Can Science be Manipulated?

Discussion in 'Creation vs. Evolution' started by Helen, Jul 17, 2003.

  1. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    oh yeah....follow the money....

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030715/03

    July 15, 2003 Previous | Next
    Science in conflictSymposium explores conflicts of interest and the extent of industry influence on scientific findings | By Eugene Russo


    Scientists and industry watchdogs gathered in Washington, D.C. last week to explore egregious cases of industry-led manipulation and distortion of scientific research—and to suggest remedies. The 1-day symposium, held by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is part of a CSPI project called Integrity in Science.

    Project director Virginia Sharpe said that the conference was intended to help CSPI form an action plan for lobbying and advocacy strategies to prevent manipulation and suppression of scientific data, the harassment of scientists reporting potentially industry-damning results, and the raising of evidentiary standards to unreasonable levels. The group also hopes to encourage better conflict of interest policies at journals and to improve disclosure policies and achieve better balance in National Academy of Science and science advisory panels.

    "We do not contend that industry-sponsored research is always bad or that companies should be prohibited from providing input to government agencies," CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson told attendees. "Rather, our aim is to characterize some of the problems that arise when industry influences science and science policy and to identify ways of minimizing those problems."

    Sharpe told The Scientist that the CSPI, a longtime advocate of comprehensive nutrition labels on foods, decided to hold the symposium after investigating the food industry's hiring of scientists.

    Speakers cited several other examples of industry-inspired deception—including the exploits of the tobacco industry, of Exxon corporation following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, of the food industry, the asbestos industry, and the concentrated animal operation feed industries (CAFOs) in states such as North Carolina, where lagoons of animal waste pollute the air and water.

    According to the speakers, several industries have made so-called "junk science"—the publication of their own self-serving research results—common practice. Also common are suppressing or criticizing research that does not support their position and disseminating data or their own risk interpretations directly to the lay press and policy makers.

    Many industries have detailed plans in place to challenge scientific findings as soon as regulations appear that could threaten their bottom line, said David Michaels, a research professor of occupational and health services at George Washington University and a former US assistant secretary of energy for environment, safety, and health.

    The tobacco industry originated the "junk science" movement, Michaels noted. Using the tobacco industry's own documents, Lisa Bero, a professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco, described the ways in which tobacco companies have intentionally manufactured doubt and controversy via their own research findings in the hope of downplaying scientific evidence that illustrates the health risks associated with cigarette smoking and second-hand smoke.

    Predating the tobacco industry, the lead industry used similar tactics to foster doubt, including targeted advertising campaigns, according to Columbia University history professor David Rosner, Gerald Markowitz of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Herbert Needleman, a professor of child psychiatry and pediatrics. The speakers described how the lead industry led a campaign to downplay the dangers and effects of lead paint in children and to discredit associated research and researchers—in particular, Needleman himself. At the symposium, Needleman received CSPI's inaugural Award for Integrity in Science for his "pioneering and courageous contributions to the understanding and prevention of childhood lead poisoning."

    JoAnn Burkholder, a professor of aquatic biology at North Carolina State University, and Steven Wing, an associate professor of epidemiology at University of North Carolina, described how CAFOs have avoided, for the most part, strict legislation that would require cleanup of huge animal waste deposits, which have been scientifically demonstrated to be major threats to air and soil quality in some states. Wing emphasized that those most affected by such pollution are poor persons unlikely to have a voice in government.

    Jeffrey Short, chief chemist for the National Marine Fisheries Service investigation of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, described a series of attacks on government science by Exxon. According to Short, Exxon manipulated data about the extent of the spill to support its claim that much of the seafloor near Alaska was already contaminated by natural oil seeps. Short also cited glaring abuses of scientific peer review, the manipulation of scientific meeting agendas, and abuses of the Freedom of Information Act, which Exxon has used to make very broad requests—including requests for data associated with research still in progress—that slowed studies and interfered with their publication. "It has, in effect, reduced us to being field technicians for Exxon," said Short, who took a leave from his job in order to speak out on the subject.

    Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, argued that many methodologies for screening and detecting toxic chemical agents are so complex and novel that industries have been able to produce data on the rigor of these models without any outside oversight. As a result, said Sass, polluting industries have weakened regulatory standards based on specious data. She recommended, among other things, that a broader array of tests routinely be employed to include effects on in utero exposures, juvenile animals, both sexes, and central nervous system tissues.

    Most speakers also proposed remedies to the problems they described. These included more attention from scientific societies to conflict of science prevention and to the issue of industry pressure; full disclosure from scientists of affiliations with industry, trade associations, unions, and public interest groups; disclosure of the identity of reviewers of industry-sponsored research; further disclosure of internal industry documents to better understand strategies the industries use to influence research study design and conduct; ensuring that all scientists make their data available for public scrutiny; enforcement by journals of standards of scientific misconduct; ombudsmen at universities to help professors pressured by industry; special recognition for scientists who reveal significant research impacts on industry; and legislation to prohibit industries from controlling the publication of findings by nonindustry scientists.

    Tufts University professor of urban and environmental planning Sheldon Krimsky suggested that universities reexamine the very principles on which they're founded and find ways of protecting those principles from compromises made for the sake of amassing larger budgets. Krimsky, who has a book due out this August—titled Science in the Private Interest: Has the Lure of Profits Corrupted Biomedical Research?—worries that industry involvement in scientific research threatens the very notion of scientific objectivity.

    Links for this article
    CSPI Conference on Conflicted Science: Corporate Influence on Scientific Research and Science-Based Policy, July 11, 2003, Washington, D.C.
    http://www.cspinet.org/integrity/conflictedscience_conf.html

    Integrity in Science: A Center for Science in the Public Interest Project
    http://www.cspinet.org/integrity/index.html

    P. Brickley, "Attack on panel politics," The Scientist, March 12, 2003.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030312/01/

    A. Barnett, M. Townsend, "Anger at advisers' biotech links," The Guardian, July 13, 2003.
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,997205,00 .html

    P. Moore, "Damned if they do, broke if they don't," The Scientist, November 11, 2002.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20021111/03/
     
  2. ah_mini

    ah_mini
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Can I ask what the purpose of this article is? It mainly seems to concentrate on the conflict of interest between science and the need to generate profits in large biomed companies (or avoid being sued). I don't quite see what that's got to do with the evolution/creation debate. Unless, you were hoping to smear evolutionary biologists by association??

    I realise I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion. So please can you clarify your reasoning behind posting this?

    Thanks

    Andrew
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    Welcome to the Baptist Board, Andrew!

    I WISH it were just evolutionists involved in this. It is not. Dorothy Nelkin wrote a book called "The Selling of Science" and there are articles popping up rather frequently now in the journals and press about the need to 'clean up' various parts in the scientific process, whether it is the need to publish frequently, publishing rights period, getting grants, etc. etc.

    The problem becomes, for everyone, scientists included, are taking calculated risks when they choose to quote this or that study as a reference. Fossils aren't the only things that are faked for money!

    And second problem is that once something becomes generally accepted, or believed, and especially if it gets printed in a text, then getting it corrected can take 'forever.' There are even those willing to defend the mistakes KNOWING they are mistakes.

    People are losing faith in science because science is NOT self-correcting, even though that claim is made. Corrections usually only come when the cost of NOT correcting something is too great.

    This does not lead to evolutionists per se, but it does lead to the creation/evolution debates. Where is the foundational truth to be found? On what should the interpretations of the data be based? After many years of study and getting to know men and women in the sciences, I have become convinced that, first, without a basic truth to go by, everything is unhinged -- interpretations come by the grab-bag-full. Second, I have learned that every time the Bible is put to the test regarding facts that can be checked which it mentions, the Bible is right. Therefore, I do think that those who look to the Bible for the foundational truths on which to base their interpretations of gathered data are in a far more secure position than those who choose man's ideas.

    The data still sit there. Interpretations can go any number of ways with it. So there needs to be more. There needs to be something trustworthy where science is concerned. Something basic and unmoveable and true.

    Others may choose other things. I have found God is true and right and faithful, and that I can trust Him and the Word He caused to be written and preserved through the ages.

    God can't be manipulated.
     
  4. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,505
    Likes Received:
    40
    Excellent Helen; SLAM DUNK!!
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Elena

    Elena
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    EF I have to disagree with the pervasiveness you attribute to 'faked science'. No scientist worth their salt would ever argue that science is perfect and that all mistakes are corrected immediately. The problem comes because the 'sensation' science is often popularized ny the media wherease the 'corrections' are rarely documented in detail. This is true in almost all popular press releases. It's cool to say "COLD FUSION DISCOVERED: NEW ENERGY SOURCE IN OUR GRASP" and quite another to discuss the fact that these data were not repeatable. Admittedly, in this case the media did pay some attention to the counter arguments, but this is not always true. ALL scientific arguments are challenged. You merely have to read the scientific literature to see this is the case. It's sensational to say things like "THE EARTH FLIPPED AND CAUSED A BIOLOGICAL EXPLOSION".....and quite another to go through the evidence piece by piece to demonstrate that the earth probably did not flip (this is a real case scenario in earth history). It's one thing to say "SNOWBALL EARTH EXPLAINS RAPID RADIATION" and quite another to sift through the evidence piece-by-piece to recognize that the 'hard-snowball' hypothesis is probably not correct (another real case). Science is a slow process. It can take several years to research, write up and get results published. A sensational claim can take years to refute simply due to this fact. News does not generally like to sensationalize 'old news'. Anyway, having worked in a scientific field for some time, I think you are overstating the case for bad science. It's not nearly as common as you suppose.
     
  6. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    And I am willing to say it is far more common than you think, Elena!

    http://www.ncpa.org/pd/budget/pd062499g.html

    http://www.webprowire.com/summaries/255308.html

    http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/cctimes/living/education/6087976.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp

    http://www.mercola.com/2001/jun/6/hepatitis_vaccine.htm

    http://www.osoinc.com/Health9907/23_cancer.html

    http://grounds-mag.com/ar/grounds_maintenance_endocrine_disruptor_researcher/

    http://www.sciencenews.org/20000902/note13ref.asp

    http://www.trussel.com/prehist/news227.htm

    http://www.crossroad.to/News/science.html

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/03/29/ndrug29.xml

    http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/308/308lect10.htm

    Note the following:
    "E.G. The Whistle-blower and the Nobel Prize winner Dr. Margot O'Toole, molecular biologist: questioned work of Nobel Prize winner's paper which included faked data. See article from Statesman. Did the scientific community welcome the opportunity to correct the record and find the truth? No. Shows the personal and institutional barriers scientists face when attempting to question others work. Science is big business!"
    from http://www.utexas.edu/coc/journalism/SOURCE/j363/notes323.html

    There are tons more examples, and they are just the tip of the iceberg. It goes on in every field.
     
  7. Elena

    Elena
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2003
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    EF Well, I am a scientist and I read the literature in some detail and I disagree.
    You are an outsider with a socio-political agenda. I also consider that to be a pertinent fact.
     
  8. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't have an agenda. I am not an outsider. The literature is also available for anyone willing to check.
     
  9. Peter101

    Peter101
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    0
    &gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;I don't have an agenda. I am not an outsider. The literature is also available for anyone willing to check. &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;

    You do have an agenda and most people in the scientific mainstream would not consider you a scientist. But I agree that science can be manipulated. That is precisely what creationists are trying to do, in my opinion.
     
