Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Science, Technology, and Society / Edition 7by Thomas A. Easton
Pub. Date: 10/14/2005
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
This seventh edition of TAKING SIDES: CLASHING VIEWS ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETYpresents current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. An… See more details below
This seventh edition of TAKING SIDES: CLASHING VIEWS ON CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETYpresents current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. An instructor’s manual with testing material is available for each TAKING SIDES volume. USING TAKING SIDES IN THE CLASSROOM is also an excellent instructor resource with practical suggestions on incorporating this effective approach in the classroom. Each TAKING SIDES reader features an annotated listing of selected World Wide Web sites and is supported by our student website, www.dushkin.com/online.
Table of Contents
PART 1. The Place of Science and Technology in Society
ISSUE 1. Does Politics Come Before Science in Government Decision Making? YES: Union of Concerned Scientists, from Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: An Investigation into the Bush Administration’s Misuse of Science (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2004) NO: John H. Marburger, III, from “Statement on Scientific Integrity in the Bush Administration” (April 2, 2004)
The Union of Concerned Scientists argues that the Bush administration displays a clear pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well-being. Speaking for the Bush administration, John H. Marburger III argues that the Bush administration strongly supports science and applies the highest scientific standards in decision making, but science is only one input to the policy-making process.
ISSUE 2. Should Society Restrict the Publication of Unclassified but "Sensitive" Research? YES: Lewis M. Branscomb, from “The Changing Relationship Between Science and Government Post-September 11,” in Albert H. Teich, Stephen D. Nelson, and Stephen J. Lita, eds., Science and Technology in a Vulnerable World (Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2002) NO: The Royal Society and Wellcome Trust, from “Do No Harm: Reducing the Potential for the Misuse of Life Science Research,” Report of a RoyalSociety (October 7, 2004)
Lewis M. Branscomb asserts that because the results of much scientific research have the potential to aid terrorists, there is a need to control the publication and distribution of "sensitive but unclassified" information. Scientists and others who met under the aegis of the U.K.’s Royal Society and the Wellcome Trust concluded that the issue is real, but self-governance by the scientific community is much preferred over new legislation.
ISSUE 3. Should Creationism and Evolution Get Equal Time in Schools?
YES: Richard J. Clifford, from “Creationism’s Value?” America (March 11, 2000)
NO: Evan Ratliff, from “The Crusade Against Evolution,” Wired (October 2004)
Richard J. Clifford, a professor of biblical studies, argues that although modern creationism is flawed, excluding the Bible and religionfrom American public education is indefensible. He maintains that schools should be places where religious beliefs are treated withrespect. Journalist Evan Ratliff describes the current debate over introducing creationism, in its "Intelligent Design" guise, into the schools and concludes that "in science, not all theories are equal." Science education should not be decided by rhetoric, but by scientific scrutiny.
PART 2. The Environment
ISSUE 4. Should Society Act Now to Halt Global Warming?
YES: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, from “Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis,” A Report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001)
NO: Bush Administration, from “Global Climate Change Policy Book,” www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/02/climatechange.html (February 2002)
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that global warming appears to be real, with strong effects on sea level, icecover, and rainfall patterns to come, and that human activities—particularly emissions of carbon dioxide—are to blame. The Bush administration’s plan for dealing with global warming insists that short-term economic health must come before reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. It is more useful to reduce "greenhouse gas intensity" or emissions per dollar of economic activity than to reduce total emissions.
ISSUE 5. Is It Time to Revive Nuclear Power? YES: Peter Schwartz and Spencer Reiss, from “Nuclear Now!” Wired (February 2005) NO: Karl Grossman, from “The Push to Revive Nuclear Power,” Synthesis/Regeneration 28 (Spring 2002)
Peter Schwartz and Spencer Reiss argue that nuclear power should be encouraged as the one practical answer to global warming and forthcoming shortages of fossil fuels. Professor of journalism Karl Grossman argues that to encourage the use of nuclear power is reckless. It would be wiser to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
ISSUE 6. Will Hydrogen Replace Fossil Fuels for Cars?
