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L 133 T hus far, I have argued that scientists, when making judgments in their work, have a moral responsibility to consider the consequences of error, including social and ethical consequences, a responsibility that cannot be readily shifted to other parties. If they have this responsibility, then the proper role for values in science is not captured by the value-free ideal, and a new ideal is needed. This ideal must protect the integrity of science while allowing scientists to meet their general responsibilities . I have presented such an ideal, centered on the practice of limiting all kinds of values to an indirect role when making judgments concerning the acceptability of data and theories. With this ideal for values in science, we can still maintain a robust understanding of objectivity, with multiple aspects available for assessing the objectivity of a claim. While these philosophical arguments may seem far from the practical realm of science in public policy, they hold some significant insights for how to understand the role of science in policymaking. In chapter 2, I described the rise of the scientific advisor in the United States. By the 1970s science advising had become a fully institutionalized aspect of the policy process. Although the place of the science advisor had become secure, there was an intensification of debate over which science was sufficiently reliable for policy decisions. The reality of dueling experts undermined the idea that more science in policy would make the policy process more rational and thus less contentious. Instead, science seemed to make the process more Chapter 7 The Integrity of Science in the Policy Process Douglas text.indd 133 4/16/09 2:47:16 PM 134 • the integrity of science in the policy process contentious and protracted, adding another focal point over which opposing interests could fight. As the disputes became more public and apparently more intractable, there were attempts to impose order on the process of using science to inform policy by creating a more procedural approach to the use of science. These efforts were aimed at carefully defining the place of science in the policymaking process, with an eye toward addressing three concerns: (1) to generate uniformity in the judgments needed to assess the import of the available science, (2) to protect the integrity of science from politicization, and (3) to ensure democratic accountability in policymaking. These issues are serious concerns, and ones that the value-free ideal seemed to help meet. However, a more nuanced understanding of scientific judgment, including the pervasive need for social and ethical values, requires a change in the norms for science in the policy process. Adherence to the value-free ideal has structured our understanding of science in the policy process, including what it means to protect the integrity of science in that process. Science with integrity is usually considered science that has maintained complete disentanglement from social or ethical values. This, I will suggest, is a mistake. We must tread carefully, however, and not neglect important sciencepolicy considerations in addition to concern over scientific integrity. In particular , there are the concerns over maintaining the proper locus for decisionmaking authority in the policy realm. These concerns arise because the ultimate source of political authority for any democratic government is the citizenry. In the United States, the agencies that generate regulations do so by virtue of legislative authority from Congress, and are accountable to Congress for their regulatory decisions. Congress in turn represents the people of the United States, who hold their representatives to Congress to account on election day for their legislative actions (at least in the ideal). The agencies that write regulatory rules do so to implement the laws crafted by Congress. Thus, the federal agencies are legally responsible for final decisions (“rule-makings”) at the regulatory level, and agencies are held accountable by Congress through public hearings and budget appropriations (Fiorino 1995, 67–70). Because of the need for a line of accountability, final regulatory decisions cannot be made by scientists brought in to advise the agency; usually they are made by politically appointed officials within the agency that can then be held accountable by elected officials. The holding of decisionmaking authority by the appointed official means that the scientific input can be only advice. Douglas text.indd 134 4/16/09 2:47:16 PM the integrity of science in the policy process • 135 Yet it is extremely difficult for agency officials to ignore such advice. Science has an important epistemic authority in society...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780822973577
Related ISBN
9780822960263
MARC Record
OCLC
794702159
Pages
224
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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