Joined: May 2006
|What role should governments play in science? |
for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume you meant government at the federal/state level?
the same role they should play for any other realm of public endeavor.
-help with organization if needed
-publicize the need for good science as part of our economy, if nothing else (and there's a lot of "else").
-use the above to justify why the government spends tax dollars on research and science education.
really, I can't see burdening the government with much else, because whenever they try to take on additional roles, they fubar it. Obviously, a lot of this has to do with abusing science for political gain, so naturally limiting the role government gets to play is beneficial.
personally, If my goal was to win grass roots support and my base thought an aspect of science was "evil", it would be a conflict of interest for me to get involved. However, I naturally would have to choose the views of the majority of my base if I want to get elected.
I don't blame politicians for this attitude from a pure political perspective, and perhaps it's unrealistic to ask them to be more responsible (I'd like to think it's not, and that playing a leadership role will also galvanize a decent sized base). Hence, as things stand, I would think to limit the role government gets to play in science as much as possible.
|Should governments sponsor scientific research?|
yes. there is no evidence that public support is consistent enough to maintain funding for research. Most nonprofits that do research rely on grants from governement and other ngo's to function, and public funding is almost always a secondary source of funding.
Moreover, the only way a government need to justify spending is to show how scientific endeavor leads to an improved economy. Not hard.
|Should governments control the products of scientific research?|
the end products? like resulting consumer goods? Or do you mean the actual data?
I've seen government attempt to control (and modify) both.
I'd say the government could claim a legitimate interest in controlling the production of products and consumer goods from scientific research, but overeaches tremendously when they attempt to control and modify the data and results of specific research.
|Is human health and nutrition a special case?|
on the surface, in principle I would say no. I'm sure with more thought, I could think of some counter examples, tho.
Could you perhaps be more specific here?
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."