ISSUE-001

Governments should place few, if any, restrictions on scientific research and development.


Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.


In today's society, the strength of a nation and the level of research are closely linked. Governments need to support scientific research, but they must also balance it with other development needs. Therefore, the State must support scientific research, but not without limits and conditions.


We must acknowledge that if the government restricts the development of science and technology, there will be some negative consequences. This is because politicians are not scientifically literate and are often influenced by equally scientifically illiterate interest groups on all sides of society to enact various ill-advised policy restrictions that hinder scientific development. For example, out of popular pressure, the U.S. government was forced to shelve the Large Quantum Collider (LHC), which it had planned to build in the 1990s, and then was snatched up by European countries to be successfully built.


However, with the right approach, the government can circumvent the above-mentioned problems when it comes to imposing restrictions on science and technology. This is because while politicians do not understand science, the government is bound to listen to a large number of scientific experts when making rules. Moreover, government funding is limited and the demand for scientific research is unlimited, so certain rules are bound to be involved; furthermore, scientific research is not without risk, so for the overall consideration of social development, the government also needs to make some rules to guide the development of scientific research. Specifically, the government can reasonably limit science without compromising social progress by making rules in the following ways.


First, there are funding constraints. For one, many people question the timeliness of some basic scientific research, believing that there is huge uncertainty as to whether certain research will be successful, and if so, whether it will be widely used. Society needs funding on all fronts, so such research that has no practical significance should not be supported. Second, however, the serious problem of academic adulteration that exists today must be limited. Government support for research is often determined by some objective criteria, such as the number of citations in the research literature. The result of this peer review is that many research warlords lead a school of scholarship and internally cite each other's research of very low value, thereby increasing the influence of that research and obtaining government funding. This results in really important research not being funded. It seems hard to think of any good solutions at the moment, but this has to be a problem that the government tries to solve in the future.


Second, prohibitions. The government's bottom line for scientific research should be that it does not undermine the basic ethical order of society, so research that poses serious risks in this regard must be completely banned from policy, meaning that the government will not fund it, nor will it allow any organization or individual to fund such research. For example, human cloning raises identity issues and possible religious controversies; AI technology cannot be developed that infringes on human interests; and human live experiments are even less free to break free. Of course, there is reason to believe that this is extremely short-sighted, at least for the major powers. The United States, for example, still enjoys to this day the enormous benefits of being the first country to achieve nuclear fission. The next similar study is controlled nuclear fusion, and any country that is the first to master it will almost certainly become the world's number one power for some time. It would be an extremely foolish move for a major power to abandon basic research because of shortsightedness. Moreover, the practical application value of much of the critical research is almost impossible to determine at the outset. For example, no one could have foreseen the value of relativity at the outset, but now we know the value of GPS when we look at it.


In short, research must not break the human bottom line and the government must limit such research. At the same time, research that would pose a threat to human security at this stage must be cited with restrictions. However, the government should encourage the development of basic research, which is a great help for the long-term development of a country.

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