What Happened to Science?

Over on the New York Times Sunday Dialogue, our colleague, friend, and former guest blogger Dr. Robin Weiss has an conversation on Science and Politics.  What happened to science, Dr. Weiss ponders?  But a disturbing trend threatens future public health initiatives. At the heart of successful public policy lies a shared, bipartisan assumption that science is trustworthy. Lately, politicians unashamedly issue proclamations tantamount to declaring, The world is flat. Climate change is a hoax. Vaccines cause autism. Intelligent design should be taught in biology class alongside evolution. The United States has the best health outcomes in the world. In public health, knowledge is truly power. If politicians no longer agree that sound scientific knowledge is valid, our nation’s health will suffer for decades — or centuries — to come. Readers wrote in with a variety of thoughts: it's the almighty dollar that corrupts politicians and blinds them from the truth, scientific research is underfunded, it's those damn Republicans (you can always blame the Republicans), if not them, then the religious extremists.  Science is wrong, and sometimes just evil.  And Dr. Weiss then responded, I'll let you surf over there to read. I think one of the issues that makes it hard to rely completely on science is that such truths are hard to come by.  For every set of numbers, we have a set of anti-numbers, not to mention the science du jour-...
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