Playing Politics with Science: Balancing Scientific Independence and Government Oversight

Synopsis

In the last decade, science in the United States has become increasingly politicized, as government officials have been accused of manipulating, distorting, subverting, and censoring science for ideological purposes. Political gamesmanship has played a major role in many different areas of science, including the debate over global climate change, embryonic stem cell research, government funding of research, the FDA's approval process, military intelligence related to Iraq, research with human subjects, and the teaching of evolution in public schools.

In Playing Politics with Science, David B. Resnik explores the philosophical, political, and ethical issues related to the politicalization of science and develops a conceptual framework for thinking about government restrictions on scientific practice. Resnik argues that the public has a right and a duty to oversee scientific research to protect important social values and hold scientists accountable for their actions, but that inappropriate government control over science can erode the integrity and trustworthiness of research, hamper scientific creativity and innovation, undermine the fairness and effectiveness of government and policies informed by science, discourage talented researchers from working for the government, and violate the freedom of scientists.

Resnik also makes policy recommendations for protecting science from politicalization, and maintains that scientific autonomy and government control must be properly balanced so that restrictions on science can benefit society without undermining scientific research, education, and expert advice.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 2009