  10. Travelsong

    Travelsong
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    All YEC's have an agenda to force every area of scientific study into the young earth model. All evidence which disagrees with YEC must be ignored or reinterpreted. I have never once seen a YEC look at any of the many evidences and say "hmm, maybe there is something to that".I make this assertion with the full knowledge that it is a blanket statement. But that being said, I don't think Helen is at all divisive or unchristian.In fact I think she is one heck of a Godly sister who is just doing what she believes is right.I may strongly disagree with her, but when all is said and done, I have to say "God bless that woman".
     
  11. ah_mini

    ah_mini
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    Personally, I don't like material like this being posted. I don't think Helen means any malice in it, but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. I don't think anyone here seriously thinks that scientists are perfect, but the intent here is to discredit all scientists by "tarring them with the same brush". Whatever way you look at it, that's just poor apologetics and borders on bearing false witness against the many thousands of dedicated scientists the world over who do practice with integrity.

    Also, I might point out that, through many of the articles posted, there is a strong theme about how these faked results were caught by cross-checks. This strongly contradicts Helen's notion that science is not "self-correcting". This, coupled with the, "oh yeah....follow the money....," intro to the thread, implies to me that an agenda is being pursued.

    I would venture the notion that trying to discredit science like this merely backfires on creationists. It heightens suspicion of the conflict of interests going on at creation science organisations. This would include organisations like the ICR, who obviously have a very strong desire to get results that support literal biblical inerrancy regarding the creation. As a result, should we now reject any ICR claims out of hand, without first examining them for merit?

    Andrew
     
  12. The Galatian

    The Galatian
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2001
    Messages:
    9,687
    Likes Received:
    0
    And ironically, the "junk science" websites generally include creationism in that category.

    Almost always, when you find junk science there's an agenda.
     
  13. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Messages:
    4,087
    Likes Received:
    0
    Scientists are people too. Some are bad. You cannot paint them all into a corner because you find a few behaving badly for personal gain, personal fame, company profits, incompetance, or whatever.

    Else how should we have lost the response to nonbelievers who criticize Christians for the nuts we have running around blowing up abortion clinics and committing crimes while running their religious empires and such.

    We are all people. You can't blame us all for the mistakes of a few.
     
  14. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    An interesting note to this:

    ============

    Friday, July 11, 2003
    By Steven Milloy


    The Center for Science in the Public Interest (search) (aka the “food police”) is holding a big conference in Washington, D.C., July 11 titled, “Conflicted $cience: Corporate Influence on Scientific Research and Science-Based Policy.”





    Though it escapes me how they can assert with a straight face that scientific research funded by corporations is “conflicted” yet scientific research funded by activist groups or the government is not, that is not the topic of this column.

    Suffice to say, scientific research should be judged on its merits, not on who pays for it.

    But I had to chuckle when I saw that one of the conference speakers is the University of Pittsburgh’s Herbert Needleman (search). Not only will Needleman be presenting a talk entitled, “Poisoning our minds: Industry attempts to silence the science of childhood lead poisoning,” but he will be receiving the inaugural “CSPI Award for Integrity in Science in honor of Rachel Carson.”

    Oh my. Where to start? Well, I’ll leave Rachel Carson (search) alone since she’s been debunked many times in this column. CSPI has been addressed in earlier columns on Olestra, Quorn, French fries and potato chips, soda, and pizza, to name a few.

    That leaves Needleman, who gained national attention in 1979 with a study claiming that children’s exposure to low levels of lead harmed their intelligence and behavior. Needleman testified before Congress, and consulted for federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search) and Environmental Protection Agency (search).

    But researchers soon discovered a variety of problems with Needleman’s research, including his failure to report data and results inconsistent with his conclusions.

    An EPA panel first rejected his research, stating that, “the Committee concludes that the study results, as reported in the Needleman paper, neither support nor refute the hypothesis that low or moderate levels of [lead] exposure lead to cognitive or other behavioral impairments in children.”

