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April 03, 2014

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Simon Whitney, MD, JD

If Smith were a reporter, nobody would stand in his way. This is why journalists can learn things that scientists can’t; Philip Hamburger has argued persuasively that IRBs function as systems of censorship in “Getting Permission,” at https://www.law.northwestern.edu/lawreview/v101/n2/405/LR101n2Hamburger.pdf.

If the Cornell IRB wants to ensure the safety of graduate students, shouldn’t it be monitoring Smith’s caffeine intake, sleep habits, exercise routine, and drug, alcohol, and sexual behavior? He is safer spending time with his friends the bees than hanging out in a campus nightspot.

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