Which Ethics For Science and Public Policy?

Dianne N. Irving
and Adil E. Shamoo, Ph.D.
Accountability in Research
Copyright: February 1993, 3:77-100
Reproduced with Permission


The problem of inaccurate, misapplied or fraudulent data could be addressed by government regulations, or by self-regulation from within science itself. To many, self-regulation implies the grounding of research activities in some "neutral" standard of "ethics" acceptable in a "pluralistic" society. Yet, there is no such thing as a "neutral ethics"; and many "contemporary" theories contain such serious theoretical deficiencies and contradictions that they are practically inapplicable. As a viable alternative to these theoretical and practical problems, an objectively based realistic framework of ethics is considered, and used to ground both the individual scientific and the collective public policy decision making processes. This is an ethics of properly integrated relationships. It is then applied to an analysis of many of the causes of incorrect data, as well as of many of the internal and external pressures and abuses often experienced by scientists today. This approach respects the integrity of each decision maker as a human being and as a moral agent - which in turn better insures the integrity of the protocol, the data, and the public policy decisions which follow - and ultimately, the integrity of the scientific enterprise itself. The alternative is government regulations.


Contemporary science is, in many respects, big business. It consumes hundreds of billions of dollars annually from our national treasure. The structure of science and its fueling energy - the research and development operations - consume tens of billions of dollars with over 1 million scientists involved in the process (Shamoo, 1989).

Many individuals are attracted to scientific careers because of a desire to be useful, the excitement of exploring new territory, the hope of finding order, or the desire to test established knowledge (Kuhn, 1970). Additionally, the reward system is an important fuel component that can enhance enthusiasm and creativity. Even deep ideological drives find expression in the scientific enterprise. As the U.S. National Academy of Science has noted: "... a strong personal attachment to an idea is not necessarily a liability. It can even be essential in dealing with the great effort and frequent disappointments associated with scientific research" (U.S. National Academy of Science, 1989) (Hopefully ideology will not inadvertently cause the scientist to "prejudice" his or her data). In effect the scientific enterprise will also necessarily reflect the various ethical principles and social values espoused by the multitude of individuals involved in the scientific enterprise. In acknowledging the even more basic "humanity" underlying each of these individuals, Arthur Kornberg, the Nobel Laureate biochemist, perceptively quipped: "Science is great, but scientists are still people" (Kornberg, 1992). At times it would seem that contemporary science has lost sight of the "person" behind the starched white lab-coat.

One of the more serious concerns of contemporary science is how to deal with inaccurate, misapplied or fraudulent data (Irving, 1991, 1993A, 1993B; Kischer, 1993). That such data exists, or is problematic, or that some form of over-sight is necessary is no longer the issue. The scientific community no longer debates whether some form of oversight should be exercised over the scientific enterprise, but rather how much and in what form" (Shamoo, 1992A)? In other words, what is the balance to be struck between self-regulation and federal regulations? Kornberg, for example, does recognize "laxity and negligence", but he opposes any "bureaucratic procedures" (Kornberg, 1992). Others insist that scientists are incapable of any meaningful "self-regulation", and so the only real alternative to scientific fraud is governmental regulation.

Several of the causes of such problematic data include: the inevitable conflicts of interests, the very complexity of the information, the remoteness of the information from its sources (Shamoo and Annau, 1990; Shamoo, 1991), the lack of quality control and of quality assurance, the proliferation of information and data, and its reliance on the computer (Shamoo and Davis, 1990). Other serious influences on the scientist include the institutional pressures to "publish or perish"; to obtain funding - in industry, university settings, governmental agencies and in Congress; and media pressures.

However, our question here concerns a broader cause or source of error - that is, the presence of intellectual artifacts in decision-making processes - on both the individual and the institutional levels - which ultimately impact and more subtly influence how we design our protocols, produce data, or analyze public policy. It is with a view toward the development of a viable theoretical and practical structure for scientific "self-regulation" that we attempt to articulate and clarify here some of these intellectual artifacts. The intent is neither to debunk nor ensconce any particular individual philosopher or his teaching - but rather to examine briefly some of the major ethical frameworks available for our consideration and evaluation.