YES: Jeremy Rifkin, from “Hydrogen: Empowering the People,” The Nation (December 23, 2002)
NO: Michael Behar, from “Warning: The Hydrogen Economy May Be More Distant Than It Appears,” Popular Science (January 2005)
Social activist Jeremy Rifkin asserts that fossil fuels are approaching the end of their usefulness and that hydrogen fuel holds the potential not only to replace them but also to reshape society. Michael Behar argues that the public has been misled about the prospects of the "hydrogen economy." We must overcome major technological, financial, and political obstacles before hydrogen can be a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
PART 3. Human Health and Welfare
ISSUE 7. Do Falling Birth Rates Pose a Threat to Human Welfare? YES: Michael Meyer, from “Birth Dearth,” Newsweeek (September 27, 2004) NO: David Nicholson-Lord, from “The Fewer the Better,” New Statesman (November 8, 2004)
Michael Meyer argues that when world population begins to decline after about 2050, economies will no longer continue to grow, government benefits will decline, young people will have to support an elderly population, and despite some environmental benefits, quality of life will suffer. David Nicholson-Lord argues that the economic problems of population decline all have straightforward solutions. A less-crowded world will not suffer from the environmental ills attendant on overcrowding and will, overall, be a roomier, gentler, less materialistic place to live, with cleaner air and water.
ISSUE 8. Is There Sufficient Scientific Research to Conclude That Cell Phones Cause Cancer?
YES: George Carlo and Martin Schram, from Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries About Cancer and Genetic Damage (Carroll & Graf, 2001)
NO: United Kingdom’s National Radiation Protection Board, from Mobile Phones and Health 2004: Report by the Board of NRPB (National Radiation Protection Board, Britain) (Doc NRPB 15 (5), 2004)
Public health scientist George Carlo and journalist Martin Schram argue that there is a definite risk that the electromagnetic radiationgenerated by cell phone antennae can cause cancer and other health problems. The National Radiation Protection Board (now the Radiation Protection Division, http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/, of the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency) argues that there is no clear indication of adverse health effects, including cancer, from the use of mobile phones, but precautions are nevertheless in order.
ISSUE 9. Should DDT Be Banned Worldwide?
YES: Anne Platt McGinn, from “Malaria, Mosquitoes, and DDT,” World Watch (May/June 2002)
NO: Alexander Gourevitch, from “Better Living Through Chemistry,” The Washington Monthly (March 2003)
Anne Platt McGinn, a senior researcher at the Worldwatch Institute, argues that although DDT is still used to fight malaria, there areother, more effective and less environmentally harmful methods. She maintains that DDT should be banned or reserved for emergency use. Alexander Gourevitch, an American Prospect writing fellow, argues that, properly used, DDT is not as dangerous as its reputation insists it is, and it remains the cheapest and most effective way to combat malaria.
ISSUE 10. Should Potential Risks Slow the Development of Nanotechnology? YES: Peter Montague, from “Welcome to NanoWorld: Nanotechnology and the Precautionary Principle Imperative,” Multinational Monitor (September 2004) NO: Mike Treder, from “Molecular Nanotech: Benefits and Risks,” The Futurist (January–February 2004)
Peter Montague, executive director of the Environmental Research Foundation, argues that although nanotechnology is already sparking "a new industrial revolution," its potential hazards are also prompting demands for a go-slow precautionary approach. Mike Treder, executive director of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, argues that the task at hand is to realize the benefits of nanotechnology while averting the dangers but that attempts to control all risks may lead to abusive restrictions and wind up exacerbating the hazards.
PART 4. Space
ISSUE 11. Should We Expand Efforts to Find Near-Earth Objects?
YES: Joseph Burns, from Statement (for the National Research Council) before House Committee on Science (October 3, 2002)
NO: Edward Weiler, from Statement before House Committee on Science (October 3, 2002)
Professor of Engineering and Astronomy Joseph Burns contests that the hazards posed to life on Earth by near-Earth objects (NEOs) are great enough to justify increased efforts to detectand catalog NEOs. Scientific benefits may also be expected. Edward Weiler asserts that NASA’s present efforts to detect the larger and more hazardous NEOs are adequate. It is premature to expand the program.
ISSUE 12. Is the Search for Extraterrestrial Life Doomed to Fail?
YES: Stephen Webb, from Where Is Everybody? Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life ( Copernicus Books, 2002)
NO: Seth Shostak, from “When Will We Detect the Extraterrestrials?” Acta Astronautica (August 2004)
Physicist Stephen Webb argues that "the one gleaming, hard fact in the whole debate [is] that we have not been visited by" extraterrestrial intelligences. The only way to reconcile this fact with everything else we know is to conclude that we are the only intelligent species around. Radio astronomer and SETI researcher Seth Shostak is more optimistic. He argues that if the assumptions behind the search are well grounded, signals of extraterrestrial origin will be detected soon, perhaps within the next generation.
ISSUE 13. Do Humans Belong in Space?
