Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Great expectations—ethics, avian flu and the value of progress
  1. Nicholas G Evans1,2
  1. 1School of Philosophy, ANU, Canberra, Australia
  2. 2Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Nicholas G Evans, Level 1, 10-12 Brisbane Ave, Barton, ACT 2600, Australia; Nick.evans{at}


A recent controversy over the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity's recommendation to censor two publications on genetically modified H5N1 avian influenza has generated concern over the threat to scientific freedom such censorship presents. In this paper, I argue that in the case of these studies, appeals to scientific freedom are not sufficient to motivate a rejection of censorship. I then use this conclusion to draw broader concerns about the ethics of dual-use research.

  • Technology/Risk Assessment
  • Social Control of Science/Technology
  • Scientific Research
  • Public Health Ethics

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.