    Needleman was subsequently accused of scientific misconduct. A full investigation was recommended by a University of Pittsburgh inquiry panel that stated, “… it is doubtful whether [Needleman’s study] represents a fair and accurate ascertainment of the relationship between IQ and [lead levels].”

    After a politically charged O.J. Simpson-like investigation and trial, Needleman was ultimately found not guilty of scientific misconduct.

    But like O.J., he was hardly vindicated.

    As pointed out in the New England Journal of Medicine (search), University of Pittsburgh and federal investigators determined that Needleman’s work involved a “pattern of errors, omissions, contradictions and incomplete information” in the original and subsequent publications.

    The University of Pittsburgh found that Needleman engaged in “deliberate misrepresentation” and “substandard science.” The university referenced Needleman’s dismissal of critics as lead industry representatives and further noted his attempts to intimidate investigators.

    The federal Office of Research Integrity (search) said Needleman’s results were “difficult to explain as honest error.”

    Are you getting the picture? Well, there’s more and it’s particularly ironic since Needleman is featured on the “Silencing Scientists” panel at the CSPI conference.

    In 1990, prior to the misconduct investigation of Needleman, scientists Claire Ernhardt and Sandra Scarr (search) were retained by a defendant in a toxic waste case pursued by the EPA. Needleman had been hired by the Department of Justice on behalf of EPA.

    Because Needleman would be relying on his own data, the court approved the defendant’s request to let its experts examine his data.

    When Ernhardt and Scarr visited Needleman’s office to review the data, he refused them access to his raw data or to a codebook for his computer printouts. What Ernhardt and Scarr were allowed to see, they were not allowed to photocopy. They could only copy by hand page after page of data.

    The Justice Department attorney present at the visit asked Ernhardt and Scarr not to discuss their findings outside the case being tried. Ernhardt refused the request and left the premises.

    Shortly before the case was settled in November 1990, the Justice Department, acting on behalf of Needleman, sought to have Ernhardt and Scarr return or destroy their data and reports.

    Litigation ensued.

    In April 1991, a federal judge ruled in favor of Ernhardt and Scarr stating, “The pursuit of scientific knowledge is, in theory, an open process. There is something inherently distasteful and unseemly in secreting either the fruits or seeds of scientific endeavors … The only harm of prejudice asserted by Dr. Needleman appears to be the risk of academic criticism.”

    I guess the judge had no idea that Needleman might really have feared being investigated for scientific misconduct.

    Steven Milloy is the publisher of JunkScience.com, an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and the author of Junk Science Judo: Self-defense Against Health Scares and Scams (Cato Institute, 2001).

    from
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,91600,00.html
     
  15. mdkluge

    mdkluge
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    One of the imprtant checks in place for preventing undue influence of money on science is the convention (adopted by essentially all scientific Journals and authors) of acknowledging sources of funding supporting the research behind an article.
     
  16. A_Christian

    A_Christian
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2003
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh yes, that really works-------NOT!
     
  17. Xingyi Warrior

    Xingyi Warrior
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2003
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am also a scientist. One of the biggest problems for Christians is the blatent disstrust of science. In my experience the only times the church has made real progress is when they have accepted empirical reasoning and applied it to problems that they have. Today many genuinely menatlly ill people are successfully treated for depression and scizophrenia when not long ago we hurded them into "deliverence seminars" to "cast out their demons". Science is a human invention and as such is not perfect. But science is self correcting. Frauds such as the "piltdown man" were exposed as such BY scientists themselves, not by itinerant Christians who generally, because of their aversion, don't know a whole lot about science. In science you are "guilty until proven innocent - and then still held suspect". That kind of reasoning is hard to follow for Christians who have developed a worldview based on faith. A worldview based on faith in what we hold to be true is of utility in developing a schema of moralistic virtues to live by, but inherently worthless in constructing metyhodologies for finding cures for infectious diseases - one of the goals of science.
     

Share This Page

Loading...