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by: Ms. Bart Lind
Ms. Bart Lind
GPA 3.86


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Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ms. Bart Lind on Wednesday September 9, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to QERM 597 at University of Washington taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see /class/192198/qerm-597-university-of-washington in Quantitative Ecology And Resource Management at University of Washington.




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Date Created: 09/09/15
Normative Science1 Robert T Lackey2 National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory US Environmental Protection Agency Corvallis Oregon 97333 lackeyrobert epagov 5 41 75 44607 ll Citation Lackey Robert T 2004 Normativerscience Hitheres 2973839 Available on the web httporegonstateedulackeyrRecentOOZOPUblicationshtml Synopsis of a talk presented at the Symposium Science in the Public Arena The How and Why of Scientific Decision Malting at the Annual Meeting of the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society Salt Lake City Utah February 29 March 4 2004 The views and comments presented are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of an y organization 2 Dr Lackey senior fisheries biologist is with the US Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis Oregon lackey robertepagov 5 4 7544607 He is also courtesy professor of fisheries science and adjunct professor of political science at Oregon State University I am concerned that we are heading down a path in fisheries science that risks marginalizing science if not much of our scientific enterprise Many of us who provide scientific information to decisionmakers and the public should become more vigilant more precise more demanding and more rigorous in distinguishing between policy neutral and policyinculcafed scientific information Let me be explicit about two key points concerning the role of scientists in fisheries policy First fisheries scientists should contribute to policy analysis Not only is it the right thing to do we are obligated to do so I do not hold with the notion that it is sufficient for scientists to publish their findings solely as scholarly reports Second when scientists contribute to policy analysis they need to exercise great care to play an appropriate and clearly defined role Here is where the interface between science and policy gets muddled for many fisheries scientists Exactly what is an appropriate role and how do we tell when we are off track Our role is not described adequately under the current rubric of providing the socalled best available science Further scientists are often asked to contribute to help resolve fisheries policy issues that are unfolding amidst a complex volatile mix of clashing values differing preferences and opposing often mutually exclusive societal priorities These days one commonly asserted imperfection in the sciencepolicy interface is that some socalled science is imbued with policy preferences Such science may be labeled as normative and it is potentially an insidious kind of scientific corruption By normative science I mean information that is developed presented or interpreted based on an assumed usualy unsfafed preference for a patTicuar policy or class of policy choices In some forms normative science is not obviously normative to policy makers or even to many scientists Such science has become a serious problem I believe that use of normative science is stealth policy advocacy Science of course is not valuefree because it is a human enterprise but this fact does not make all science normative Policyneutral science is a way of learning about the world and it is characterized by transparency reproducibility and independence Consider the simple but fundamental difference between scientific is and the policy ought Science deals with the is world and the was and will be states of the world as does the policy world but the policy world also deals with the oughts n u and shoulds Science is or should be bounded in the 5 world Let me be specific with an example many dams have a considerable effect on salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest One oftdebated option to help restore salmon runs is to breach dams Scientists can assess at least with a degree of confidence the likely effects of removing or preserving a particular dam or set of dams but there is no scientific imperative to remove or maintain any dam for any ecological reason including salmon recovery Of course there are ecological consequences of each policy option and those consequences may even be catastrophic from a salmon perspective but ecological consequences are simply one element that the public and decisionmakers must weigh in making a policy choice Understanding different ecological outcomes is what the public and decision makers need from scientists as they weigh policy alternatives not our personal opinions on which policy option they ought to choose How should scientists explain to the public and decision makers the relevant scientific information pertaining to the likely effects of dam construction or removal There are obviously many ecological changes that will take place but what words should be used What point of ecological reference should be used if any Should benchmarks of any kind be used Often I hear or read words like degradation Or words like improvement Or good or poor Do not use these in conveying scientific information Using such words implies a preferred ecological state a desired condition a benchmark a preferred class of policy options This is not science it is policy advocacy Subtle perhaps unintentional but still policy advocacy The appropriate science words are ones such as alteration or change or increase or decrease These words describe the scientific information in ways that are policyneutral In short they convey no policy preference and convey science in a policyneutral manner Be clear be candid be brutally frank but be policyneutral Conversely normative science by its very nature conveys an implied policy preference Often among some fisheries scientists the implicit policy preference is that unaltered ecosystems are inherently good or at least preferable to altered ecosystems Unstated but implied the less altered the better But science leads us to no preferred state nor to any inherently good condition In short there is no scientific imperative for adopting any policy option How widespread is normative science in fisheries science It is prevalent and insidious How often do you hear biological diversity