No Such thing as a "Neutral Ethics"

Often we are told that one sure way to insure the integrity of our data as well as the integrity of our policies is by being "ethical". If we are only "ethical" we can relax, be accountable, responsible, and assure good data and good policies - thus also avoiding over-reaching governmental regulations. And in a democracy, where no one's values should be imposed on others, the best ethics to employ is a "neutral" ethics. But, unfortunately, and incredibly, what is usually not explained by ethicists is that there is no such thing as a "neutral" ethics. Even risk/benefit analysis is grounded on variations of a utilitarian theory - which by definition is a normative ethical theory - i.e., it takes a stand on what is right and what is wrong, just as any other normative ethical theory does (Beauchamp and Childress, 1979; Beauchamp and Walters, 1978, 1982, 1989). As any good historian of philosophy will tell you, there is even no such thing as a "neutral" logic (Gilson, 1963; Copleston, 1962).

So what are we to do? If no ethical theory is "neutral", then which ethics is to be used for science and for public policy - especially in a democratic society? No one likes the "god-squad" - particularly scientists and public policy makers! But what we want to convey is that someone is playing "god" - regardless - on every level of our collective decision-making - even if it sounds "neutral". And so the question is no longer whether science and public policy should be ethical - but rather, which ethics should be used? To even begin to address this question we will explore briefly the individual and institutional integrity essential for decision making concerning scientifically sound protocols, accurate data, and responsible public policy. Clearly, if scientists are really serious about "self-regulation", they need to consider "integrity" seriously as well. The alternative is governmental regulation.

Recent History of the Problem in Ethics

There are several problems with some of the present theories of ethics which are likely candidates for use in science and public policy. Generally they are currently theories borrowed from bioethics. As recently pointed out (Irving, 1993C), the early "classic" bioethics texts basically restricted our considerations (for all intents and purposes) to ethical theories questionably derived from Kant or Mill. Renditions of Kant's theory - or deontology - was suppose to represent the defense of the interests of the individual; Mill's theory - or utilitarianism - was suppose to represent the defense of the interests of society. From primarily variations of these "theories" were derived the basic guiding theoretical ethical principles so often quoted and elaborated today: autonomy, beneficence and justice (Beauchamp and Childress, 1979, 1989; Beauchamp and Walters, 1978, 1982, 1989) - often referred to fondly as the "Georgetown Mantra" (a reference to the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University).

Although perhaps the intentions were good, and given that the field was in its infancy - as is your field right now - over the years a sort of "empirical ethics" has slowly been taking place. Often the identification and application of these theoretical ethical principles in routine daily medical practice did indeed help to clarify otherwise murky issues. But cracks began to form. For example, these three ethical principles were held to be prima facie (Beauchamp and Childress, 1989; Beauchamp and Walters, 1978, 1982, 1989) - that is, no one principle held precedence over either of the others. Yet in real-life medical situations, these theoretical principles would often come into conflict (Pellegrino, 1993; Shamoo and Irving, 1993B) - with no theoretically structured means by which to resolve the conflict, or to really balance them.

Soon each of these principles began to take on a life of its own, each one approaching an "absolute", and separated or split from the other two. For example, autonomy was claimed as the "ethical" ground for a patient to insist on extraordinary and often extremely expensive medical care, because it was his - or his family's - free autonomous choice. Or, a physician could rationalize the use of certain care for her patient against the patient's wishes because it was clearly medically indicated and the doctor knows best what is beneficent or good for her patient. Or again, institutionalized mentally ill patients could be used in experimentation for the benefit of others in their "class" of diseases (Shamoo and Irving, 1993C), or in purely experimental research for the sake of obtaining knowledge in general or for the "greater good of society" (see Tannenbaum and Cook, 1978; U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR 46, 1989) because in justice they owed society for providing them with shelter, food and care, or because this is one way in which the mentally ill could presume to want to help to "share" the burdens of society (McCormick, 1974).

However, through daily empirical observations by practitioners in the field, the inadequacies and inconsistencies in these theoretical "ethical principles" began to show. There has been a steady growing uneasiness with their formulation and application, which somehow seems sometimes counter-intuitive; and newer attempts to move beyond this original formulation and stage of the field have begun (Irving, 1993C; Hamel, DuBose and O'Connell, 1993).

The History of Philosophy Reveals an Artifact

However, there is an even more fundamental problem with these ethical theories, although in order to see this requires consulting the history of philosophy itself. Briefly, each of the major philosophers in the history of philosophy have defined "being" or reality differently (Gilson, 1963). If one defines "being" differently, then one defines "human being" differently, and then the ethics are different. Or they then define "material being" differently, and then the science is different (Crombie, 1959). The major common source of the errors and inaccuracies which follow from some of these definitions is what is known in philosophy as a "mind/body split" (Wilhelmson, 1956; Fox, 1989; Meilander, 1987).

