May 23, 2007

Scientific Policy

Posted in policy, science at 5:15 pm by saracallow

I have spent the last semester in school doing an independent study focused on policymaking in highly technical and scientific areas.  It has been a great learning experience.  I wrote the following paper for the culminating project – It basically just sumarizes my learnings.  If you’re interested in learning more about this type of policy making….  read on… if not, don’t worry… it’s a bit long for a blog!

As a citizen, we need only listen to the latest sound bite in the news regarding stem cell research, or overhear a bit of the global warming debate to understand the complexity and importance of science in policy making. Highly scientific and technical issues comprise a large share of the political debate in our country today. What regulations are necessary in genetically modified foods? How do we achieve a balance between economic interests and clean air or water? Is it possible to navigate the public storms surrounding regulation of the internet, carbon dioxide, or embryonic stems cells and arrive at some policy position which most of us can respect, if not necessarily agree with? There are many difficulties inherent to policy making in highly scientific and technical areas. Several academics have discussed these difficulties, and some have even offered suggestions for improving the policy-making process. This paper hopes to give a brief summary and explanation of some of the challenges inherent to policy making in highly technical and scientific areas and to review the proposed suggestions for improving the process.  In addition, it aims to pinpoint some key learnings focused on incorporating and balancing scientific truth with the demands of democracy.

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