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Using Metascience to Improve Dose‐Response Curves in Biology: Better Policy through Better Science

Kristin Shrader‐Frechette
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 71, No. 5, Proceedings of the 2002 Biennial Meeting of The Philosophy of Science AssociationPart II: Symposia PapersEdited by Sandra D. Mitchell (December 2004), pp. 1026-1037
DOI: 10.1086/426772
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/426772
Page Count: 12
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Using Metascience to Improve Dose‐Response Curves in Biology: Better Policy through Better Science
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Abstract

Many people argue that uncertain science—or controversial policies based on science—can be clarified primarily by greater attention to social/political values influencing the science and by greater attention to the vested interests involved. This paper argues that while such clarification is necessary, it is not a sufficient condition for achieving better science and policy; indeed its importance may be overemphasized. Using a case study involving the current, highly politicized controversy over the shape of dose‐response curves for biological effects of ionizing radiation, the paper argues that the conflict could be significantly resolved through specific methodological improvements in the areas of metascience and philosophy of science. These improvements focus on taking account, respectively, of scale, data trimming, aggregation, measurability, and simplicity.

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