Project Manager – Mark Notturno
Americans have long regarded science as a model of objective open inquiry. We have long relied upon science and scientists to ‘speak truth to power’. And we have long appealed to scientists and scientific knowledge to inform public policy decisions in a wide variety of areas that concern us. But science itself might also be regarded as appropriate for public discussion. This is because scientific theories can often be difficult to understand; because the evidence that supports them can often be difficult to interpret; because scientific knowledge changes with new discoveries and cannot be shown to be true in any absolute or final way; and because citizens and policymakers are often called upon to trust scientists about matters that they do not really understand. But it is also because scientific inquiry often seems to be influenced in questionable ways by a variety of non-scientific factors. These are some of the issues addressed by this project.
With the support of IF, two panels met in Washington DC on a monthly basis from August 2005 through February 2007 to explore and develop contrasting conceptual possibilities for public policy pertaining to science. One panel consisted of interested citizens, the other of citizens who work as scientists or with science in their professional lives. The panelists’ sanctuary discussions explored and developed contrasting conceptual possibilities of public policy for science.
The resulting Discussion Report describes eight contrasting conceptual possibilities for public policy pertaining to science that our panelists explored, developed, articulated, and tested during the course of their discussions. It also describes the panelists’ governance concerns about science; their thoughts about the actions that might be taken to implement the conceptual possibilities that they developed; and their thoughts about the effects that those actions might have upon individuals, groups, institutions, and society at large.
You can download a copy of this report from our “Discussion Reports” page, which lists all of our published reports, or, to download a copy directly, you can either click on the blue pdf button in the sidebar to the right or on the following link: Science (28 pages/426 KB).