Politics and the Restraint of Science
Politics and science have a long history of conflict, and today's troubled times find new and urgent problems with the relationship. Who is not greatly concerned with the implications of the government's support of scientific research on unwitting human subjects and the potentially irreversible side effects of nuclear and recombinant DNA research?
In this important and timely new study, Leonard Cole draws on history and the contemporary sociology of science to compare American political and scientific institutions with those historic cases in which scientific "truth" was extremely imposed—Galileo’s Italy, Stalin's Russia, and Hitler’s Germany. Cole's fascinating analysis is supported by interviews, case-studies, and a survey of more than 600 scientists with whom he explores the principal questions surrounding the restraint of scientific and technological activity. His penetrating examinations of such contemporary controversies as the anti-evolution campaigns—fundamentalism and creationism— and the proposed right-to-life bill are "must" reading for any citizen concerned with ideology and public safety.
“This work advances and successfully argues the bold hypothesis that science will protect itself from unwarranted political interference by coming to terms with those public controls necessary to a healthy democracy.”—Kenneth Prewitt, President, Social Science Research Council
“By a judicious analysis of the literature and the results of a survey, Leonard Cole has written a helpful, judicious, and enlightening book on the troubled relationship between science and politics in America. His study helps to move the national debate one further step toward greater reasonableness.”—Daniel Callahan, Director, The Hastings Center