Closely related to these metaphysical and anthropological differences are the methodological (or, epistemological) differences. The starting point of knowledge for some philosophers is outside the mind, i.e., the things they are investigating. Information about these things is induced through the senses, worked on by the intellect, and finally checked back with the things outside the mind which have been experienced in order to determine if there is a correspondence between the information or concepts formed in the intellect with the things outside the mind - their criteria for the truth or falsity of their information or concepts. The limited validity of both sense and intellectual cognition is acknowledged (Irving, 1992; Veatch, 1974; Klubertanz, 1963).

For others, the starting point of knowledge is inside the mind, e.g., a concept or a hypothesis; and information about reality is deduced from this internal rational starting point, and checked with the original store of knowledge systems in order to determine if the "information" or concepts cohere with, or fit in with, these systems - their criteria for the truth or falsity of their information. Only intellectual cognition is acknowledged as truly valid; the validity of sense cognition is generally rejected. Thus the major sources of error in methodology usually concern the starting points of the investigation, and the reliability of the check-backs for truth and falsity (Gilson, 1963; Wilhelmson, 1956; Irving, 1992).

All of these theoretical differences eventually trickle down to cause very different and often contradictory conclusions - not only throughout the history of philosophy, but also throughout many other fields as well. This is only a very quick and brief indication of from where, we would argue, these intellectual artifacts originate. Regardless of how objective we try to be concerning our observations or the information which we use, these intellectual artifacts constitute a much more subtle machine that is driving our scientific and public policy decisions, and more difficult to rout out (Irving, 1993A, 1993B).

What are some of the general implications of all of this? If, like Plato (Jowett, 1937; Vlastos, 1978; Gilson, 1963), a human being is defined as two separate substances - soul and body - and if the body (as matter) is non-being - then there is not only a separation or split between the soul and the body, and therefore no interaction possible or explainable; but a human being is defined only in terms of the "rational" part of the soul, since his body (as non-being) isn't. Even Plato himself acknowledged that this mind/body split was theoretically devastating to his own philosophy and wouldn't work. But despite Plato's own self-effacing warnings, philosophers throughout the history of philosophy have perpetuated these metaphysical and anthropological artifacts - which, in turn, have seriously influenced their ethics (as will be noted later).

The modern counterpart of Plato was Descartes (Gilson, 1963; Wilhelmson, 1956; Copleston, 1962), who also defined a human being as two separate substances - mind and body - but ultimately, again, only as mind. If you want to see a philosopher sweat once he has painted himself into a theoretical corner, you might want to consult his Sixth Meditation (Cottingham, 1984). There Descartes is trying to explain how the pain in a physical leg is expressed or "felt" in the immaterial mind. But because he has a mind/body split, he cannot explain any interaction between the immaterial mind and the physical body because they are separated. Even his attempt with the pineal gland in the brain will not work, because the penial gland, too, is really only a part of the physical body.

To indicate how Descartes-the-physicist's metaphysical and anthropological presuppositions - or, intellectual artifacts - impacted or influenced his ability to even do science (Edwards, 1967), consider the following. The very validity of the fundamental laws of physics and mathematics depended on his proving the truth of the "cogito" ("I think, therefore I am") and on the existence of God - neither of which he was successful in doing. And because he rejected the existence of a void, Descartes' material substance, i.e., Extension, is continuous. These metaphysical presuppositions, in turn, had serious consequences for his physics - especially his scientific theory of the vortex.

For example, the material world for Descartes is therefore not composed of ultimate atoms, but only volumes, which must then move as a whole, i.e., a simultaneous movement of matter in some closed curve. Planetary motion must be explained as one infinite three-dimensional continuous and homogenous extended body. If there is only one continuous extended substance which constitutes the whole material universe, then he can only distinguish one body from another body in terms of differential volumes and secondary qualities. Therefore he cannot have a definition for density, or for viscosity.

Descartes omits "matter", therefore, from his definition of motion. Motion = speed x size; but "size", for Descartes, is a continuous volume of body. Therefore his laws of impact are actually in error. Also, he cannot isolate a particular force, e.g., gravity, in terms of how a body would move if it were free from resistance, because to imagine it moving without resistance is to imagine it in a void - the existence of which he had rejected.

