Rigging science doesn’t require a conspiracy

The Oconee Enterprise, January 19, 2017:
Dr. David Lewis

The Hill, a political newspaper and website published in Washington, D.C., warned last week that a vaccination commission President Trump is considering should be ‘inoculated’ against fake science. The author writes: “Despite the numerous, extensive and reproducible tests that prove that vaccinations do not cause autism, some public figures continue to feed conspiracy theories about vaccine safety. Using taxpayer dollars for an inquiry that may perpetuate harmful doubts that are [not] supported by science could have grave consequences for American families.”

A small number of non-government scientists funded by philanthropists have raised concerns about vaccine safety. They are all widely denounced as conspiracy theorists, and put in the same category as people who believe NASA faked the moon landing. Not surprisingly, they have difficulty publishing their work in peer-reviewed scientific journals. And, whenever they manage to publish their research, editors are pressured to retract it.

Faking a moon-landing in the late 1960s and 70s would have required a massive conspiracy involving a multitude of scientists. The Soviet Union and other nations, along with multiple academic institutions, would doubtlessly have produced compelling evidence and exposed any landing that was faked. The nature of scientific research, however, has dramatically changed over the past several decades, especially in institutions that stand to gain funding from supporting government policies.

Dr. Lewis’ article posted in The Oconee Enterprise – Click to enlarge David Lewis

Nowadays, the CDC, EPA and other federal agencies falsify data to support their policies and political goals all of the time. But they do it in ways that don’t involve a giant conspiracy. They just require that scientists have their work reviewed by political appointees prior to publication, use federal grants and cooperative agreements to selectively fund scientists known to support their policies, withdraw funding from scientists who publish unsupportive results, and discredit their opponents with false allegations of ethical or research misconduct.

The Hill warns that grave consequences will result from people spreading scientifically unsupported doubts about vaccine safety. But what if science is simply rigged to support vaccines? President Eisenhower warned in his Farewell Speech that massive federal funding of scientific research threatens America’s future. A steadily increasing share of research, he said, “is conducted for, by, or at the direction of the Federal government.” Domination of the nation’s scholars by the power of federal money, he warned, “is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

Funding aimed at expanding the CDC’s recommended vaccine schedule and promoting vaccine safety flows from Congress to the Executive Branch and on to academic institutions. Interactions I’ve had with scientists inside government and industry leave no doubt in my mind that federal and corporate funding aimed at supporting vaccines has made fudging scientific data problematic. To foster more independent research, the White House should ensure that truly impartial studies are carried out.

The opinions expressed are those of David Lewis, Research Director for the Focus for Health Foundation in Watchung, NJ (focusautism.wpengine.com/davidlewis), author of Science for Sale (Skyhorse Publishing, NY) and CEO of Saxon Road Church Inc. in Watkinsville, Georgia.

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David Lewis, Ph.D.

Former U.S. EPA Research Microbiologist

David Lewis is an internationally recognized research microbiologist whose work on public health and environmental issues, as a senior-level Research Microbiologist in EPA’s Office of Research & Development and member of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Georgia, has been reported in numerous news articles and documentaries from TIME magazine and Reader’s Digest to National Geographic.

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