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“Mercenary science”- crooked science funded by corporations

Why is the nuclear industry not mentioned in relation to “mercenary science”? Independent Russian scientists gave comprehensive accounts of the effects of the Chernobyl disaster – they were vilified by both Russia and the West . That’s another side of this issue -destroy the credibility of honest scientists.
The nuclear industry churns out nonsense science like “radiation hormesis” – (ionising radiation purportedly good for your health). If you’re an honest scientist, you sure will have trouble getting a job about THIS industry. The nuclear industry has also been a leader in downgrading what they call the “soft”sciences – ecology, biology, genetics, etc. They promote the prevailing view that REAL science is confined to STEM.
The art of scientific deception: How corporations use “mercenary science” to evade regulation, David Michaels, former Assistant Secretary of Labor, explains how corporations whitewash harmful products and drugs KEITH A. SPENCER   FEBRUARY 2, 2020  One curious difference between humans and corporations is our capacity to harm others and emerge unscathed. If you or I were to poison someone on camera in broad daylight, we would be given a trial and sent to prison in a hurry. But if you or I were a corporation, we could hire consulting firms to produce research papers that claim that the poisoning didn’t happen, and/or question the existence of the poison, or claim that said concoction actually does good rather than harm. If that failed, we could then gum up the legal and political system with lobbyists and lawyers for decades.
In public discourse about our supposed post-truth society, most op-eds fixate on the way that social media can create separate reality bubbles. Few focus on what David Michaels, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), calls “mercenary science” — science-for-hire, contracted out by chemical and pharmaceutical companies to prove that their harmful products aren’t harmful by giving them the quantitative imprimatur of STEM knowledge. The idea that science and truth could diverge is profoundly troubling for our entire civilization.

While the vast majority of scientists, both employed publicly and privately, are honest and do their work as part of a larger quest for truth, there are a few notable exceptions. Specifically, a few mercenary science consulting firms have been very effective at helping corporations continue selling harmful chemicals and drugs long after they should have stopped.

Michaels, who has a new book on the topic titled “The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception,” has been studying this problem for years, in part by virtue of his 8-year tenure at OSHA.  Now a public health professor at George Washington University, Michaels’ book pulls back the curtain on the way that dark money and for-profit science is quite literally killing Americans.

David Michaels: Mercenary science means [when scientists] produce studies that aren’t designed to better understand the world, or they help make the world a better place — which is why most scientists are in the business of science – but to defend products and to defend corporations. And often to influence regulation or to slow the compensation of victims.

This is the Enron-ization of science. It’s created a fiction in order to promote an actual game, fiction around science. And it is quite mercenary. In fact, this phrase is not one that I invented, but actually is used by these consulting companies whose business model is to provide some using reports and testimonies to corporations, so they can continue to market dangerous products or activities without being hindered by regulation or by compensating the people they’ve hurt.

What would you say is the most shocking, real-life example of something like this — of mercenary science becoming embedded in mainstream discourse?

I think the most famous [example] is in the tobacco industry… who didn’t invent it, but who certainly gained the most from it — and in climate change. There’s actually some overlap between some of the same mercenary scientists in both examples.

But as I write [in my book], this is now become standard operating procedure for virtually every industry, and in many cases, it’s the same so-called scientists who are involved in doing it.  Nowadays, the instinct of corporate leaders — CEOs and executives —when there’s an allegation that their product could be causing harm is to say, “How can we show that it isn’t causing harm?” Not, “how can we determine whether or not we cause harm,” and then figure out what to do about it.

Other examples [include] opioids, and essentially how a few pharmaceutical companies misrepresented the studies to make it look like these opioids were not addictive. We have a death toll of tens of thousands a year as a result of that…………

David Michael’s new book, “The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception,” is out from Oxford University Press on February 3,  2020. 

February 3, 2020 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties

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