Animals have no pineal glands, for Descartes, and therefore no souls. Therefore they cannot feel any pain, or any other kinds of sensations - as sensations were really only modes of thought. Animals are only physical bodies, i.e., "machines", and the only sense in which they can be hurt is to "damage" them.

Thus, not only can Descartes not explain any interaction between his immaterial Mind and his material Body; he also cannot guarantee the very laws of physics and mathematics he was so anxious to protect. He cannot substantially distinguish one body from another, correctly define planetary motion, density, viscosity, motion, size, gravity, and his laws of impact are in error. Even animals are incapable of feeling any pain.

Well - so where does all this "theorizing" leave us? Amazingly, our "man" (including the scientist-man) is no longer a whole man; and our knower or investigator (including the scientist-investigator) can no longer know the real world! Such a fractured broken remnant of a human being can no longer even formulate or ask the appropriate questions necessary for survival - much less those questions needed for performing basic research.

From Descartes came the later rationalist, who took one of Descartes' substances, i.e., "Mind", and defined a human being only in terms of "rational attributes". The later empiricists took Descartes' other substance, i.e., Extension, or matter, and defined a human being only in terms of matter or sentience (or the ability to feel pain or pleasure) (Irving, 1993A).

And here one meets up once again with the contemporary bioethical theories, using primarily variations on Kant (the rationalist) or variations on Mill (the empiricist). The inherent theoretical and practical problems in these two current approaches have already been noted earlier. Now one can see that many of these problems stem from the fact that these theories retain from their historical predecessors very definite and problematic metaphysical, epistemological and anthropological presuppositions - specifically their definitions of a human being, and how that human being comes to know material reality. Now consider the impact of these philosophical presuppositions on their ethics. What is "ethical" is now based on variations of either "Kant's" pure rational autonomy - or on variations of "Mill's" pure materialistic (although more sophisticated) utilitarian calculus of pain and pleasure (the ultimate philosophical ground of risk/benefit analysis).

But if "Kant" is right, and human persons are not to be defined with a material body, but only in terms of "rational attributes"; and if only rational "autonomous" human beings are "persons" - and therefore due ethical respect and protection; then non-autonomous human beings are not persons, e.g., Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients, persons with mental illness, drunks, drug addicts, the comatose - even very young children. Therefore one would logically have to argue that they have no ethical standing as human persons, and perhaps no legal or social protections as well, as many bioethicists, lawyers and public policy makers do argue. These writers even conclude that therefore the infanticide of normal healthy human infants and young children is ethically permissible (Englehardt, 1985; Tooley, 1974; Robertson, 1989; Hare, 1988). Well, I would argue, that leaves a great number of human beings in serious trouble.

If "Mill" is right, and human persons are to be defined and ethically protected only in terms of "sentience" (or a material substance capable of feeling pain or pleasure); and if what is ethically relevant is only degrees of pain and pleasure; then many higher mammals which are highly sentient (e.g., dogs or chimpanzees) are persons, and many human beings (e.g., newborn human infants) are not persons. And if we do know empirically that in human beings full "rational attributes" or "full sentience" are not present until years after birth (Moore, 1982), then one would again have to conclude that the infanticide of perfectly normal healthy human infants and young children is ethically permissible - as is argued by many bioethicists, lawyers and public policy makers today (Singer, 1981; Kuhse, 1986; Lockwood, 1988).

These reality checks should be taken quite seriously. Consider the conclusions and consequences for all of us human beings today if "Kant" or "Mill" were correct. Consider what is at stake. If these theories theoretically don't work, and lead to such counter-intuitive and drastic conclusions, then why use them? Can we even justify using them? Should they be used to ground the ethics of research or public policy formulation? These are just some of the intellectual philosophical artifacts which have found their way down into the medical and scientific communities, and on which much public policy is already presently being based (Irving, 1993B).

