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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Apr > Apr 29

Re: Science Denial In The 21St Century

From: William Treurniet <wtreurniet.nul>
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:17:33 -0400
Archived: Sun, 29 Apr 2012 08:11:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Science Denial In The 21St Century

>Source: ScienceNews.Org


>Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

>Science Denial In The 21St Century
>By Nathan Seppa

>MADISON, Wis. =97 The arc of science has faced roadblocks for
>centuries, but the pattern of denying the weight of evidence has
>taken on new virulence recently. Highly motivated people openly
>cast doubt on well-established evidence =97 the theory of
>evolution, the human effects on climate change, the value of
>vaccines and other findings that have achieved an overwhelming
>consensus in the scientific community.

>Researchers and science writers tasked with reporting on these
>issues gathered April 23--24 at the University of Wisconsin at a
>meeting titled, =93Science Writing in the Age of Denial.=94 Some
>noted that seemingly spontaneous denial of science in the
>populace is quite often a carefully choreographed attack.

When it comes to public policy based on science, the public is
typically treated like children with no ability to judge the
evidence for themselves. The "weight of evidence" is rarely
presented in a form accessible to the public, and in some cases,
there is reason to believe that it may not even exist. This is
especially true when big money wants public policy to go a
certain way.

This was evident in the recent push to vaccinate against the
H1N1 flu virus. No comprehensive studies about safety and
effectiveness could have been available because of time
constraints, yet we were told to believe it was safe and
effective. Again, we were treated like children. If the evidence
existed, why didn't public health officials show it to us?

I found a study published in 2006 on the effect of seasonal flu
vaccinations on hospital admittances in Ontario, Canada, over
several consecutive years which showed that there was no effect.
But much was made after the fact of the study's possible
limitations, arguing that the conclusion should be ignored. This
elimination of the evidence that contradicted public policy was
followed in the same article by the recommendation that people
should still be vaccinated. Another study published in 2006 from
the USA concluded that "the yearly U.S. mass influenza
vaccination campaign has been ineffective in preventing
influenza in vaccine recipients".

If Nathan Seppa is looking for reasons why there is "science
denial in the 21st century", perhaps it is this paternalistic
attitude that is responsible. If there is a "pattern of denying
the weight of evidence", it may be because there is often little
evidence presented. Overwhelming consensus is not evidence.
Scientists have a responsibility to explain their conclusions
and make the reasoning accessible, especially when people are
directly affected.

And to bring it home to us, the same paternalistic attitude in
the science community itself about what is proper to study, may
account in part for the denial of UFOs as a worthwhile
phenomenon. I personally encountered this impediment from a
university department chairman many years ago when I expressed
interest in doing graduate research in parapsychology.


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