Science and Public Policy

Science and Public Policy

The Virtuous Corruption of Virtual Environmental Science

Aynsley Kellow

This book is an examination of a neglected form of scientific corruption – corruption by political attachment to noble causes.

Preface

Aynsley Kellow

Subjects: environment, environmental politics and policy, environmental sociology, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy, public policy

Extract

The themes of this book reflect a career which started as an undergraduate in science and inevitably moved to the social sciences – anthropology and political science – and which also saw scholarship supplant and then slowly but surely replace environmental activism, an activism which saw me contest an election for the neo-Malthusian New Zealand Values Party, the first national ‘green’ party in the world. The inevitability of conservatism increasing with age aside, I would like to think that my basic values and desires for a decent environment have not changed, but my concern then, as now, was based upon the best possible scientific knowledge. I no longer think that is the case. A career that has alternated between posts in environmental studies departments and political science departments has led me to the conclusion that far too much – though not all – environmental science is shot through with values, and that far too many political science analyses rather naively take on trust the fact that this is not the case. This book was motivated by a belief that, collectively, we deserve better than that. In many ways, it is an homage to Jim Flynn, my professor at the University of Otago and supervisor (with Tony Wood) of my first piece of academic research. It is not just the quality of his teaching in political ethics, which included a detailed reading of Plato’s Parmenides (perhaps the ultimate example of subjecting one’s own work to sceptical scrutiny), but the research project that by...