The Separation of Politics and Science

  • May 2014
  • 7 Stan. J.L. Sci. & Pol'y 10
  • Article

This article proposes that scientific inquiry regarding questions of fact should have an autonomous zone that is protected from politics. Although many scholars promote the idea that science is politicized, little empirical data exists to support this conclusion. This article contains an empirical study that demonstrates that the public received inaccurate information in the debate over a highly politicized and controversial area of scientific inquiry, embryonic stem cell research.

This article utilizes the data from the empirical study and public choice theory to explain that there are process defects; this economic model can help explain, but cannot be used to resolve, the process defects. Instead, this article articulates reasons why scientific inquiry should have an autonomous zone and that political actors should play a limited role in oversight. This article proposes solutions to balance the roles of elected officials with the expertise of scientists. 

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