The scientist may admit, but if honestly hewing to process rather than answer will at least discover, that all science ever does for certain is eliminate answers and refine questions. In a winner take all match with parties that wield certain truth before a market that wants certain truth, the scientist taking care to have the tentativeness of a scientific finding captured in the sound bite will mostly lose.
It is not just a problem of inconclusive sounding questions pitted against alluringly simple twaddle and politically acceptable religious cant. It is a failure to equip voters with the awareness that a good question tells you more about the world than a simple answer. That audience needs an education that leaves it able to function when asked to make its decisions on "the preponderance of evidence" or the "best theory we have" rather than falling for one-sentence offers of "truth".
A list of the issues where the science has better claim to guide us than any other source is long with some items absolutely critical to human survival. It would have to include global warming, the need to eliminate toxic byproducts of industry entering the environment, the imbalance of human population with its dwindling resources, vaccinations etc, a long and vital list. I blog this generalization because the disadvantage of the scientific point of view is turning up frequently as I think through various posts I am drafting. It is a meta-problem to so many other problems and one to be tackled explicitly if we are going to make progress in any of those vital debates.
UPDATE: I found this great quote from a scientist the Bushies tried to muzzle for his sounding the alarms loud and early regarding global warming: Hansen is interviewed in MIT's Tech Review
He often employs a favorite quote from the late physicist Richard Feynman to explain his approach: "The only way to have real success in science ... is to describe the evidence very carefully without regard to the way you feel it should be. If you have a theory, you must try to explain what's good about it and what's bad about it equally. In science you learn a kind of standard integrity and honesty." Hansen invariably points out the shortcomings in his own arguments. When another scientist presents only the points that support his conclusion, Hansen will chide him for acting "like a lawyer."