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Safety quacks

The Stewart inquiry into mobile phones shows the danger of taking public fears over science too seriously

By Dick Taverne   April 2004

Science is too elitist and needs to be more democratic, or so it is often said. A House of Lords committee on science and technology argued in 2000 that it is condescending to talk about a lack of public understanding of science, when public ignorance is mainly the fault of scientists failing to communicate. What is more, since science is not value-free, scientists will more readily gain public confidence if they declare the values which underpin their work and engage with the values and attitudes of the public. The public should be more involved in the direction of scientific research…

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