Alan Carlin: Why Pruitt’s decision to end EPA “Secret Science” is so important

Who needs secrecy when public bodies are making important decisions that directly affect people – except for things like personal data, national security etc.? Censorship arouses suspicion, so showing evidence does matter.

This week EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt banned the use of “secret science” in EPA regulatory decision making. The Washington Post immediately cried foul, of course, by arguing that this would mean that important evidence would be ignored.

I argue, on the contrary, that it is very important that only evidence that is confirmed by the scientific method should ever be used.

One of the requirements of the method is that the evidence be reproducible by others who were not the authors of the evidence. If it cannot be reproduced, the scientific method is of little use because it cannot be applied. And if not confirmed by the scientific method, the evidence is not science.

Administrator Pruitt has now banned one of many types of evidence that is not in accord with the scientific method. What the supporters of the use of “secret science” are doing is asking others to trust the authors of the evidence that will be ignored under Pruitt’s decision.

But what if those producing the “evidence” are cheating or have made a mistake? EPA’s regulations must be based on the best possible scientific evidence.

Allowing the possibility that the producers have deliberately or accidentally depended on “secret science” is simply unacceptable.

Continued here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

April 28, 2018 at 03:48AM

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