Marc Le Menestrel
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The Nature of Scientific Evidence: Freedom and Precaution. June 1, 9:00-11:00

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by Marc Le Menestrel (21/11/2011)

This session explores ethical issues around the collection, analyze and use of scientific evidence in Health Management.

Questions treated in this session:

What is the objectivity of scientific evidence?

When do we listen to Early Warning Signals?

What are the roles of physicians, business and institutions in Health sciences?


Browse through all the required readings, select one that you read carefully and identify the three main learning you obtained from it. Write them explicitly and share your reflections on the three questions above (max 500 words).

  • note that for the EEA report of 2002, you’ll focus on 2 or 3 chapters of particular interest to you;
  • use the forum to indicate your choice

Required readings

Gee D. (2008) Establishing Evidence for Early Action: the Prevention of Reproductive and Developmental Harm. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 102, 257–266.

European Environment Agency (2002) Late lessons from early warnings: the precautionary principle 1896-2000. Issue Report n° 22.

European Environment Agency (2010) Pharmaceuticals in the environment. EEA Technical report No 1/2010.

Joy, B. (2000) Why the future doesn’t need us. Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species. Wired - Issue 8.04.

Stirling, A. (2009) From Enlightenment to Enablement: opening up choices for innovation. Augusto López-Claros, ed., in The Innovation for Development Report: 2009-10 Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan pp. 199-210

Optional readings

Pollan, Michael (1998) Playing God in the Garden, The New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998.

Oreskes N. a E. M. Conway (2010) Merchants of doubt. How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Bloomsburry Press, New York.

Michaels, D. (2008) Doubt is their product. How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health. Oxford University Press, New York.

Rampton, S. and J. Stauber (2001) Trust us, we’re experts! How industry manipulates science and gambles with your future. Tarcher Putnam, New York. See also Center for Media and Democracy.

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