YES: William Tucker, from “The Sober Realities of Manned Space Flight,” The American Enterprise (December 2004) NO: Steven Weinberg, from “The Wrong Stuff,” New York Review of Books (April 8, 2004)
Journalist William Tucker argues that the question is not whether we should pursue the mysteries of space, nor even whether we should send people into space, but whether we should spend vast amounts of money to do so. Physicist and Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg argues that nothing needs doing in space that cannot be done without human presence. Until we find something that does need humans on the scene, there is no particular reason to send humans—at great expense—into space.
PART 5. The Computer Revolution
ISSUE 14. Does the Internet Strengthen Community?
YES: John B. Horrigan, from “Online Communities: Networks that Nurture Long-Distance Relationships and Local Ties,” Pew Internet & American Life Project (October 2001)
NO: Jonathon N. Cummings, Brian Butler, and Robert Kraut, from “The Quality of Online Social Relationships,” Communications of the ACM (July 2002)
John B. Horrigan asserts that when people go online, they both form relationships with distant others who share their interests and strengthen their involvement with their local communities. Jonathon N. Cummings, Brian Butler, and Robert Kraut maintain that online communication is less valuable for building strong social relationships than more traditional face-to-face and telephone communication.
ISSUE 15. Does the Spread of Surveillance Technology Threaten Privacy? YES: Simon Cooper, from “Who’s Spying on You?” Popular Mechanics (January 2005)
NO: Stuart Taylor, Jr., from “How Civil-Libertarian Hysteria May Endanger Us All,” National Journal (February 22, 2003)
Computer professional Simon Cooper argues that technology is enabling a massive increase in routine surveillance and the collection of personal data by both government and business with very few restrictions on how the data are used. Personal privacy is indeed threatened. Stuart Taylor, Jr., contends that those who object to surveillance--particularly government surveillance--have their priorities wrong. Curbing "government powers in the name of civil liberties [exacts] too high a price in terms of endangered lives."
ISSUE 16. Will Screens Replace Pages?
YES: Steve Ditlea, from “The Real E-Books,” Technology Review (July/August 2000)
NO: Stephen Sottong, from “E-Book Technology: Waiting for the ‘False Pretender’,” Information Technology & Libraries (June 2001)
Writer Steve Ditlea argues that computers can simplify publishing, improve access to readers, and enhance the reading experience and thate-books are becoming both practical and popular. Librarian Stephen Sottong argues that e-books are not cheap, readable, or durable enough to replace paper books and that they pose specialproblems for libraries.
PART 6. Ethics
ISSUE 17. Is the Use of Animals in Research Justified?
YES: John P. Gluck and Jordan Bell, from “Ethical Issues in the Use of Animals in Biomedical and Psychopharmacological Research,” Psychopharmacology (May 28, 2003) NO: Tom Regan, from “The Rights of Humans and Other Animals,” Ethics and Behavior (vol. 7, no. 2, 1997)
John P. Gluck and Jordan Bell argue that although the use of animals in research has been productive, the debate over the ethical justification of using animals in research lacks clarity. Nevertheless, there is strong agreement that researchers have an ethical obligation and duty to protect the welfare of the animals they use in their research. Philosopher Tom Regan argues that any attempt to define what it is about being human that gives all humans moral rights must also give animals moral rights, and that therefore we have no more right to use animals as research subjects than we have to use other humans.
ISSUE 18. Should Genetically Modified Foods Be Banned?
YES: Martin Teitel and Kimberly A. Wilson, from Genetically Engineered Food: Changing the Nature of Nature (Park Street Press, 2001)
NO: Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, from “Agricultural Biotechnology: Overregulated and Underappreciated,” Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2005)
Activists Martin Teitel and Kimberly A. Wilson argue that genetically modified foods should be banned until their safety for humanconsumption has been demonstrated. Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko argue that the acceptance of genetically modified foods has been blocked by activists’ alarming messages and excessive regulation. Regulation should be based on genuine risk, not on the process by which a product is made.
ISSUE 19. Is It Ethically Permissible to Clone Human Beings?
YES: Julian Savulescu, from “Should We Clone Human Beings? Cloning as a Source of Tissue for Transplantation,” Journal of Medical Ethics (April 1, 1999)
NO: Leon R. Kass, from “The Wisdom of Repugnance,” The New Republic (June 2, 1997)
Julian Savulescu, director of the Ethics Program of the Murdoch Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, arguesthat it is not only permissible but morally required to use human cloning to create embryos as a source of tissue for transplantation. Biochemist Leon R. Kass argues that human cloning is “so repulsive to contemplate” that it should be prohibited entirely.
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