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Advocacy science wrong if other guy is doing it

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From Hank Campbell at Science20, a potpourri of people he wishes didn’t have funds:

Meanwhile, Denier For Hire groups like SourceWatch (see their executive director libel me here) who spend their time and money vilifying pro-science groups in every other area (food, technology, chemistry, energy, medicine) turned a blind eye to the advocacy research being done by the dark money people and corporations on the political side of the aisle that fund them.

Crappy job, Hank, but someone has to do it. The popular science media are often a field demonstration of monochromatic advocacy.

Academics were not going to be duped by such faux political allies forever, and as time has gone on academic scientists have caught on to the deception; groups like US Right To Know, which SourceWatch management helps guide, have become famous for bullying tactics (see the executive director of SourceWatch threaten to sue me for discussing their publicly available Form 990 here) and have alienated scientists who are involved in academic research by bogging science scholars down with Freedom of Information Act requests and then quote-mining the results. …

Tip: If you don’t want Freedom of Information requests from the taxpayers, don’t ask for public funding.

Long ago, some fool decided that the peasants had the right to know how their taxes were spent. Fix that, and you have a winner on your hands in the research establishment.

Fun part:

Seralini is just one of the “researchers” they detail that are in the bag for these Deniers For Hire. They also discuss Pusztai and Infascelli and remind us all that mainstream corporations, which maybe spend a few hundred thousand dollars per year on pro-science groups (disclosure: I run one, the American Council on Science and Health, and all donations are welcome, though no one gets to dictate what we write, obviously) … More.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Hank? Hank? Can you hear yourself? Do you think anyone believes, given your diatribe, that anyone who gives you money would be in much doubt about what you’d write? Or would keep on giving you money if they didn’t get it? And who cares, really? You’re entitled to that.

For Hank Campbell stories we liked better, see

On the corruption of peer review

and

Hank Campbell on Cosmos: Multiverse is just postmodernism with some math

There is a simpler way of looking at all this. First, advocacy isn’t research.

And research done with the purpose of providing support for a position (advocacy research) is a different genre from research done in order to find out what is going on. Recent claims, for example that chimpanzees have sacred rituals or are entering the Stone Age, are often driven by animal protection or animal rights advocacy. Things go wrong when people are required to take it seriously and pretend that it is something other than advocacy. (Personally, I think it’s a stupid strategy on their part, but this isn’t a discussion of strategy. – O’Leary for News)

If we just label advocacy research for what it is (the equivalent of the prosecution’s case or the defendant’s), we don’t need to be in a lather about it.

The lathery stuff comes of claiming to represent “science.”

See also: Scientism = junk science in the courtroom

and

Galileo?: US gov’t thought of prosecuting climate doubters As science becomes ever more an established religion, it acquires the expected deformities. Including the use of the law to prosecute those who offer a different interpretation of the evidence.

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