The Use and Abuse of Science

  • Paul Needham
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 423)


Moral issues concerning the use and abuse of science are broached in this chapter. Scientists have responsibilities to conduct their research in such a way as to respect and acknowledge the contributions of others and to present their work honestly and without seeking to avoid criticism by misleadingly overestimating random error. The onus on scientists of a wider social responsibility for informing the public and guiding decision makers is also discussed, together with the reciprocal responsibilities of decision makers to ensure that they are informed and able to understand the bearing of new knowledge.


  1. Arp, H. C., Furböridge, G., Hoyle, F., Narlikar, J. V., & Wickramasinghe, N. C. (1990). The extragalactic universe: An alternative view. Nature, 346, 807–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Babbage, C. (1830). Reflections on the decline of science in England. London: B. Fellows; Reprinted Gregg International, Farnborough, 1969.Google Scholar
  3. Benveniste, J. (1988). Dr. Jacques Benveniste replies. Nature, 334, 291.Google Scholar
  4. Brush, S. G. (1989). Prediction and theory evaluation: The case of light bending. Science, 246, 1124–1129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Collins, H., & Pinch, T. (1998). The Golem: What you should know about science (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Davenas, E., et al. (1988). Human basophil degranulation triggered by very dilute antiserum against IgE. Nature, 333, 816–818. See also editorial comment, p. 787 and subsequent discussion, 334, 285–291.Google Scholar
  7. Earman, J., & Glymour, C. (1980). Relativity and eclipses: The British eclipse expeditions of 1919 and their predecesssors. Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 11, 49–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Franklin. A. (1986). The neglect of experiment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Galileo, G. (1638 [1954]). Dialogue concerning two new sciences (trans: Crew, H., de Savio, A.). New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  10. Kitcher, P. (2001). Science, truth and democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Klotz, I. M. (1980). The N-ray affair. Scientific American, 242, 122–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lang, S. (1998). Challenges. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maddox, J., Randi, J., & Stewart, W. W. (1988). ‘High-dilution’ experiments a delusion. Nature, 334, 287–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Metzger, H., & Dreskin, S. (1988). Only the smile is left. Nature, 334, 375. See also editorial comment, p. 367.Google Scholar
  15. Naylor, R. (1974). Galileo’s simple pendulum. Physis, 16(1974), 32–46.Google Scholar
  16. Newman, W. R. (1996). The alchemical sources of Robert Boyle’s corpuscular philosophy. Annals of Science, 53, 567–585.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Settle, T. B. (1961). An experiment in the history of science. Science, 133, 19–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Westfall, R. S. (1980). Never at rest: A biography of Isaac Newton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. White, H. O. (1938). Plagiarism and imitation during the English renaissance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Needham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of StockholmStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations