In general, I think that scientific research needs to be used more in policy evaluation. However, transferring decision-making authority to scientists is, I believe, inappropriate. We scientists need to remember that policy formation is a political process and should not be anything else. It is through debate, discussion, and negotiation among the public at large that policies that affect the public at large should be chosen. Rather than seeking positions of power that avoid the dirty business of politics, scientists should become active participants in the political process.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and Environmental Protection Agency are coming under ever greater attack for approving genetically modified organisms, approvals which for the most part have been rigorously evaluated. Increasing the authority of the scientific argument may result in more research dollars in the short run, but over the long run it is likely to further increase...

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