A More Objectively-Based Ethical Theory for Science and Public Policy Decision Making

" ... for wickedness perverts us and causes us to be deceived about the starting-points of action. Therefore it is evident that it is impossible to be practically wise without being good." [Aristotle, Ethica Nicomachea, p. 1035]

If scientists are really serious about avoiding governmental regulation by means of "self-regulation" to prevent scientific fraud, this will require an equally serious consideration of how one goes about "self-regulating" in a way which both theoretically and practically maintains the integrity of both the "man" and the "institutions" of which he is a member. Presently either no really viable constructive alternatives are proposed at all, or those which are proposed fall into one of the problematic categories above. Simply because of their theoretically and practically unsolvable problems those theories are inherently unworkable and should clearly not be used as a viable ethical basis for scientific "self-regulation".

On the other hand there is at least a third viable ethical framework one might want to consider; one in which the integrity of the "man" and of the "institutions" is maintained. Such an ethical framework was originally advanced by Aristotle the biologist (Aristotle, "Ethica Nicomachea", in McKeon 1941, p. 935; Veatch, 1974; Gilson, 1963; Bourke, 1951; Irving, 1992) , and critiqued and improved on through the wisdom gained by trial and error throughout the centuries. The deeper grounds of the starting point of this theory are the investigation of everything with the induction of information from objectively based sensitive and intellectual experience of the real things in the world outside our minds - and any such information or concepts thus obtained must be referred back to those real things outside the mind in order to determine their truth or falsity (Aristotle, "Analytica Posteriora", pp. 136, 184-186, "Ethica Nichomachea", p. 1033 in McKeon 1941). This method will sound very familiar to the life research scientist - i.e., the scientific method! Here a human being is not defined as two separated substances, but only as one whole complex substance with both formal and material aspects (Aristotle, "De Anima", p. 554 in McKeon, 1941). Thus there is no mind/body split; and the human knower can both reach and know objective reality to a very sophisticated degree. The impact of these philosophical premises on one's ethics, and on one's treatment of the decision making process, is considerable.

Ethics now is not based only on pure autonomous rational choice; nor on merely physical pain and pleasure - but proximately on the whole human being, relating properly within him or herself; as well as relating properly with society and the environment with which and in which he or she must flourish and survive (Finnis, 1980; Fagothey, 1963). It is a much more complex ethical system - but then, doesn't it more accurately match the objective reality of the very complex human beings and the very complex world in which we live? It is worth placing this ethical theory under a "microscope" for just a moment.

What is probably one of the most compelling elements is its insistence on correctly identifying the proper proximate goal or good of any human being - that is, a human being's goal or good simply by virtue of his or her being human (Aristotle, "Ethica Nichomachea", in McKeon, 1941, pp. 935-947). That end or goal is variously rendered as "happiness", "flourishing", the excellence of living well, or being the "best that you can be" - as real live human beings. Common human goods have variously included: food, shelter, education, life and even recreation (Finnis, 1982). This implies, again, no mind/body split - for these various goods represent the several real aspects of a whole, unfractured human being. It is the integrity of the whole human being - and the integrity of his relationship with society and the environment - which is at issue. It is an ethics of relationships. Here ethics is about the rightness and wrongness of human actions as they relate to our proper human goal or good.

Variations on this basic framework have further examined in more detail the decision making process itself, as well as the various criteria which should be considered in evaluating the human actions which follow from that process. The ethical aspect of our actions is not determined by any one single criteria, but, more complexly, in terms of several criteria (e.g., the very nature of the action, the circumstances under which they were performed, the intention of the actor, the consequences of his or her actions, etc. (Fagothey, 1963; McInerny, 1982). What the human good is, and what brings us closer to or takes us further from it is not to be determined by relative opinions, but to be objectively determined by the daily observations and experiences of real live human beings. There is no "is/ought gap" (as the academic argument goes), if this objectively determined goal-oriented feature of Aristotle's ethics is properly understood and theoretically retained (Aristotle, "Ethica Nichomachea", in McKeon, 1941, p. 1032).

The Role of Information in Ethical and Policy Decision Making

The role that information or data play in the ethical and policy decision making processes will be considerably different within this framework. Certainly Aristotle's warning - that "a small error in the beginning leads to a multitude of errors in the end" (Aristotle, "De Caelo", in McKeon, 1941, p. 404) - captures in one sentence the gist of that role. Such a warning should give us pause here, considering that such an error in information which is embedded deep within a policy would impact thousands of scientists - as both individuals and as policy makers.

A. Individual decision making

The individual decision making process can be broken down into several distinct components. Each should be considered separately on its own merits, although each also needs to be understood as having a direct influence on the integrity of the other components as well.

