I think I ladled in too much irony in my comment. What I meant was that an
attempt to use "ordinary people" in the service of corporate greed (namely
Monsanto et. al.'s attempts to stuff GM foods down the world's throats) had
already backfired, in that the "ordinary people", given a modest
introduction to the problem, had immediately seen that GM foods should be
labeled. Since this is the last thing Monsanto wants, I predict the program
will be canceled. I was (and here is where I concentrated too much irony)
praising the "ordinary people" for having gotten to heart of the matter
through their own study. (Actually, the article told us little about how
their research material was selected.)
I agree with Claudia that the NSF was forum-shopping, but the evidence is
that it's not going well. So I'm not rejecting the panels (at least not
without knowing more), I'm predicting the NSF is going to reject them for
failing to provide the desired service.
Also, I really was not trying to weigh in on any global issues like
incrementalism, but just for the record I work in an incrementalist
non-profit using tax money to make New York State more energy-efficient one
boiler at a time, and I feel good about it.
I guess I can now expect to hear from some true revolutionary.
Michael H Goldhaber wrote:
> I think Claudia and Dick are both quite wrong. Rather than just
> rejecting the panels in favor of some mythical "good government" and
> informed citizens, we must recognize, as I did in my 1986 book;
> "Reinventing Technology, Policies for Democratic Values", there are far
> too many issues for an informed citizenry to take part in all of them.
> Rather than being dismissed, Langdon's proposal neeeds refining. Panels
> need to be selected in a better way than who responds to newpaper ads,
> in such manner that they are broadly representative (see my book, if you
> can find it, for hints as to how) . They ought to have input early in
> the process of technological development, even helping decide its
> direction. The fact that juries should be more reperesentative (e.g.
> opponents to capital punishment in capital cases or those scientifically
> trained are now wrongfully excluded) doesn't mean we should abandon the
> jury system. Once refined, it deserves our support.
> Claudia and Dick are really saying in essence, "The system is corrupt so
> why pretend otherwise or even try to improve it incrementally. Comes the
> revolution, all will be well." And that is just nonsense.
> Michael H. Goldhaber
> [log in to unmask]
> Claudia Hemphill wrote:
> > Hear, hear.
> > I also enjoyed Langon Winner's fatuous hope that we can count on
> > panels of "ordinary, disinterested citizens, selected in much the way
> > that we now choose juries."
> > Start with that mythical creature "disinterested" -- a quality no more
> > achievable than is the "objectivity" of scientists. Let's see...
> > people no longer trust the government- and industry-controlled
> > scientists. Brilliant solution: instead, let's pick some people with
> > absolutely no science training at all. Having conceded science's
> > inability to be distinterested/ objective, it is proposed we proxy in
> > randomly picked people off the street, and assume that the erratic
> > manner of their recruitment is equivalent to independent thought. It
> > isn't. (Just to begin, let's recognize the impossibility of a food
> > consumer being disinterested in the safety of their food. And then ask
> > who's picking the "facts" they're given to read...)
> > As to the truly humorous premise that juries set a standard for
> > disinterested, intelligent decision-making, here's an example I noted
> > the other day:
> > "1994. J.E.B. v. Alabama. U.S. Supreme Court directs that peremptory
> > challenges not be used to exclude women from juries. 'When persons are
> > excluded from participation in our democratic processes solely because
> > of race or gender, this promise of equality [under the law] dims, and
> > the integrity of our judicial system is jeopardized.' Only in 1975
> > (Taylor v. Louisiana) had they found that women should be included in
> > juries; in 1961 they had continued to uphold state laws excluding
> > women, even while affirming that women were fully bound by jury
> > decisions."
> > Dick is right: this is pure forum-shopping. Increasingly questioned by
> > a rightly suspicious public, the overtly biased suggest we shift the
> > fictitious mantle of legitimacy to some faceless public panel whose
> > biases are less easily determined or disclosed. The funniest part of
> > this article is how clearly the wording discloses this! (Thanks for
> > posting it, Art!)
> > "The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong
> > enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong
> > enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over
> > its government." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt
> > Claudia Hemphill
> > environmental science program
> > University of Idaho
> > Richard Leigh wrote:
> >> This idea is going to sink without a ripple.
> >> First it's set up because "We don't want another backlash like the
> >> one over
> >> genetically modified foods". Then the first panel comes up with the
> >> preposterous suggestion that "the government tighten regulations for
> >> growing genetically modified foods and require the products to be
> >> labeled clearly".
> >> These non-expert volunteers are so not with the program!
> >> Best
> >> Dick Leigh
All the best,
Richard W. Leigh, P.E. Voice: 212-866-4458
415 Central Park West, 12C Fax: 253-660-4768
New York NY 10025 [log in to unmask]