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The Republican Plan to Invalidate Scientific Research

The Republican Plan to Invalidate Scientific Research

How are Republicans attempting to squash scientific facts that challenge their own agendas? By funding and generating alternate research that backs up their claims instead. More than a dozen conservative senators are currently calling for an end to disclosure rules so that biased scientific studies can be presented as fact without having to acknowledge who paid for the research, writes The Daily Beast.

Remarkably, the existing disclosure regulations are tame. The government allows corporate-funded science to be discussed, even in the context of debates that would directly impact these specific corporations. The one caveat is that when this research is shared, the presenters must disclose how the research was funded in order to divulge conflicts of interest.

Considering that many people will willfully ignore the identity of the research’s backers anyway, this is a minor concession in an effort to promote a small amount of transparency. Nonetheless, 16 GOP U.S. senators actively object to even this slight amount of transparency.

The issue came to a head when the silica industry wanted to provide the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with research that showed its product to be safe. In order to do so, silica reps also had to report what entities funded the research they were offering as evidence. The senators sent a letter to the OSHA calling the agency to rescind the backer request as it may cause them to “prejudge the substance” of the research.

In other words, the senators wanted the silica industry’s own research to be considered on equal footing with research that was less likely to be biased. If the OSHA were to be wary of the silica industry’s findings, that doesn’t seem like an unreasonable outcome.

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, is leading the charge to rescind disclosure requirements. According to a member of Alexander’s staff, “the chilling effect the financial disclosure could have seems counter to the idea of robust inclusion of a diverse set of ideas and views to inform the rule-making.”

Ah, yes. The old “both sides of the story need to be presented” argument. While that’s good in principle, when the “other” side of the story is a fabricated, biased one, why does that deserve comparable consideration? If private interests can pay to make “fake science” indiscernible from and on equal footing with real science in the eyes of lawmakers, then there’s no hope for real science at all.

Decades ago, the tobacco industry used “research” of its own to keep cigarette regulations at bay. By presenting alternative results to legitimate medical studies, cigarette companies were able to keep the debate alive for years longer than it should have.

If even minor research disclosure requirements are successfully stripped from government procedure, look for even more pseudo-science to emerge to back conservative ideals. With peer-reviewed scientific research almost unanimously supporting human-created climate change, you can bet that the more than 50% of Republican members of Congress who continue to reject global warming would be happy to introduce some questionably funded research as scientific “fact” in order to support their views.

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201 comments

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10:35AM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

I really feel sorry for your patients. Are you this dogmatic, and arrogant, when you are confronted with different opinions? You call me a nut, because I want to shut down dirty coal plants, and natural gas fracking operations that pollute our air and water? In addition, you support our use of dirty polluting oil. The upfront pollution form sludge used to make solar panels, and the bird deaths from wind turbines is nothing compared to the human and animal deaths caused by dirty coal use, natural gas fracking, and our use of dirty polluting oil. You deny the overwhelming science that GW is anthropogenic, even though 97% of the world's climate scientist agree that humans are causing GW by our use of dirty fossil fuels. You are not a climate scientist. You are the one who is the nut. Perhaps the mercury poisoning from dirty coal emissions has damaged your brain.

11:17AM PDT on Apr 7, 2014

Rainbow Your statement that Greenpeace is a terrorist organization is further proof of your ignorance. Many Greenpeace activist from around the world have died standing up to big corporate polluters who you support. Greenpeace has never killed anybody, as you suggested On the contrary Greenpeace activist have paid for their beleifs with their lives.

4:41AM PDT on Apr 7, 2014

Rainbow Your the one who is delusional. Your denial of the overwhelming science that proves GW is anthropogenic, and your acceptance of our use of dirty coal oil, and natural gas, with it's fracking issues, proves that you are a shill for the dirty fossil fuel industry.

8:05PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

I suggest everyone have a look at this

Put these words in the search box for google or whatever search engine you use.

Those involved have lied, and altered reports to reduce the reality of the level of exposure, the number of people exposed rose from 0 to 13 to 25. And as usual those in charge have lied and cherry picked what they would report about it. The farther away you get from Feb 14 when it happened, the worse it gets.

Recent leak of radioactivity in New mexico 2 14 14

7:27PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Hi Brian :)

From what I understand, we may have ways of dealing with radioactive waste. The first problem is that part of the process for high-energy waste, separating out the highly radioactive part that can be fed back into a reactor from the regular heavy-metal waste, involves so much of the same infrastructure as bomb-development that there are agreements not to do it. The second problem, to which a technical solution may be found, is that after an accident, the waste is not in a properly controlled environment and very difficult to safely manipulate. Most likely, with changes in technology and laws, the "waste" will become a valuable commodity in far less than the thousands of years that people plan on storing it.

For the low-energy waste, there is an existing solution which gets the last bit of energy out and converts it into a very effective construction-material (strong and easy to mold). From what I understand there are now buildings safely in use, built from low-energy waste.

7:05PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Proof positive of that delusional disorder. He doesn’t live in reality and never will.

7:03PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

The republican view is very simple: it's not science if they don't care to believe it. Or if it costs them or the corporations-that-are-now-people money.

5:46PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Stephen Your acceptance of nuclear power is also very disturbing. Fukushima continues to release radioactive waste into the Pacific ocean. Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union, in what is now the Ukraine, will continue to be a hazardous waste site, for a million years according to scientist. In addition to the danger, deadly radioactive nuclear waste must be stored for 250,000 years. We do not have any available areas to store this dangerous radioactive nuclear waste. Using nuclear power is unacceptable. Solar. Wind, and geothermal power are much cheaper, use no water, and produce no deadly dangerous nuclear waste, which music be stored for 250,000 years.

4:57PM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Rainbow Your argument sounds like the tobacco companies that paid lawyers to testify in DC, that tobacco doesn't cause cancer. We all know the tobacco company lawyers lied about everything. You are not a climate scientists and know nothing about climate science. The overwhelming evidence is screaming at us that humans are destroying this earth and GW deniers like you dispute the overwhelming science even though you are not a climate scientists Then you advocate the use of dirty coal, oil natural gas. You probably thought the earth was flat after Galileo proved it was round You are completely delusional and brainwashed by your pro dirty fossil fuel adherence. Why don't you stick to your profession and let people who are actually climate scientists, decide what the facts are pertaining to GW.

10:35AM PDT on Apr 6, 2014

Stephen, he will not get it. As most people who are so blinded by religion they don’t care who they harm in order to assuage their fears. Case in point, I see vegans starve their children to death or almost and they don’t see what the problem is. Fortunately more jurisdictions are banning extreme diets for children.

Like Brian most extremist either suffer from delusional disorder or criterion A schizophrenia. Or they are just trying to profit from others.

Now back to your regularly scheduled sermon…

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