The lecture and readings on post-normal science were interesting but hard to fully digest and comprehend its meaning and proper application. As stated applying post-normal science is advisable when addressing issues that are laced with uncertainty and the stakes are high. From what I gather PNS aims to transgress decision-making approaches by involving stakeholders, integrating professionals from different disciplines and also to address uncertainties. When addressing uncertainties the key question here is whether scientists should communicate their uncertainties with decision makers and let decision makers decide on how to deal with these uncertainties or should scientists instead give in to the demand often expressed by decision makers and offer ‘certainties’, in the form of the ‘best available scientific information’? Personally, I agree with this press for a higher demand for the communication of uncertainty in the scientific literature.
One interesting story I came across in my investigation of PNS was how the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) have progressively sought to integrate a PNS approach in their practices. The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency) is a Dutchresearch institute that advises the Dutch government on environmental policy and regional planning issues. It is one of three applied policy research institutes of the Dutch government (the agency calls itself publicly a “bridge” between science and policy). The progressive integration of a PNS approach is reflected in two key projects as detailed in the article attached below (source 1). The PBL was criticised with not integrating enough post-normal science, as seen in the ‘First Sustainability Outlook’ project, however, it is not clear how much further the agency could go without losing some of its credibility in the policy domain (based on the image of “normal science”). The initial struggle I had to properly grapple with comprehending the true application of PNS is because the concept is inherently complicated and at times laced with paradoxes. Throughout my studies I will continue to investigate PNS and try to make further meaning of how it could be applied in different contexts.
One interesting story I came across in my investigation of the application of PNS was an opinion article written by Dr. Hans de Kwaadsteniet in 1999. Essentially, Kwaadsteniet (working for the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)) at the time, went against his agency by publishing documents which criticised the over-reliance of computer simulation and modelling in making decisions, which had been adopted by the PBL. The ensuing media debate resulted in the affair reaching the Dutch Parliament within a number of days. As a result the PBL was granted funds to increase its monitoring of uncertainty as well as an incentive to push to integrate PNS in its