OK, I stopped my last blog half-way through my train of thought. I'm trying to get to the tricky area of science in policy and practice - where it gets messy. I'm coming at this from my work on implementation of science and quality improvement.
These areas of applied science and also multidisciplinary science have to make different claims to validity or 'truth' compared to normal science, which primarily attempts to be objective. So, in my view applied science or implementation takes some evidence-based theory and it gets mixed with policy framework, economic or market pressures. In public health this mixing should be led by general principles which guide these decisions, such as precautionary principle. My concern is that some discourses such as anti-lockdown, anti-vax etc may contain a grain of evidence-based theory but it is mixed in a different set of values such as market principles, which may lead to solutions which appear morally questionable, such as exacerbating generational divisions (eg locking older and vulnerable people away, whilst supposedly economically active, younger people can go shopping etc).
Now, I'm not sure whether anyone would identify with the discourse that I've outlined, or whether I have caricatured a set of media-represented messages... but my impression of post-normal science is that it takes quite a different set of values or principles as foundation to offer quite a different interpretation of the same data/observations. I also wonder whether post-normal science is a discourse that is pre-empting a Kuhn-ian revolution. That is, with a different set of values the data has different meaning, and hence different recommendations. For me, a key way to progress debates would be to have transparency about assumptions, and also better communication of key aims rather than media-friendly soundbites "herd immunity", "zero-covid" etc