1. The starting point of the decision making process that will lead to ethical actions is "objectively" correct information -of what the physical world is, of what the proper human goal is, as well as of what different sorts of intermediate things or actions we need to consider as means to reach that goal (Aristotle, "Ethica Nichomachea", in McKeon, 1941, pp. 1030-0036). Indeed, one of the most important of the intellectual virtues (as distinct from the moral virtues) is literally none other than the virtue of "science" (Aristotle, "Ethica Nichomachea", in McKeon, 1941, pp. 1022-1024; Fagothey, 1963) - or the habit of knowing correctly what the true "objective" facts of reality are (as best we can). Relative to the bench scientist's engagement in his or her experiment, we would distinguish two different criteria for obtaining "objectively correct information": the unbiased and independent observation of phenomena; and the unbiased and independent selection of data.

Unfortunately, just as there is no such thing as a "neutral ethics", there is also no such thing as a "neutral observer" or a "neutral scientific analyst". For example, during the experiment itself, personal biases could cause the scientist to either "see" or "not see" phenomena or mechanical measurements which do not accurately reflect what is actually taking place. That is, such biases could immediately affect the reliability of the observations which the scientist records. Similarly, even if these observations are accurately recorded, personal biases could cause the scientist to select for analysis only those data which fit neatly into a pre-conceived explanation of these observations.

Thus every attempt must be made by the conscientious scientist to be aware of and to filter out of his or her observations and selections of data any personal biases derived from particular backgrounds, ideologies or other intellectual artifacts, pressures imposed by professional conflicts of interests, institutional and governmental demands, media and political considerations, etc. (Irving, 1993A; Shamoo, 1991, 1992; Kischer, 1993). Otherwise these biases and pressures might in fact seriously "prejudice" his or her "data" - i.e., result in both the prejudicial recording of observations, and the prejudicial selection of data to be analyzed. In effect such biases would negate any possibility of deriving any valid or real truth or understanding of the objective reality outside his or her mind that is being investigated.

In fact, if our knowledge of our proper human goal is incorrect, or if our information about the real world is incorrect, then the entire decision making process will be wrong, because the will simply accepts as true or good what the intellect presents to it as true or good, without question.

2. Once we possess the correct relevant information, then we deliberate about the several possible things or actions which would best attain our goal. 

3. Next, we prudently choose and intend those actions or means which will best achieve these goals.

4. We then perform the action, under specific particular circumstances (which themselves can alter the rightness or wrongness of an action).

5. Finally, the habit of periodically going back to reflect on earlier decision-making processes and their outcomes is developed, evaluating them both informationally and ethically, and questioning if they were properly thought out and executed.

So this decision-making process starts (hopefully) with "objectively" correct information about the world and our proper human goal as human beings. This information is presented to the will as objectively true and good. Ways and means of achieving that goal (or intermediate goals) are weighed and measured or deliberated about. One means is chosen and intended - and then we execute the action under particular circumstances. Finally, earlier decisions, conclusions and actions are reflected on and evaluated informationally and ethically. Although each step in the process is important, the rightness or wrongness of the entire process hinges on and is determined by the objective correctness of the intellectual information about the real world with which the process begins. And this is determined by the intellectual virtue of "science". Clearly, the integrity of the individual scientist's information is critical in the decision making process leading to the integrity of his data (Shamoo and Annau, 1987; Shamoo, 1991, 1992A).

There is one final interesting (and perhaps cryptic) remark which Aristotle made about this process, a remark which concerns the integrity of the "man". Roughly as we have just seen, only a good thinking man acts good; but, he adds, only a good acting man thinks good (Aristotle, "Ethica Nichomachea", in McKeon, 1941, p. 1035). In other words, the process is actually circular. And the implication is that if a person habitually acts unethically, sooner or later this habit can effect even his or her ability to think objectively and correctly about the physical world itself - which, in turn, will cause his decision making processes to start with incorrect information about the physical world - which, in turn, will corrupt every step in his entire individual decision making process - etc., etc. In fact, the use of incorrect information or data can negatively impact not only scientific and public policy decision making - but even moral decision making as well. And this in turn will negatively impact the integrity of the individual and his or her relationship with society and the environment. The issue now becomes the integrity of the scientist! "A small error in the beginning ......" actually works both ways. And thus this Great-Chain-of-Decision-Making has just become a small Circle.

Next Page: B. Institutional decision making
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