John Stossel s polemic decries the politicization of science

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John StosselIn yesterday s Political Commentary on the blog site Rasmussen Reports, Fox News host and long-time ACSH friend John Stossel bemoans the current state of scientific discourse in America. His take-off point is the 10th anniversary of a tome entitled The Republican War on Science; he counters with his own perspective on various party lines regarding scientific endeavors, positing that an analogous book, The Democratic War on Science, might be just as easy to compose (indeed, we imagine there have already been such published).

His main point is simply that neither ideological perspective has a monopoly on skewing the evidence to suit their own pre-ordained beliefs. This is so obvious it hardly needs to be supported with specifics, and to us it seems to be getting worse by the month (or the week). Stossel mentions right-wing proclivities involving religion- and social-behavior type agendas, including evolution and embryonic stem cells (we could have added sex-ed/abstinence only, among others) while focusing on the left or progressive-liberal biases on GMOs, chemicals, vaccines and nuclear energy. He also laments the increasing trend toward sticking to PC strictures when conducting or even reporting research that might, possibly, be deemed discriminatory towards...well, towards any perceived disadvantaged group or sub-population (while he emphasizes the liberal suppression of studies seemingly un-PC, there are certainly examples to be had among the conservative spectrum as well).
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: Coming to ACSH from clinical medicine 17 years ago, I was astounded to learn first-hand how preconceived notions so often superseded sound, objective scientific investigation and discourse. It seemed that every article, whether peer-reviewed and prospective, or commentary, had to first be evaluated depending on the perceived agenda or goal of the authors. This has gotten only more intense over the years, as political/ideological positions have hardened and compromise, or even the appearance of compromise, can bring forth condemnation from (former) colleagues and friends. This is, perhaps, epitomized by the current divide on climate change/global warming, which surprisingly was not discussed by John Stossel in his piece. When each side in a scientific discussion is certain of being right, devil with the evidence, it is certainly the scientific method and we, the people, who wind up getting the short end of the stick, the unknowing victims of tainted research.