The repudiation of science | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The repudiation of science

Posted By on Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 1:59 PM

Ernie Dumas is an Arkansas treasure and in the event any of you fail to read his column every week in the Times, I want to plug it here. This week's is about Bush's heartless veto of stem cell legislation, but also about the administration's general elevation of fundamentalist religion over science.

Ideology and narrow religion, not the scientific method, determine the standard of truth. Throughout government, in scientific posts and on scientific advisory councils, real scientists have been dismissed, driven out or marginalized and replaced by religious fundamentalists. Michael Specter related it all in relentless detail in the March 13 New Yorker.

The results are most obvious in medicine. The prevailing doctrine at the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Health and Human Services is that medical breakthroughs should be thwarted if they prevent premarital pregnancy or eliminate disease or death from diseases that might occur as a result of premarital sex. The FDA refuses to make the emergency contraceptive Plan B (the morning-after pill) available over the counter because adolescent girls might get hold of it and have sex without suffering the consequences.

Last month, the FDA finally gave in and approved a vaccine that is 100 percent effective in protecting women against the most prevalent viruses that cause cervical cancer. But evangelical groups want to prevent its widespread use in school immunizations on the theory that if young teens get it they will not be scared of dying some day from cervical cancer and will want to have sex. Bush’s man in charge of the advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control that recommends immunization policies is Reginald Finger, who is connected to Focus on the Family, the most powerful evangelical group. The drug manufacturer is lobbying Finger and Focus on the Family to let the vaccine be used in immunization efforts.

Last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility released a survey of 997 FDA staff members that concluded that science was under attack and struggling at the FDA. Seventeen percent said they had been told to exclude or alter scientific information or their conclusions in FDA documents for nonscientific reasons, and more than 40 percent said they knew of cases where political appointees injected themselves into scientific conclusions.

Having the most anti-intellectual president in history can be entertaining at times, as he demonstrated at the G-8 summit last week, but we pay for it with needless suffering.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (48)

Showing 1-48 of 48

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-48 of 48

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Super Bowl line

    Over to you.
    • Feb 7, 2016
  • The inspiring Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Clinton's campaign for president illustrates again the double standard applied to women. Some writers get it. They even find the supposedly unlikable Clinton inspiring.
    • Oct 16, 2016
  • In Little Rock, Marco Rubio sells American exceptionalism

    This is Rubio's axiomatic answer to Donald Trump's insistence that he and he alone will Make America Great Again: America is the greatest, always has been.
    • Feb 22, 2016

Most Viewed

  • Wendell Griffen calls for rejection of 60th school crisis anniversary events

    Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen wants no part of the planned observance of the 60th anniversary of the Central High crisis. He refuses to be 'pimped' by white supremacists, he said in a Sunday sermon..
  • Trump talks tough at UN

    Donald Trump talked tough at the UN particularly concerning North Korea
  • Judge orders state to release execution drug label

    Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce ruled today in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that the state must disclose labels on drugs it obtained to carry out executions.
  • Medical marijuana by the numbers

    This accounting of interest so far in the new medical marijuana business in Arkansas from KARK/Fox 16's Jessi Turnure at the close of the initial application period for those seeking permits to grow or sell medical marijuana:
  • Latest Obamacare repeal proposal even worse for women

    The Graham-Cassidy bill to undo the Affordable Care Act will be devastating in Arkansas — an overall reduction in Medicaid spending by billions and  a pathway to gutting of premium protection for people already sick are certain to dramatically reduce access to health coverage. But wait. There's more bad news.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation