Katrina: Did Scientists Not Do Enough?

Mike Dunford at The Questionable Authority has an intriguing post concerning blame for the lack of preparedness in dealing with Hurricane Katrina. Where many people are now attempting to single out some handy scapegoat for blame, Dunford argues that we should distribute the blame instead, and that one of the groups that must take a share of the responsibility are scientists in general.

Scientists did not do enough, Dunford argues, to press the case that the available data plainly made concerning the vulnerability of the Louisiana coast to damage from storms. Faced with recalcitrant politicians of every affiliation, the few scientists who did take a stand given that their expertise was directly relevant to the issue were not joined and backed up by the remainder of the scientific community. Dunford’s post is a call to scientists to get involved in the political process to assure that whenever a scientific finding is clearly at odds with some non-reality-based policy, that the entire scientific community helps press the case for application of scientific knowledge to the public benefit.

My friend Dave Horn is helping out on the ground in the disaster area. Most of us have no business taking up space there, so we can do things like donate to the Red Cross instead.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.