Science, Politics, and Trust.

Is opinion change viewed differently in science and politics? Why might that be?
Here are some thoughts
I thought I’d share.
If I dare.
Because I think
It should be said
That reactions to
Changes of opinion
In science and in politics
May differ.
Here goes:
Scientists may change their opinions
It’s acceptable.
It’s respectable
In science.
When new data emerge
More evidence may mount
To support
A new hypothesis.
But what of opinion change
In politics and policy?
It seems it can be frowned on,
Viewed suspiciously,
Even looked down on
In politics.
But as information evolves,
Evidence or other reasons may mount
to support a new policy
or opinion.
What then?
Unquestionable devotion
Is not a given.
Public support
Can be based on reasoning or emotion.
Past decisions should
Be understood.
Mistakes can even be forgiven.
It’s not a time to appear aloof
When people deserve the truth.
As a scientist I suggest
Evidence-based change is best.
But decisions may be needed
In times of uncertainty
When evidence is limited.
Where opinions change
Truth, reasons, and clarity
Are a must!
In science and in politics
Engagement is best earned
Through honesty and transparency,
That in turn will lead to trust.
                    ©Julie Charlesworth, 2023

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 03/01/23


(Thoughts are my own but inspired by several discussions at ESOF2022.)