SharksWithLasers -- Seth Cooper

A CUTTING-EDGE BLOG FOR THE WORLD OF THE 21st CENTURY, Currently operated by Seth L. Cooper, a 27 year-old attorney in Seattle (sethlcooper at comcast dot net)

Monday, February 16, 2004

SCIENCE STOPPERS NOT BEING STOPPED: The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today on the issue of vaccinations containing thimerosal and purported links to vaccination. I really know nothing about this issue, but what is interesting is the pattern that I've begun to see during my work at Disco: personal and institutional threats, intimidation, harrassment, conspiracy theories and Nazi analogies are the frequent stuff of scientific disputes nowadays, rather than empirical evidence.

For speaking out on the thimerosal issue, the WSJ has itself experienced this phenomenon:

To our surprise, we had wandered into a hornet's nest of moral intimidation. In letters
and e-mails we've since been accused of "fraud," a "terrorist act," and of having an
"industry profit promoting agenda." We've been told we belong to a vast conspiracy--
including researchers, pediatricians, corporations, health officials and politicians--
devoted to poisoning their children. A few have harassed our secretaries and threatened an editorial writer.

Potent stuff, indeed. Yet, all too familiar to one who has only begun to become acquanited with some of the screeds coming from certain anti-ID rhetoriticians.

In any case, I happen to be particularly appreciative that WSJ isn't backing down:

As writers for an independent newspaper, we aren't about to shut up. But what worries us is that these activists are using the same tactics in an attempt to silence others with crucial roles in public health and scientific research. The campaign to silence or discredit them has already had damaging consequences.

Another instance of this sort of this evidence-ignoring and science-stopping madness is the subject of a recent article in National Review Online by one of my senior colleagues at Disco. Apparently, many of our misguided, misantrhopic animal liberation activists have had tremendous successes in putting the kibosh on medical testing on animals that could have enormous medical and health benefits to mankind. To allow for such reserch would, in the radicals' view, be nothing less than an abhorrent act of speciesism.

Author Michael Crichton's 2003 "Aliiens Cause Global Warming" lecture at CalTech receives my recommendation in this regard. Crichton higlights "an emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science-namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy."


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