J. D. Heyes
October 15, 2013
With increasing frequency, legitimate scientific data is being squelched in favor of junk science created out of whole cloth by co-opted “researchers” who have become addicted to corporate and government money – funding that always comes with a predetermined set of “conclusions” that said researchers must agree with in order to continue on the dole.
That’s unfortunate, because not only do such antics tarnish the field of science, but they also deny the general public access to important data and information which could dramatically improve their lives.
The proper role of science is explained by Professor Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser at the UK’s Department for Environment, who says scientists should be “the voice of reason, rather than dissent, in the public arena,” but too many of them have literally been bought off to fulfill that function.
Writing for The Guardian newspaper in Britain, George Monbiot laments this confluence of profit-motivated science, in his own country and elsewhere:
Boyd’s doctrine is a neat distillation of government policy in Britain, Canada and Australia. These governments have suppressed or misrepresented inconvenient findings on climate change, pollution, pesticides, fisheries and wildlife. They have shut down programs that produce unwelcome findings and sought to muzzle scientists. This is a modern version of Soviet Lysenkoism: crushing academic dissent on behalf of bad science and corporate power.
Keep quiet and go along – or be ostracized
In an online journal, Boyd argued that, if scientists ever do speak freely, they often create a conflict between themselves and the government/corporate ruling class, which leads to a “chronically deep-seated mistrust of scientists that can undermine the delicate foundation upon which science builds relevance.” This, in turn, “could set back the cause of science in government.”
As such, he says they should avoid “suggesting that policies are either right or wrong.” If they find they must speak, they should do so through “embedded advisors” in the press and elsewhere and be the voice of reason rather than dissent “in the public arena.”
Monbiot continues on this strategy:
Shut up, speak through me, don’t dissent – or your behavior will ensure that science becomes irrelevant. Note that the conflicts between science and policy are caused by scientists, rather than by politicians ignoring or abusing the evidence. Or by chief scientific advisers.
A world in which scientists speak only through minders and in which dissent is considered the antithesis of reason is a world shorn of meaningful democratic choices. You can judge a government by its treatment of inconvenient facts and the people who expose them. This one does not emerge well.
Nowhere has junk science been so employed than in the realm of “climate change” and genetically modified foods, and not simply in other Western democracies. The junk has also come from U.S. “researchers.”
Real science suffers as do the people
When a California proposition that would have required labeling on all GM foods was brought up in 2012, corporations like Monsanto and Cargill – both of which are heavily invested in GMOs - brought out the big guns to defeat the measure. And they used university “research” to do so.
NN’s Jonathan Benson explained:
The latest bit of propaganda pushing such nonsense comes out of the University of California, Davis, where two professors recently put out an industry-funded study that claims that California’s Proposition 37 ballot measure, which will require labeling of GMOs at the retail level, will cost the food industry more than $1 billion. And this increased cost; they claim, will ultimately lead to higher food costs for consumers.
The propaganda piece, a 48-page “report” entitled, “A Costly Regulation with No Benefits,” didn’t even bother to use an ounce of real science to claim that GMO labeling would hurt the food industry and consumers. Just scare tactics and intimidation.
Such tactics are, unfortunately, all too prevalent in today’s government-corporate societies. That means real science, and the benefits it would bring to people, suffers.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 4:52 am