Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking

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Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking

Format:  Paperback,

313 pages

Publisher: Paul & Co Pub Consortium

Publish Date: Feb 2003

ISBN-13: 9780817939328

ISBN-10: 0817939326

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.
In this book leading scientists share their experiences and observations of developing and testing hypotheses, offering insights on the dangers of manipulating science for political gain. It describes how politicization--whether by misapplication, overextension, or outright manipulation of the scientific record to advance particular policy agendas--imposes expenditures of money, missed opportunities, and burdens on the economy.


Publisher: Paul & Co Pub Consortium
Publish Date: Feb 2003
ISBN-13: 9780817939328
ISBN-10: 0817939326
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 313
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.2
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.0 x 8.75 x 0.75

Chapter outline

Forewordp. vii
Contributorsp. xi
Introduction: Science, Risks, and Politicsp. 1
Harmful Politicization of Sciencep. 27
The Corrosive Effects of Politicized Regulation of Science and Technologyp. 49
Science and Public Policyp. 73
Endocrine Disruptorsp. 91
Cancer Prevention and the Environmental Chemical Distractionp. 117
Nuclear Powerp. 143
Science or Political Science? An Assessment of the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Changep. 171
The Political Science of Agent Orange and Dioxinp. 193
Science and Politics in the Regulation of Chemicals in Swedenp. 227
How Precaution Kills: The Demise of DDT and the Resurgence of Malariap. 261
The Revelle-Gore Story: Attempted Political Suppression of Sciencep. 283
Indexp. 299

Book description

Politics and science make strange bedfellows. In politics, perceptions are reality and facts are negotiable. The competing interests, conflicting objectives, and trade-offs of political negotiations often lend themselves to bending the truth and selectively interpreting facts to shape outcomes. In science, facts are reality. This collection examines the conflicts that arise when politics and science converge.

In Politicizing Science: The Alchemy of Policymaking, eleven leading scientists describe the politicization--through misapplication or overemphasis of results that favor a political decision or through outright manipulation--of scientific findings and deliberations to advance policy agendas. They show how the consequences of politicization are inflicted on the public, including the diversion of money and research efforts from worthwhile scientific endeavors, the costs of unnecessary regulations, and the losses of useful products--while increased power and prestige flow to those who manipulate science.

The authors of three essays describe government diversions of scientific research and the interpretation of scientific findings away from where the evidence leads and toward directions deemed politically desirable. Three more contributions analyze the expensive and extensive efforts devoted to altering images of risk in order to establish linkages in the public's mind between deleterious human health effects and various areas of scientific research. Two essays examine the workings and results of consensus advisory panels and conclude that their recommendations are often based on far-from-certain science and driven by social and political dynamics that substitute group cohesion in favor of independent, critical thinking.

Authors of two essays describe the unfortunate results of application of the "precautionary principle," which generally requires proof of no risk before a new product is introduced or an existing product can be continued in use. A concluding essay describes the personal costs of opposing the politicization of science.

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