Campus Units

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Debating Science: Deliberation, Values, and the Common Good

First Page


Last Page



Calls to regulate or restrict scientific research are often a matter of politics, and public desire to regulate science may have its source in several different underlying interests: on one side, people may be motivated by an interest to control risks, prevent harms, or limit access to powerful or dangerous technologies. These interests are easy to understand, and often provide entirely appropriate and creditable grounds for regulation. In a darker vein, people may be motivated by more general mistrust of science, or by moral or religious disapproval of some kinds of research. While these motives may be easy to understand, clearly they should be resisted. But if researchers hope to avoid inappropriate regulations, we need to be prepared to explain our research to the public. And when research is funded by tax dollars, it is especially important that scientists should be able to justify its benefit to taxpayers and legislators.


From Debating Science: Deliberation, Values, and the Common Good, edited by Dane Scott and Blake Francis (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books, 2012), pp. 83–99. Copyright © 2012 by Dane Scott and Blake Francis. All rights reserved.

Copyright Owner

Scott, et al.



File Format