Saturday, 31 October 2009

Science V Politics


Professor David Nutt, from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, has been sacked by Home Secretary, Alan Johnson, for complaining about the way that the cabinet ignored the scientific evidence in coming to their conclusion to re-classify cannabis as a Class B drug. What I find sad about this is that what could have been a useful debate, based on scientific facts, moral judgment and social imperatives has descended into the politicians wielding their power and slapping down the scientific officer who, it seems, feels honour bound to express the evidential truth. It seems to me that democracy has been broken when the powers that be try to hide the truth!
Of course, the scientific evidence isn't the be all and end all of debate. It may even be interpreted in different ways (though I don't think that is the case here). And there are many other factors that effect drugs law: for example the ability of the police to test for driving under the influence; income streams that boost organised crime; the slippery slope towards harder drugs; and the message that smoking cannabis is not good for your health.
Interactive Democracy - or any debate - is best served by the truth. The scientists have a very valuable contribution to make and anything that discourages their honourable efforts, stifles democracy its self.

3 comments:

Eggy1943 said...

Prohibition never worked for alcohol and is has proven not to work with cannabis and other drugs.
Research reveals cannabis kills some forms of cancer. Cannabis has many other medical uses. It should be liscensed and sold by liscensed distributers which would allow control. Liscensing would end the "illegal trade" and the preent warloard clashes. There is no evidence that use of cannabis leads to other drug use. Those who pursue other drugs would have done so.

Anonymous said...

The BBC reports that two of Prof. Nutt's colleagues have resigned in protest over the sacking!

Anonymous said...

It seems that the government don't want truth to mess with their political message!