I was very dopey this morning, and clicked on the news pages while I drank my coffee and began to engage with the world. There were a number of headlines about Dominic Cummings attending SAGE meetings. I don’t like Cummings, I feel his influence is malign, he overestimates his intelligence, underestimates everyone else’s and I agree he should not be attending these meetings which are for scientists who are eminent in their field and which give independent advice. Whether we like it or not, the Prime Minister’s chief advisor’s presence will have affected the quality of the meeting. It is not his lack of scientific knowledge I object to if he was a silent observer, but the fact that he and a data scientist were present suddenly polticises something which should not be political.
For all I know, Cummings is a closet science nerd. I don’t agree with headlines that scream he shouldn’t be there because he’s a historian. Believe it or not there are people who are knowledgeable in a number of fields. You don’t necessarily have to be a polymath to have a valid point of view about something in which you have no official, academic qualification. I get very cross when say Emma Thompson speaks out about climate crisis and people shout her down on the grounds that she’s an actor and say she should stick to that. When I started teaching several millennia ago, I was amazed by children aged eleven who would tell me I knew nothing about maths/history/geography(that was in fact true)/art etc because I was a French teacher. Apart from the very obvious fact that French is a language and you use language for everything, even maths/history/geography/art etc, it seemed to presume my whole education had only been about learning regular and irregular French verbs, verbs which took whichever preposition and useful phrases at the post office. Er, no.
So I reserve judgement on Mr Cummings’ scientific knowledge. He just should not have been at the meetings.
On lighter things: I have been slowly working on a new (to me) jigsaw. MasterN]B has ‘helped”.Continue reading