The Conscience Clause: Keeping the Independent Scientist Extant

By Henri-Philippe Sambuc and Frédéric Piguet

The few scientists who have had the courage to oppose their employers' silence regarding the harmful effects of products related, for instance, to food, public health, or the environment, have generally seen their lives destroyed. Defamation campaigns, threats, legal actions, and various pressures have made their careers, family lives, and health miserable.

Science is a complex intellectual exercise based, most notably, on individual freedom and free will. Only other scientists can assess the intellectual findings of their limited group of peers who are capable of understanding a given issue. Thus, scientists represent a special, tight-knit community within society, a self-appointed group whose work is scrutinized by peers and made public by recognized scientific publishers. The modern legacy of science and its legitimacy is mainly the result of the following basic premise: Scientists are responsible people because...

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