Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Bioterrorism and Academic Freedom
We had an interesting speaker today at the Centre for Ethics in Public Policy and Corporate Governance. Mike Selgelid from the Australian National University spoke on the question of whether or not we can leave to scientists' self-regulation the types of issues that they may legitimately research about and publish on. His conclusion was that there are good reasons for government regulations of certain types of research that may be used for good as well as evil. We discussed the problem today on BBC Radio, and were joined by the Liberal Democrats spokesperson on the issue in the House of Lords.
Most interesting - to the interested observer - was certainly Selgelid's observation that many countries place tight restrictions on nuclear research, for obvious security reasons. Equally as obviously biochemical weapons today are capable of causing as much - if not more - damage than nuclear weapons, yet there seem precious little regulations of such research in place in most parts of the world.