Pseudoscience: A Threat to Our Environment

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By Roberta C. Barbalace

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21st Century Lysenkoism?

Some of the most qualified scientists in the world have spoken on issues that affect America and the entire world, but nobody in Bush's administration seems to be listening, or if they are listening, they have chosen to ignore their recommendations in favor of recommendations of industry and special interest groups (13, 15, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30). It is a sad reminder of the Stalin years in the Soviet Union. The suppression and distortion of science could have serious consequences for the future of American Research (20) just as it did on scientific research in the Soviet Union. The longer scientific censure is allowed to control public policy and governmental research, the greater the potential of scientists leaving the federal agencies for positions elsewhere that permit them to conduct research in an unbiased atmosphere. They would likely be replaced by less qualified scientists, or those who would be willing to compromise the principles of the scientific method in order to comply with the desired results of the administration. Doctor Margaret Scarlett, who worked with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for 15 years stated, "The current administration has instituted an unheard of level of micromanagement into the programmatic and scientific activities of CDC. We are seeing a clear substitution of ideology for science, and it is causing many committed scientists to leave the agency (33)."

Virtually every scientific agency in the U.S. government has been shaken at its foundation by the substitution of pseudoscience for scientific investigation. If our government is to make sound public policy, true scientific investigation must be allowed and encouraged to flourish untainted by political agendas, industry pressure and the pseudoscience these pressures breed. The U.S. Congress and President must stop sacrificing sound science for shortsighted political agendas and must stop substituting true scientific research with pseudoscience.

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