Ortwin Renn has identified a significant problem for policy makers:
We live in a pluralist society with different value systems and worldviews.
Who can legitimately claim the right to select the values or preferences that
should guide collective decision making, in particular when the health and
lives of humans are at stake?1
The preceding two chapters make Renn’s concerns appear all the more significant. Chapter 3 shows that significant value judgments are present not only in public-policy decisions themselves but also in the scientific research that informs those decisions. Chapter 4 provides evidence that these judgments are all too often guided by deep pockets that have large amounts of money at stake in the outcomes of scientific work. In order to prevent these interest groups from having inordinate effects on academic science, the chapter proposes several responses.
One of the suggestions in chapter 4 is to develop appropriate, broadly based deliberative bodies. These forums would provide avenues for multiple stakeholders to influence the value judgments associated with research. We have already seen that Sheila Jasanoff makes a very similar suggestion. She argues that effectively incorporating science in democratic decision making requires more than just a narrow focus on the body of scientific knowledge.2 It is also important to have effective deliberative bodies that can influence the collection, interpretation, and application of scientific findings.
The present chapter develops these ideas in more detail. It begins with an overview of previous scholarship on deliberation and public participation in science and technology policy. Drawing on this background, it
1. Renn, “Model for an Analytic-deliberative Process.”
2. See Jasanoff, “Judgment under Siege.” For more discussion of the three “bodies” that contribute to the successful integration of science with politics, see the introductory chapter of this book.