The Public Interest

Intelligence and the social scientist

Leon R. Kass

Summer 1995

ONCE upon a time, before science and society got into bed together, serious attention was given to the question of dangerous knowledge. First it was an issue between philosophy and the city (e.g., Athens against Socrates), later between science and biblical religion (e.g., the Church against Galileo). Keenly aware of knowledge’s power to harm as well as help, even the great founders of modern science advocated self-censorship and practiced the art of veiled writing, not only to avoid persecution, but also to protect those who might be harmed by their “dangerous” truths. 

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