Inconvenient Truth and Inductive Risk in Covid-19 Science
Keywords:Values in Science, Noble Lie, Epistemic Risk, Trust, Public Health Ethics
AbstractTo clarify the proper role of values in science, focusing on controversial expert responses to Covid-19, this article examines the status of (in)convenient hypotheses. Polarizing cases like health experts downplaying mask efficacy to save resources for healthcare workers, or scientists dismissing “accidental lab leak” hypotheses in view of potential xenophobia, plausibly involve modifying evidential standards for (in)convenient claims. Societies could accept that scientists handle (in)convenient claims just like nonscientists, and give experts less political power. Or societies could hold scientists to a higher bar, by expecting them not to modify evidential standards to avoid costs only incidentally tied to error.
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