Are we experiencing a crisis in scientific authority?
Judging from recent headlines - about melting glaciers, the resurgence of the debate over Andrew Wakefield and MMR, GM food or the sacking of the Government's chief drugs adviser - you could be forgiven for thinking that public trust in science was in a state of crisis.
Well, not according to Lord Krebs, who argues that the recent hiatus in the press has more to do with a misunderstanding about what science can offer society than any underlying philosophical dysfunction.
The former chairman of the Food Standards Agency is the keynote speaker at a two-day conference on "Handling Uncertainty in Science" being organised by the Royal Society.
"The ambiguities of science," he says, "sit uncomfortably with the demands of politics and the need for certainty in decision making".
The problem is that scientists are often called upon - as if they were authority figures with some special inside knowledge of ultimate truth - to pronounce on issues where there may be huge uncertainties about the risks involved. While science may be the best way to come to a better understanding of these difficult questions, it doesn't have all the answers.
In the real world, Lord Krebs argues, issues that involve uncertainty or questions of risk are rarely black and white. What might appear to one person like a sensible precaution in the face of climate change or an outbreak of an infectious disease, might to another seem like a gross over reaction.
What's needed, Lord Krebs says, is more maturity - both from scientists in terms of explaining the issues, and from politicians and the public when it comes to interpreting the evidence.
There's a role here for the media too. All too often the press focuses on the most controversial aspects of a problem, presenting issues in terms of the confrontation between opposing views.
In the case of MMR, Lord Krebs argues, the issues were presented as evenly divided between Andrew Wakefield on the one hand and the medical establishment on the other.
In fact he was "a solitary, rogue individual with a story that had no scientific basis whatsoever, and I think that was a very misleading representation".
So no crisis in the authority of science, but a call for more honesty and maturity when it comes to interpreting its results and making decisions based on uncertainty and risk.