Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Post-script to the preceding

At the end of the day we as scientists need to discourage efforts to hijack our efforts to address legitimate problems in some of our scientific fields in the name of promoting pseudoscience or engaging in denial of empirically reproduced, replicated, and verified evidence of specific phenomena. It has been a long time since I had any exposure to the work "Merchants of Doubt", which documented the tobacco industry's decades-long (and for a while successful) effort to cast doubt on what was increasingly overwhelming evidence of negative health outcomes associated with using tobacco products. There are merchants of doubt now targeting other phenomena - climate change, immunizations for childhood diseases, etc. We as scientists have scarce resources. The less legitimacy we give to these contemporary merchants of doubt, in the form of conference attendance, membership dues, etc., the better. For me, that is easy. I only get partially funded for one conference per fiscal year. I have to make that conference count for something.

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