Memorandum submitted by Geoffrey H Sherrington
This is a general submission from an Australian
scientist (chemist) with long experience in the philosophy of
There are four guidelines which might prove
to be useful to the Committee when evaluating the submissions
of others. The Terms of Reference are not addressed in sequence
herein because they are specific to Great Britain and its citizens.
1. Cast a critical eye over submissions built
around the so-called "Precautionary Principle". In many
cases, those invoking this method (which has not achieved the
status of a Principle) have not finished their research and are
seeking more time. It is rare to find a historical case of successful
use of this method. Many of the claims of success are routine,
like medical prophylaxis. Particularly, there are few examples
where this method hasor would haveovercome response
time issues in emergencies.
2. Beware of submissions that seek continuation
of research funding, or seek large new grants. The idea is to
deliver the goods, not to maintain employment.
3. Do not downplay submissions made by non-University
or non-Government research organisations. Industry is often ahead
of the pace, as evidenced by readiness of some to brand its work
as "tainted" or "self-serving".
4. Do not try to pick winners too quicklyavoid
choosing if you can. Consider the relevance of the Nobel Prize
awards to Australians Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren for their
work on the cause and cure of ulcers.
Please pardon the direct wording of this submission.
The last decade has seen a rise in scientific obfuscation, to
the detriment of all.
Geoffrey H Sherrington