IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Science and Its Discontents: An Evolutionary Tale

  • Donald Kennedy
Registered author(s):

    This paper analyzes the roots and implications of conflict between the conduct of science and government predilections in the United States, including the security state and neoconservative control of Washington. Three major conflicts are discussed: the emergence of new security and secrecy regimes that seek control of science; religiously derived moral viewpoints that seek to limit scientific research; and the purposeful shaping and censoring of scientific findings for political gain. All three policy issues, argues the author, have their roots in a growing public mistrust of science and its purposes, but also the actions of the current presidential administration. What is needed, he states, is a set of rules rooted in several common understandings or rules. First, policies resting on scientific or technological issues, like all public policies, are decided in the end not just by experts but by a variety of people and interests. Second, objective scientific results, tested by repeated efforts at confirmation, are necessary (though not sufficient) elements in such policy decisions. Third, if the scientists responsible for those findings are controlled or silenced by particular policy interests, or committed in advance to any particular category of policy outcome, the resulting decisions are likely to be wrong. If adopted in advance of the installation of the next administration, or at the outset, such a set of rules could be seen a forward-looking improvement in governance, rather than as yet another criticism of what has been going on in this one.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Center for Studies in Higher Education, UC Berkeley in its series University of California at Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education with number qt6bx4j66h.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 22 May 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt6bx4j66h
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:cshedu:qt6bx4j66h. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.