We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Perhaps the most aggressive and outlandish attacks against science are attempts to inject value-driven methods into traditional science. Two academics at British universities, Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, came up with the concept of “post-normal science,” a decision-making tool for situations when "facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high, and decisions are urgent." That is not the realm of science, but of politics. After all, who is to decide whether decisions are so “urgent” that they must be made even when “facts are uncertain?”
Another ruse for promoting political agendas under the guise of using science is the “precautionary principle.” That principle is summarized as “[W]hen an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” On the surface, this almost sounds reasonable, yet it is really just another deception to insert subjective values into the scientific process.
As they say in The Program, "Feelings aren't facts."
My only objection is the phrase "starting to" in the subheading. I was at a lecture 10+ years ago at NASA GSFC where this very thing was being discussed, the focus then was an assault on biology by deconstructionists.
Nevertheless, the points made here are outstanding, and need to be spread widely.
Dr. Everett V. Scott
Another issue that has undermined the credibility of scientists is that about 12 months ago there was a study of peer reviewed scientific journals that pointed out an noticeable increase in the number of articles that are recanted, more so than in the past. I suspect the pressure to be first leads to premature publishing along with the “publish or perish” imperative, especially in this economy. At least , I hope that’s the reason and not outright sloppiness or outright misrepresentation.
Science, as well as the rest of academia, is an industry and its products are commodities. It's all about the revenue stream. Scientists, et al, are just as subject to human foibles as the rest of us. It must be difficult to resist tweaking the data to present a clearer, more compelling, and coherent narrative.
Then there's the concept of 'relative poverty', which was sometime back being argued into the social science book. Past the jargon, it boiled down to, there'll always be a need to help the poor, even if they're all fabulously wealthy, so long as there's four quintiles (or some like) above them.