Contemplating a Science Court:

The past two decades have seen much discussion among legal and science professionals about the competence with which our elected officials decide upon public policy matters that have a scientific or technological dimension. A consensus seems to have formed that the present system of decision making is flawed, that policymakers lack the expertise to weigh complex technical data, and that scientific facts are too often mangled in the political arena, thus rendering rational decisions nearly imposs

Eugene Garfield
Feb 8, 1987
The past two decades have seen much discussion among legal and science professionals about the competence with which our elected officials decide upon public policy matters that have a scientific or technological dimension. A consensus seems to have formed that the present system of decision making is flawed, that policymakers lack the expertise to weigh complex technical data, and that scientific facts are too often mangled in the political arena, thus rendering rational decisions nearly impossible.

Arthur Kantrowitz has been an articulate proponent of creating a science court designed to improve such decision making. The court would weigh scientific data pertaining to an issue apart from its political and moral considerations. As a current example, the Reagan administration's SDI program is a controversial public policy issue with an obvious scientific and technological dimension. Just as clearly, it has political and moral dimensions. A science court might be asked to render...

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