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Governing Science

The governing of science is a delicate topic as many of its subjects require a high intellectual understanding of the intricacies of each individual subject that fall under the large umbrella of science.  However, there needs to be a bridge built between those who can fully understand certain sectors of science and those whose lives science is affecting, general society.

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Science and Democracy

In this weeks lecture, we learned how two very different entities, science and democracy, are, in fact, related. The manner in which a government rules its people can affect how, in that country, scientific processes are carried out. For example, in communist China, the party enforces the sharing of ideas, and inclusion of the masses when conducting experiments. While, in a democracy those strict guidelines do not exist, and intellectuals tend to be profit driven, fame driven or, knowledge driven.

These differences in regimes present different challenges in making scientific advancements. In a communist state, the obligation to involve many people means that not everybody participating in the scientific process will be qualified. For example, in lecture, my group discussed how a geoscientist would conduct research regarding animals and earthquakes. We concluded that in a communist state the geoscientist might have to reach out to village peasants who owned livestock, and rely on these townspeople to provide important observations. The problem with this, is that the peasants likely don’t have a background in science and the geoscientist might receive inaccurate information from them.

On the other hand, in a democracy, there are also political factors that limit scientific advancement. There is a lot of prestige surrounding the field of science, and as a result there is money to be made and fame to be acquired. This leads to the opposite challenge faced in the communist society. Instead of involving too many people, in some cases not enough individuals are involved in important scientific processes. Including additional intellects in one’s studies, could mean that they take from the potential profit and potential glory.

Although science and politics seem like very separate ideas, after looking deeper it becomes clear that they are deeply related. The structure of a government can greatly impact the productivity of scientific achievement.

Science and Democracy

Scientific knowledge is a difficult pursuit, one that excludes some of the human population. Anyone can study basic science and learn its principles, but it is much harder to be able to gain an expertise in a field. Most US citizens have a understanding of science across many fields at a foundational level, but lack advanced knowledge in those fields. Because of this, I believe that science should not be governed by the government or the general population.
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Science: Open to the General Public?

When speaking in terms of how to “best” govern society, I think we should think holistically about what is in the best interest of democracy as a whole. This translates to a combination scientists, policy-makers, and country citizens alike  to integrate the facilitation of a democratic country that avoids authoritarian tendencies. As of now, science and technology is mandated by the government, but I believe that all policy-makers should be exhaustively informed of the science they have control of, and be made aware of the possible implications of utilizing such technologies. Otherwise, ignorance exists and with inexperience, comes error and problems.

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