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Disagreement, Consensus, and Moral Integrity

The Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments experienced some disagreements among its members in the course of its work. An epistemological controversy over the nature and degree of evidence required to draw ethical conclusions pervaded the committee's deliberations. Other disagreements involved the proper role of a governmental advisory committee and the question of when it is appropriate to notify people that they were unknowing subjects of radiation experiments. In the end, the Committee was able to reach consensus on almost all of its findings and recommendations through a process that preserved the integrity of its members.

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