that the Canadian government, like other governments around the world, is looking to make some cuts to reign in government spending. The unions are engaged in some preemptive poo flinging. That is all that this is about.

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