Facts and fluff

August 29, 2003

Alice Farrands uses questions about Iraqi weapons to argue not that scientists can easily be caught in the political crossfire, but that "their ostensibly technical advice is inflected by their own world view and vested interests" ("It's just politics in a lab coat", THES , August 22).

Either Iraq had usable chemical and biological weapons or it did not. Such weapons either could or could not be deployed in 45 minutes.

What we need is not "a sea change in a culture that extols the neutrality of science" but a rejection of woolly minded relativism unwilling to distinguish facts from fluff.

David Voas
University of Sheffield

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