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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  February 2007

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE February 2007

Subject:

Re: Anti-Science Left

From:

Jonathan Campbell <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 17 Feb 2007 10:37:45 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (118 lines)

 Jose says in conclusion:

"I would have to ask, what is to be done about the anti-science left?"

I have an easy answer: like in all free and democratic societies, kill them
all. Or at least, stick them all in prison and throw away the key, for they
are very dangerous indeed, because people who question cherished beliefs
cause confusion, and we can't tolerate confusion. We'll call it the American
Inquisition. Torquemada was right.

All kidding aside, hasn't anyone read the mountains of good scientific
research leading to the questioning of some of ideas held so dearly by our
so-called "reason-based society" in which we live? Why do Peter Duesberg,
Kari Mullis, Linus Pauling, and Matthias Rath, great scientists, suddenly
become the scum of the earth because they question hypotheses that have
become thought about as scientific fact. For god sakes, Pauling was the
discoverer of the nature of chemical bonds (for which he received the Nobel
Prize in Chemistry) and the person behind the ban on atmospheric testing of
nuclear weapons (for which he received the Nobel Prize for Peace), but he's
suddenly a quack because he says vitamin C is good for you (with much
evidence, I might point out). Duesberg is a prize-winning retrovirologist,
but suddenly his name is mud because he questions the HIV/AIDS hypothesis
(with much evidence, I might point out). Rath discovers in the late 1980s
the real nature of cardiovascular plaque, and the trail leads to the
discovery that the Goldstein hypothesis of cardiovascular disease is wrong
(with much evidence, I might point out, including clinical lab tests), and
he's marginalized. He attempts to provide a naturopathic treatment for AIDS
to people in South Africa, based on the same research (his own) on which the
pharmaceutical industry manufactures synthetic protease inhibitors (they are
all analogues of lysine and proline), and he's denounced.

So who is the anti-science left? Was Galileo right in questioning that the
earth was the center of the universe? He didn't have very much evidence.

Or is Michael Balter the anti-science left, trivializing and denouncing
those who question cherished hypotheses and the corporate forces in our
society that benefit from them?

Jonathan

----- Original Message -----
From: ""Josť F. Morales"" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:00 AM
Subject: Anti-Science Left


> Folks,
>
> To me this is a broader issue. This is an issue of another social force,
> albeit small -- the left, working to question and undermine through
> various issues, the foundation of a reason based society.
>
> From the other end of the political spectrum, various books like Chris
> Mooney's The Republican War on Science followed how the ideology of the
> corporate and Christian right sectors, lead their treatment of the facts.
> Their ends determined how they would deal with the evidence available to
> them. This is what is contrary to an evidence-based politics...an
> "anti-evidence" politics if you will. That's what leads various observers
> and scientists to decry the right. Some even say that the FAR Christian
> right wants to lead us to a pre-enlightenment era of feudal theocracy. OK,
> you all know this, but I also see something similar from the other side.
>
> I think some left wingers are also practitioners of an anti-evidence
> politics. In sum, they are the anti-science left. I've run across them in
> various venues in my travels in environmental justice work that I've been
> involved in since the late 80's. Just as for the right, their ideology
> leads their treatment of the evidence available.
>
> Anything that even appears to stand against what they value or contradicts
> their positions is to be opposed or at least open to question. Anything
> that opposes or questions their adversaries has legitimacy (ie.
> acupuncture, anti HIV folks vs. medical establishment). They'll hang
> their hat on the most flaky practices or positions with the the most
> meager, poor quality supporting evidence as long as it stands in
> opposition to their adversaries.
>
> To me, this is as bad as the right wing anti-science forces. I think that
> they, from the other end, chip away at the enlightenment foundation of our
> society right along with corporatists and Christians on the other end.
>
> I think a way to get to the bottom line to ask these guys, does evidence
> lead ideology or does ideology lead evidence?
>
> I'll give you folks an example of this kind of test that my thesis advisor
> (another red diaper baby) gave me during graduate school. He knew I was a
> progressive and had worked on civil and human rights in the Latino
> community in NYC, he also knew I was an early proponent of environmental
> justice even when the name wasn't coined. So he asked me what if
> researchers had completed a study and found that white people were of
> superior intelligence to people of color, would I believe the conclusions?
> What if the study was rock solid, completely water tight. Then I went
> through a series of questions and caveats and he replied yes this study
> took that into account. Ultimately, the idea was that all possible
> criticisms from all corners (people of color, civil libertarians etc.)
> were taken into account and controlled for. Would I believe it? I said,
> well if all these possible concerns and questions were taken into account
> and controlled for, I'd have to believe that all white people are of
> superior intelligence to all people of color. He said, OK you will be a
> good scientist. I took that to mean that if the evidence stood contrary
> to one of my most treasured beliefs, and I still believed in it, then
> evidence led ideology.
>
> I think that many members of the left would fail this test. If they do,
> they are of the anti-science left. I don't know what that makes them, but
> I know I don't agree with them. Further, people with these views, and
> WBAI and KPFA are chock full of them, can adversely affect many people
> especially on health related matters. Not as many as the right can
> thankfully!
>
> I would have to ask, what is to be done about the anti-science left?
>
> J
> --
> |||///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\|||O|||///\\\///\\\///\\\///\\\|||
> Jose Morales Ph.D.
>

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