Counterfeit scientific controversies in science policy contexts

Abstract
Experts disagree for many reasons and it is generally accepted that there is no `rational' way to make them agree. As Michaels (2008) has demonstrated with regard to the activities of the tobacco industry, however, expert disagreement can be 'manufactured'. This suggests a distinction between 'genuine' and 'counterfeit scientific controversies.' I argue that it is necessary and possible to distinguish between these two forms of expert disagreement. It is important for policy-making to know which disagreements to take seriously. 'Counterfeit scientific controversies' can delay or impede policy-decisions that depend on scientific knowledge. One way for Science & Technology Studies to contribute to science policy-making is to develop a consistent and reliable way to demarcate 'genuine' from 'counterfeit scientific controversies'. This paper proposes four sociologically derived demarcation criteria.
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