Scholars and policymakers continue to struggle over the meaning of the word “vulnerable” in the context of research ethics. One major reason for the stymied discussions regarding vulnerable populations is that there is no clear distinction between accounts of research vulnerabilities that exist for certain populations and discussions of research vulnerabilities that require special regulations in the context of research ethics policies. I suggest an analytic process by which to ascertain whether particular vulnerable populations should be contenders for additional regulatory (...) protections. I apply this process to two vulnerable populations: the cognitively vulnerable and the economically vulnerable. I conclude that a subset of the cognitively vulnerable require extra protections while the economically vulnerable should be protected by implementing existing regulations more appropriately and rigorously. Unless or until the informed consent process is more adequately implemented and the distributive justice requirement of the Belmont Report is emphasized and operationalized, the economically disadvantaged will remain particularly vulnerable to the harm of exploitation in research. (shrink)
In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court made its first major pronouncement on the evaluation of scientific evidence, calling on judges to act as gatekeepers for scientific knowledge and validity, despite lack of scientific training among judges. Daubert offers the science studies community a case study for examining how judges engage in boundary-work and construct scientific validity. In constructing scientific validity under Daubert, judges must evaluate the scientific method behind a particular scientific claim, and will look (...) to the parties' experts and the relevant scientific community for assistance. To combat the oft-cited problem of the battle of the experts, judges may be tempted to obtain assistance from court-appointed neutral experts, an inquisitorial system in the civil law tradition of many European countries. The judicial evaluation of scientific evidence, the resulting construction of scientific validity, and the push for a greater use of court-appointed experts reveal judges' desire to segregate "objective" scientific facts from aspects of the legal process that are infused with adversaries' values. Yet the scientific and judicial construction of validity mixes empirical results and research methods with the personal, political, and institutional values of judges and scientists. (shrink)
As Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) meet in an International Negotiating Body (INB) to negotiate a legally binding agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response for submission to the 77th World Health Assembly in May 2024, this column reflects on creative but pragmatic and complementary means that could be employed in the short timeframe allotted for this important global health law negotiation.
Bering's analysis is inadequate because it fails to consider past and present adult soul beliefs and the psychological functions they serve. We suggest that a valid folk psychology of souls must consider features of adult soul beliefs, the unique problem engendered by awareness of death, and terror management findings, in addition to cognitive inclinations toward dualistic and teleological thinking.
Popper: I do admit that at any moment we are prisoners caught in the framework of our theories; our expectations; our past experiences; our language. But we are prisoners in a Pickwickian sense: if we try, we can break out of our framework at any time. Admittedly, we shall find ourselves again in a framework, but it will be a better and roomier one; and we can at any moment break out of it again.Kuhn: If that possibility were routinely available, (...) there ought to be no very special difficulties about stepping into someone else's framework in order to evaluate it. My critics' attempts to step into mine suggest, however, that changes of framework, of theory, of language, or of paradigm pose deeper problems of both .. (shrink)
In the early 1920s, the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Board was presenting itself as the watchtower of public health for the world at large. Yet Soviet Russia was never included in any of the International Health Board's programs, despite the efforts of the Russians to reach out to the Board. This paper examines the exclusion of Russia as a function of the conceptual and structural lenses through which the International Health Board 'saw' post-revolutionary Soviet public health. It also speculates about (...) the ways in which those who spoke on behalf of Soviet public health contributed to the perceptions of the Board. (shrink)
Early versions of satellite and radiosonde datasets suggested that the tropical surface had warmed more than the troposphere, while climate models consistently showed tropospheric amplification of surface warming in response to human-caused increases in greenhouse gases. We revisit such comparisons here using new observational estimates of surface and tropospheric temperature changes. We find that there is no longer a serious discrepancy between modeled and observed trends in the tropics. Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in (...) the tropical troposphere are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on the use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability and application of an inappropriate statistical “consistency test”.This emerging reconciliation of models and observations has two primary explanations. First, because of changes in the treatment of buoy and satellite information, new surface temperature datasets yield slightly reduced tropical warming relative to earlier versions. Second, recently developed satellite and radiosonde datasets now show larger warming of the tropical lower troposphere. In the case of a new satellite dataset from remote sensing systems, enhancedRSS warming is due to an improved procedure of adjusting for inter-satellite biases. When the RSS-derived tropospheric temperature trend is compared with four different observed estimates of surface temperature change, the surface warming is invariably amplified in the tropical troposphere, consistent with model results. Even if we use data from a second satellite dataset with smaller tropospheric warming than in remote sensing systems RSS, observed tropical lapse rates are not significantly different from those in all model simulations.Our results contradict a recent claim that all simulated temperature trends in the tropical troposphere and in tropical lapse rates are inconsistent with observations. This claim was based on the use of older radiosonde and satellite datasets and on two methodological errors: the neglect of observational trend uncertainties introduced by interannual climate variability and application of an inappropriate statistical “consistency test”. (shrink)
Until recently, the links between Rockefeller philanthropies and Russianscience and medicine during the 1920s have been virtually ignored, both inofficial Foundation histories and in Soviet accounts of foreign scientificrelations. Materials from the newly-opened Russian archives and the Rockefeller Archive Center reveal dense and tangled connections between multiple Rockefeller givers and multiple Russian takers. Examining the `Russian matter' from the perspective of both `givers' and `takers', this article highlights the impact of domestic and international politics on giving and taking across borders, (...) and reveals the range of meanings of`internationalism' in philanthropy. (shrink)
Using state-of-the-art observational datasets and results from a large archive of computer model simulations, a consortium of scientists from 12 different institutions has resolved a long-standing conundrum in climate science—the apparent discrepancy between simulated and observed temperature trends in the tropics. Research published by this group indicates that there is no fundamental discrepancy between modeled and observed tropical temperature trends when one accounts for: the uncertainties in observations; and the statistical uncertainties in estimating trends from observations. These results refute a (...) recent claim that model and observed tropical temperature trends “disagree to a statistically significant extent”. This claim was based on the application of a flawed statistical test and the use of older observational datasets. (shrink)
In December 1927, Alan Gregg,Associate Director of the RockefellerFoundation's Division of Medical Education, setoff from Paris on an exploratory mission toRussia. After a seventeen-day visit, Greggreturned firmly committed to improvingrelations. What did Gregg `see' in the field?Using the briefing book prepared for Gregg, histravel diaries, and his final report, thispaper analyses the social and cognitivedynamics of what became an exercise inFoundation bridge-building.
Terror management theory and research can rectify shortcomings in Atran & Norenzayan's (A&N's) analysis of religion. (1) Religious and secular worldviews are much more similar than the target article supposes; (2) a propensity for embracing supernatural beliefs is likely to have conferred an adaptive advantage over the course of evolution; and (3) the claim that supernatural agent beliefs serve a terror management function independent of worldview bolstering is not empirically supported.