I read this article (http://news.yahoo.com/panel-backs-sharing-studies-lab-made-bird-flu-211908237.html) today which I thought raised an interesting issue to discuss. According to the article, scientists in Wisconsin and the Netherlands successfully engineered a bird-flu virus. This lab-made virus might easily spread among humans. The debate began when the U.S. government requested the scientists not publish their work for fear of terrorists using it to create a pandemic. However, publishing the results of this research may help scientists around the world develop vaccines and keep up with the virus’ mutations. Eventually it was decided to partially publish the research, leaving out crucial information that could make it dangerous in the wrong hands.
The larger issue here is should the government be able to censor scientific publications? The free communication of research among science enables collaborative work and speeds scientific advancement, but some advances could be used as weapons. What do you think?