This is for the most part an excellent article, especially the proposals
for a rational screening of new technologies. Still, I have two quibbles.
>>THE USES OF SCIENTIFIC UNCERTAINTY
>All risk assessments are fiction, shot
>through with assumptions, guesstimates, judgments, and biases --
>all disguised disingenuously as "good science." The only thing
>that allows risk assessors to hold their heads up in public is
>that most people don't have the faintest idea what risk assessors
>do for a living or the consequences their work entails.
>The principle of precautionary action, on the other hand,
>embodies all aspects of science -- including uncertainty -- in an
>ethical procedure aimed at ELIMINATING risks (something no risk
>assessment has ever aimed to do).
This really isn't consistent with the proposals. Montgomery listed a set of
steps to make a much improved, less biased risk/benefit analysis. To then
claim that all risk analysis is worthless doesn't make sense. Worse, to
claim that there's some way of both acknowledging the uncertainties of
science and still to ELIMINATE risk is a utopian caricature of the point he
had previously made.
Finally, I don't think anyone will be reassured by the following suggested
risk elimination procedure:
> When flying blind, if you are not sure
>whether that shape looming just ahead is a cloud or a mountain,
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