Forbidding Science?
Balancing Freedom, Security, Innovation, & Precaution

January 12-13, 2006

Hosted by
The Center for the Study
of Law, Science & Innovation

College of Law
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona

This conference explored whether and how restrictions on scientific research should be imposed. Specific issues addressed included:

  • Should controls on "dual use" technologies (used for positive and illegitimate purposes) be imposed at the research stage before the technologies are developed or at the application stage after the technology is available?
  • How should the current regulatory framework for the control of research risks be modified to address health, safety, social, economic, and ethical concerns about emerging scientific fields?
  • What can and should be the role of scientists in self-regulating scientific research?
  • Is there a constitutional right to conduct scientific research in controversial areas?
  • What is the role and utility of precaution, risk analysis, and technology assessment to foresee the risks of future technologies?
  • What should be the role of the public and local governments in approving scientific research conducted in their communities?

Interdisciplinary panels of experts addressed these issues with the goal of providing some creative models and useful guidance on whether and how scientific research should be regulated.

Day 1 of the conference provided an overview of the issues and discussed the legal and policy context and the limitations of the "right" to conduct scientific research.

Day 2 focused on three case studies that specifically address current or emerging controversies about whether certain types of science should be restricted:

  • Pathogen Research and Biosafety
  • nanotechnology
  • Cognitive Enhancement


January 12, 2006

Gary Marchant
Panel I: Framing "Forbidding Science
Moderator: Jane Maienschein, Director,The Center of Biology & Society, Arizona State University
Leon Kass, Clark Harding Professor, University of Chicago (read by Jane Maienschein)
Roy Curtiss III, Professor of Life Sciences,Arizona State University
Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University
Questions and Answers
Panel II: Is There a Right to Conduct Research?
Moderator: Gary Marchant, College of Law, Arizona State University
Felice Levine, American Educational Research Association)
James Weinstein, College of Law, Arizona State University
Questions and Answers
Evening Speaker:
George Poste, Director, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University
Part 1 Part 2

January 13, 2006

Panel III: Case Study - Pathogen Research / Biosafety
Moderator: George Poste, Director, Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University
Gigi Kwik Grönvall, Center for Biosecurity, University of Pittsburgh
Ronald Atlas, Graduate Dean, University of Louisville
Paul Keim, Cowden Chair in Microbiology, Northern Arizona University
Questions and Answers
Panel IV: Case Study - nanotechnology
Moderator: Daniel Sarewitz, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, Arizona State University
Stuart Lindsay, Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry/Physics & Astronomy, Arizona State University
Hope Shand, Research Director, Erosion, Technology & Concentration Group
W. Patrick McCray, Assoc. Professor & Co-Director, Center for nanotechnology & Society, University of California at Santa Barbara
Questions and Answers
Panel V: Case Study - Cognitive Enhancement
Moderator: Jason Robert, Asst. Professor, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
Nick Bostrum, Future of Humanity Institute, Professor of Philosophy, University of Oxford
Carl Elliott, Center for Bioethics, University of Montana
Adina Roskies, Department of Philosophy, Dartmouth College
Questions and Answers
Panel VI: Prospects for Governing Research
Moderator: Mark Frankel, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Mike Rodemeyer, Exec. Director, Pew Initiative on Food & Biotechnology
Shobita Parthasarathy, Asst. Professor, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
James Wilsdon, Head of Strategy, Demos (UK)
Questions and Answers