Discover more from Culturcidal by John Hawkins
How Bad Scientists Have Damaged the Credibility of Science
Scientists with Compromised Ethics
Many Americans have always had a little too much faith in scientists because they’ve bought into the mythology of the scientist as an extremely intelligent, dispassionate observer who only wants to find the truth and advance our knowledge of the world. At their best, this is actually a pretty good description of what scientists do and certainly, some scientists live up to this myth. However, scientists are also human beings and human beings can be liars, hungry for fame, and can put their own personal glory, pocketbook, or political ends ahead of the means.
Put another way, there are ethics involved in science and if those ethics are compromised, science will be, too.
Now here’s the reality… scientific ethics have been deeply compromised in many areas in this country for a long time because science has become so incredibly expensive to conduct that people with “skin in the game” are funding a lot of research. Most research is funded by governments, universities, and corporations, all of whom are often anything but unbiased, impartial observers who just want to get to the truth. If you’re being funded by someone with an agenda, you’re not going to keep getting funded unless you further that agenda.
For example, take something like cell phones that are almost ever-present in our society. You will hear some people laugh off the idea that they have caused significant harm to human beings and others, mostly in the functional medicine space, say they believe it’s likely cell phones damage human beings. So, what’s the answer? The honest answer, is we don’t know for sure, although I’d say the scientific evidence leans in favor of them being bad for people:
“It’s a slog at the moment to convince people this isn’t just crazy stuff,” said Louis Slesin, an MIT-trained environmental policy Ph.D. and the editor of Microwave News, an industry newsletter that has chronicled the wireless-radiation debate for four decades. “This is part of the organized campaign to devalue the science, with the government as a co-conspirator. The other really important factor is nobody wants to hear this because everybody loves the technology. If you shut down people’s phones, the country would come to a stop.”
But a growing body of international research asserts that there is reason to worry about harms — many of them unrelated to cancer — from wireless radiation. Henry Lai, an emeritus professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, has compiled a database of 1,123 peer-reviewed studies published since 1990 investigating biological effects from wireless-radiation exposure. Some 77% have found “significant” effects, according to Lai. By contrast, an earlier review by Lai found that 72% of industry-sponsored studies reported no biological effects.
Now, I’m not about to take you down some rabbit hole where I claim cell phones are responsible for a dozen horrible things, but I would say that we don’t really have a definitive scientific answer to how healthy or unhealthy a lot of very common things are for us. I would include cell phones, food additives, aluminum foil, seed oils, chemicals in our water in some places, deodorant, micro-plastics, and BPA on receipts among other things on that list.
On the one hand, people will poo-poo that kind of thing without putting much thought into it because they errantly assume government bureaucrats are strictly regulating the corporations that will often end up employing them when they enter the private sector, but on the other, it’s not controversial at all to say that testosterone and sperm levels have been plunging for the last few decades while the number of kids with autism has exploded and no one knows exactly why. Given that the only way to escape all these products and chemicals would be to move to a Unabomber-style shack in the middle of nowhere, maybe we should be a little more concerned about the spicy chemical cocktail we’re all marinating in these days.
Against that backdrop, there was a very interesting spat on Twitter between Joe Rogan and a scientist/vaccine expert named Peter Hotez. Rogan has actually had Hotez on his show before. Well, Rogan, being Rogan, he also recently had vaccine skeptic and Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on. Hotez tweeted a Vice article that was heavily critical of that show and apparently, that must have really chafed Rogan because he uncharacteristically responded by offering Hotez $100,000 to debate RFK Jr. on his show:
As you can see by the 48+ million views on that tweet, it generated a lot of attention and yet Hotez adamantly refused to debate Kennedy. Perhaps even more intriguingly, liberals came out of the woodwork to say that under no circumstances imaginable should Hotez actually debate Kennedy. Their reasoning was typically something akin to Hotez being a respected scientist while Kennedy is a flakey conspiracy theorist, so there’s no need for Hotez to debate.
While (you’re going to have to forgive me if you are an RFK Jr. fan) this is not wrong, the reasoning seems rather bizarre, does it not? If you’re a knowledgeable and respected scientist who’s offered a chance to debate a conspiracy theorist about an important subject people are highly interested in on one of the biggest platforms in the world, why would you turn down that opportunity? Aren’t you practically guaranteed to come out on top?
Back in the day, I personally went on Huffington Post shows with a liberal host and 4 other liberal guests multiple times and consistently kicked all their asses. Why was I able to do that? Because if you actually know what you’re talking about and if you’re up against people that don’t, it’s a very winnable fight. So, why didn’t Hotez want to do that show?
I have a two-part theory.
The first part of it is that a lot of scientists made an enormous number of mistakes in dealing with COVID (some were understandable, but many were obvious) while being so absolutely sure they were right that they were in favor of censoring and firing people for disagreeing with them. There has never been an accounting for that. There has never been an apology for that. There has never been a promise not to do that again.
The second part of the theory is that when COVID became politicized, a lot of indefensibly bad policies were codified, and you can’t remain in the good graces of the Left if you go against that or even ask certain questions. He’s not “allowed” to say things that I think the evidence points to like, “Booster shots are a bad idea,” “We shouldn’t be giving kids the COVID vaccine,” and, “It is possible the side effects of the vaccine are worse than we thought,” or he’ll be labeled an “anti-vax” conspiracy theorist.
These are all relevant scientific questions, but we don’t have any real discussion of them in America. In fact, this has been a problem all along with COVID. We didn’t have an open scientific debate on masking, shutting down the country, forcing businesses to shut down long-term, boosters, or a lot of other topics, and guess what? The experts turned out to be wrong on a lot of them.
On the one hand, it’s okay for experts to be wrong about a new virus. In fact, it’s probably expected, at least to an extent. But they didn’t come out and say, “Based on the best available research and educated guesses from experts in the field, we believe this is the best way to go right now.” Instead, they acted like ancient Oracles pronouncing the will of the gods to the people in the name of science. Of course, that’s not how science works. Worse yet, once all of it got mixed up into politics, months and even years after it was apparent to many people that there was no logic to it, we still had lockdowns, surgical mask mandates, and people being fired for not getting vaccinated.
This destroyed the faith a lot of Americans had in scientists and guess what? Most people probably won’t say this, but it should have.
Science in this country has a serious problem. It has been politicized. It has been captured and used to further the agendas of the government, universities, and corporations funding it. In many cases, it’s not being debated like it should be and there’s nothing less scientific than facts that are supposedly beyond debate.
Here’s a question – when is the last time you actually heard a COVID “anti-vaxer” and “pro-vaxer” debate each other? For me, that answer is “never” – but shouldn’t that be happening all the time since there are clearly very intelligent scientists on both sides of the debate?
Science is not supposed to be about choosing an outcome that produces the most profit for Pfizer or that supports your political views and working backward from there to prove your case. It’s supposed to be about finding the truth. How can you find the truth if people won’t debate? How can you find the truth if scientists won’t admit being wrong? How do you find the truth if the only way to make a living for a lot of scientists is dancing to the tune of the government agency, corporation, or university funding you?
Again, there are a lot of good scientists in this country and there is still some good and important scientific work being done, but the American people got a good, hard look at how the scientific sausage was made during the COVID pandemic and quite naturally, they lost some confidence in science as a result of that. That’s damage that needs to be repaired, trust that needs to be rebuilt, and a system that needs to be fixed. At the moment, it doesn’t look like anyone is working on that and that’s a damn shame that will make things worse for all of us.