Not So Silent Summer
The latest Sanity Squad podcast is up.This week, we look at outcome based science, the kind of 'made to order science' that conveniently fits a particular agenda or ideology.
It isn't just global warming that has has come under scrutiny. Recent admissions that the removal of DDT has resulted in the far greater number of deaths by malaria than previously thought, or the massive downward revision of the number of Africans who suffer from HIV/AIDS, are the tip of the iceberg of a scientific and journalistic community for whom a particular ideology trumps the integrity of the science.
Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and credited with founding the modern environmentalist movement is given a free pass on the 'junk science' that has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions- because 'she meant well.'
Presidential candidate John Edwards made tens of millions of dollars because he brought junk science to the courtroom. He claimed that cerebral palsy was caused by poor obstetric and delivery room care, knowing all the while his assertions were untrue. In the process of making himself rich, ripped apart the North Carolina medical care system who now fear the 'junk science' lawsuits. The added costs of malpractice insurance have been passed on to North Carolinians and those added costs. Those costs have impacted those who can least afford it (Edwards is reviled in his home state. In the last election, not only did the local kid not carry his sown state, he couldn't even win in his own county).
Did you know that prostate cancer affects many more men than breast cancer affects women? No? Ask yourselves why? Ask yourselves why there is no outcry when federal research money is disproportionately directed towards breast cancer instead of the far greater problem of prostate cancer
There are parents refusing to immunize their children because they believe- without any supporting scientific evidence- that immunizations cause autism. The parents of some of these children are going to court and suing the makers of vaccines to demand damages despite there being no evidence whatsoever to back up their assertions.
In the podcast, Shrinkwrapped noted that real science is critical, skeptical, analytical and dispassionate. Dr Saniy notes that scientists ought not to be calling press conferences before their work is published. Neo noted that media science writers/journalists have an obligation to present science with a credible and scientific slant.
Then again, why on earth would we expect credible and unbiased science journalists when we can't find credible and unbiased political journalists?
It is a scientific fact that Neo, Dr Sanity, Shrinkwrapped and ourselves will agitate and warm your brain cells faster than an industrial microwave.
The Sanity Squad podcast is recommended by 9 our of 10 brain surgeons, 8 out of 10 rocket scientists and 3 out of 3 thickly accented, blogging, dead German psychiatrists.