measured solely based on native species Usually Except for someone doing truly basic research the decision to include or exclude exotic species is a policy choice not a choice for scientists to make That is not to say the native species and exotic species are interchangeable they are not but neither native species nor exotic species are inherently preferable in a scientific sense What about professional societies and other organizations that assert that biological diversity is inherently good Biological diversity might well be inherently important in understanding ecosystem structure and function but you must invoke a value judgment to define biological diversity as inherently good or that high biodiversity is preferable policywise to low biodiversity What about the widespread use of ecosystem health Normative sciencel Ecosystem health is a valuedriven policy construct but it is often passed off as science to unsuspecting policy makers and the public Sometimes scientists who employ the notion of ecosystem health will hide behind a cloak of scholarly deniability We analyzed the data using a precise definition of ecosystem health but others misused or misinterpreted the results We cannot be responsible for how others use the results Think what the average recipient of scientific information actually hearswhen data or assessments are packaged or presented under the rubric of ecosystem health Healthy is good One person s damaged ecosystem is another person s improved ecosystem A healthy ecosystem can be either a malarial infested swamp or the same land converted to an intensively managed rice paddy Neither condition can be seen as healthy except through the lens of an individual s values and policy preferences Should a healthy ecosystem be defined as the ecological state that existed at the beginning of the Holocene just prior to 1492 or at the end of last week The answer is a value judgment a policy choice the product of political deliberations not a scientific decision Certainly scientists should assess the feasibility and ecological consequences of achieving each possible policy or management goal but the choice is a societal one Politically from what I observe the use of normative science cuts across the ideological spectrum It seems no less common on the political Left or the Right nor from the Greens nor from the Libertarians Fair or not it is true that scientists at least as perceived by many people are just another political advocacy group arguing for or against ratifying Kyoto the Biodiversity Convention or arguing in favor of or against marine protected areas Just another political advocacy group signing petitions to remove or preserve a particular salmon killing dam and all for reasons that sound like science read like science are presented by people who cloak themselves in the accouterments of science but who are actually offering nothing but policy or political advocacy masquerading as science We should develop within our profession a clear understanding of the interface between science and policy as well as an understanding of the appropriate roles for science scientists and public and personal values and policy preferences To policy makers I say be alert Scientific information is too important to the successful resolution of important divisive and controversial fisheries issues to allow some scientists to marginalize science through its misuse Do not allow the overzealous among us to corrupt the entire scientific enterprise To scientists I say get involved Play the proper role the appropriate role but know and announce when you have stepped out of a scientific role and into the role of political advocate Science has much to offer but also has much to lose by doing otherwise Abstract Effectivey resoving the typica fisheries poicy issue requires providing an array of scientific information to decisionmakers in my experience the abiity of scientists and scienti c information to constructivey inform fisheries poicy deliberations has been diminished when what is offered as quotsciencequot is incucated with poicy preferences As with a human activity the scientific enterprise is not free of vaues nor is it objectivey independent but vaues re ected in subte form as poicy preferences shoud not be permitted to prey39udice scientific information Scientific information becomes quotnormativequot when it contains tacit poicy preferences and thus by extension promotes particuar poicy options There are many exampes of normative science corrupting the deveopment of sound fisheries poicy by operating under the guise of poicy neutra science in fact with its tacity derived vaue and preference character normative science provides itte substantive hep in recon ciing the most divisive eemen ts of fisheries poicy n my opinion scientists shoud pay the important roe of informing fisheries poicy discussions with unbiased understandabe scientific information assessments and forecasts For deveoping sound fisheries poicy science is important hepfu even essentiai but invovement with poicy issues by a naive scientist can ead to oss of credibiity and perceived independence uness the proper roes of both science and poicy are understood and foowed Author s Biography Dr Robert 7 Lackey senior fisheries bioogist at the US L nvironmenta Protection Agency s research aboratory in Corvalis Oregon is aso courtesy professor of fisheries science and adjunct professor of poitica science at Oregon State University Since his first fisheries job 40 years ago mucking out raceways in a Sierra Nevada trout hatchery he has deat with a range of natura resource issues from positions in a and academia His p 39 work has in voved a areas of natura resource management and the interface between science and pubic poicy He has written 7 00 scien tific and technicajourna artices His current professiona focus is providing poicyreevant science to hep inform ongoing samon poicy discussions Dr Lackey aso has ong been active in natura resources education having taught at five North American universities He continues to reguary teach a graduate course in ecoogica poicy at Oregon State University and was a 79992000 Fubrght Schoar at the University of Northern British Coumbia A Canadian by birth Dr Lackey hods a Doctor of Phiosophy degree in Fisheries and LYidIfe Science from Coorado State University where he was seected as the 200 Honored Aumnus from the Coiege of Natura Resources He is a Certi ed Fisheries Scientist and a Feiow in the American institute of Fishery Research Bioogists fltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltfltflt


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