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This review essay considers the tension between the evidence-driven vision of science's mission and the fears of malicious use and terrible consequences that have come to the fore since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. These fears have led some to call for government restrictions on the substance of scientific research and communication. In general, this approach is likely to do far more harm than good. But scientists need to take the problem of social consequences more seriously than they have so far. The author argues in this essay that in some circumstances, when rogue use of science can do large-scale harm and when there are strong grounds for believing that a foe has the will and ability to do such harm, self-restraint within the scientific community is called for.

The following works are reviewed:

Science in the Service of Human Rights, By Richard Pierre Claude, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

Science and Technology in a Vulnerable World, Edited by Albert H. Teich, Stephen D. Nelson and Stephen J. Lita. American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2002.

Publication Citation

91 Geo. L.J. 1257-1275 (2003)