Since the days of Senator William Proxmire's Golden Fleece awards, often given to laboratory projects he considered a waste of taxpayers' money, scientists and politicians have found themselves on opposite sides of a fundamental issue: how much control should government have over the research it pays for? The debate has become particularly bitter since last spring, when a Congressional committee investigating “scientific misconduct” enlisted Secret Service agents to examine the notebooks of Thereza Imanishi-Kari, a scientist who collaborated with David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate in medicine, on a paper describing immunology experiments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In this essay, reprinted from The New York Times of 30 July 1989, Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard geology professor, gives his view of the issue. © The New York Times Company.
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