The Sound of Science: When Ideology Trumps Evidence

The people who brought you terminological inexactitudes like “death tax,” “the clear skies initiative” and “mission accomplished” have now polluted the language of science. Any research finding they agree with (which isn’t much) is labeled as “sound science”and any research finding they disagree with (which is much) is labeled “junk science.”

Finally, a major news outlet, Knight Ridder Newspapers, is exposing the rhetorical perversions, example by example. Previously, author and Chris Mooney did so quite effectively in the book “The Republican War Against Science.”

There ought to be plenty of room to argue about what constitutes a valid scientific conclusion, but in the end, science policy must be based on evidence, not on the mudslinging of industry-backed lobbyists and modern day Know Nothings who, when they don’t like a real study, go out and create their own.

When ideology trumps evidence, the process isn’t sound science at all. It’s just the sound of science.

1 COMMENT

  1. In a New York courtroom late last month, the chief of the new drugs division of the FDA and a long-time government employee, Steve Galson, reportedly testified in a deposition that he and Janet Woodcock, another long-time federal employee, were cut out of the picture by acting commissioner Lester Crawford when the administration overrode an outside advisory committee and vetoed Plan B, the morning-after birth control pill. Why did Crawford do that? One thing we know about him is that he is under investigation for financial improprieties allegedly involving selling stock in a firm regulated by the FDA while he ran the agency.

    Heretofore, the administration’s ignoring the science supporting Plan B has been tied to pressure from the religious right. Yet we know Exxon Mobil and its ilk are behind the attack on global warming science. Is there a financial angle to the Plan B as well? That court suit, brought by the liberal Center for Reproductive Rights, merits watching.

    Merrill Goozner

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