Science plays a crucial role in much personal and societal decision making, including the development of public policy and regulations, the forumulation the development, and the preservation of public end environmental health. Nevertheless, recent scholarship has shown that the incorporation of science into public decision making in fraught with a great deal of complexity. This essay introduces two special sections of Public Affairs Quarterly (appearing in July 2017 and October 2017), which together explore cutting-edge questions about how science can be used responsibly to inform socictal decisions. The articles in these sections examine how to respond productively to scientific dissent and how to develop regulatory and legal institutions that treat science with appropriate respect without granting inappropriate decision-making power to the scientific community.

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