Science and Government, are they compatible?
The overwhelming answer from the media last week was no they are not. This story interests me because it so closely mirrors the friction between religion and science in that we have "reality" pitted against vested interest. Alan Johnson is no more willing to look "soft on drugs" than the Pope is willing to look "soft on contraception" it's not reality or evidence that is the issue it's "face". This dispute goes to the core of the difference between the reality based constituents and the wish thinkers, the scientific method is designed to deliver the truth (or at least the closest we can get), a description of reality that conforms to the data we see, it can help inform our decisions but more often than not shows that our intuition is wrong, however it does not provide a moral framework nor can be relied upon to provide the answers that we wish for, if you want to know which policy best supports your majority, don't ask a scientist!
We have a slightly flippant but never the less accurate truism in the software business, we say something like "if you don't know how to handle a condition, don't test for it"; Alan Johnson is clearly not a stupid man, he must appreciate the distinction between reality and desire, he has declared himself to be an Atheist so I can't pin the old faith based logic shuffle on him, so I am left wondering, why ask a question when you already know the answer?