The Canadian Unitarian: Let Scientists speak

 

Newsletter of the Canadian Unitarian Council, Vol. 53, No. 2, Summer 2011

­­One of the core principles promoted by congregations of the CUC is a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” This is key to realizing the other principles, such as promoting “the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process…”, “the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all”, and “respect for the interdependent web of all existence…” To make the search for truth and meaning effective, especially for such important issues as the preservation of our environment, biodiversity, and climate change, the public requires access to the best and latest results of scientific inquiry. […]

It used to be that government scientists were encouraged to share their results with the public, and journalists could simply call the scientists for clarification and elaboration. Furthermore, the 15 journals of the National Research Council would issue regular press releases about results of interest or concern to the public. However, that has all changed during the past three years, according to articles on the CBC News’ website and in several newspapers.

In 2008, new government rules required that press releases have prior approval of the Privy Council, and Carolyn Brown, the former manager of NRC journals, reported that when submitted for approval, her routine press releases were being rejected or delayed by months, so as to become useless. […]

[…] as reported in The Globe and Mail (February 2, 2011), water expert Prof. Helen Ingram resigned from the Alberta oil-sands panel that was formed to monitor environmental concerns, partially because there were so few scientists on the panel but also because all communications from the panel had to pass through, and be cleared by, the office of Environment Minister Rob Renner…