Who's Afraid of Dissent? Addressing Concerns about Undermining Scientific Consensus in Public Policy Developments
Inmaculada de Melo-Martin, Kristen Intemann
Perspectives on Science
Many argue that encouraging critical dissent is necessary for promoting scientific objectivity and progress. Yet despite its importance, some dissent can have negative consequences, including undermining confidence in existing scientific consensus, confusing the public, and preventing sound policy. For example, private industries and think tanks have funded dissenting research to create doubt and stall regulations. To protect scientifically sound policies, some have responded by attempting to minimize or discourage dissent perceived to be problematic. We argue that targeting dissent as an obstacle to public policy is both misguided and dangerous.
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