Role of science P2 - Anthropocentrism P1

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University of Toronto St. George
School of Environment
Mairi Mac Donald

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 Prof. MacDonald ENV222H1S The Current Role of Science Announcements EXAM - FRIDAY APRIL 29, 2011 9-11 AM •A moratorium was placed on the construction of wind power due to activist efforts February 11 article - The Star and Globe and Mail role of science cynical view: the Ontario government is using science as an excuse not to move ahead •Two themes for today scientists as actors play an essential role in that the empirical method is now by far the most legitimate type of knowledge - it has become firmly established; it is the dominant form scientists play a role b/c it is impossible to get environmental approval w/out scientific consent wind power: • they need to make the argument that there are adverse health effects that are related to wind power they are in a NIMBY position that must be backed up by scientific proof • science has limitations of norms and ethics, there are other implications we have scientists as individuals that have started to advocate for environmental change they lose legitimacy in the eyes of other scientists as they partake in political debate, thus they seem to have lost their objectivity scientist collectives are still prevalent; they as a whole advocate for change (nuclear weapons from physicists) scientists are speaking publicly but they are not the dominant voice; what they need is the environmentalists to take the technical scientific language to broadcast and put it into the public debate need environmentalists to project the message and environmentalists need the science grounding to give legitimacy to their claims •where scientists weigh the most significant role: getting the issues into the public agenda • the influence of science diminishes and the influence of those who have to pay for the changes increases, thus it moves away from science and into politics e.g. back in the 1980s there was scientific work done amongst Ontario universities about acid rain. Conferences between top scientists of Environment Canada, as well as the ministers in the federal and provincial realm. The question was how much sulfur reduction was needed: the scientific consensus was between 30-70%. Policy and politics require that kind of certainty there are actors (firms or NIMBY groups of today) who see this process unfolding and they • become aware of the fact that costs will be imposed on them they begin to question the scientific legitimacy of issues as a way to challenge the political request legitimately they ask “are you sure?” they can also use science as a means of delaying or stalling a certain change in practice • the basic nature of science there is skepticism we have continual dialogue anyone who wants to use science against their argument can use this dialogue to show that there is uncertainty and therefore we should not act this is compounded by the news media who seeks to present an unbiased point, thus they tend to report both sides of the debate in order to appear as being equal • the two edge sword: part of both the problem and solution limitations Capitalism - Part 1 • the essence of the capital system it starts w/demand and capital then a willingness to risk it can then produce significant return and generate more money when there is failure it weeds out those unsuccessful few it goes from a feudalist society to a capitalist and wealth-creating society • it is the ab
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