How does “sound science” sound to you?

Endangered species: Gray wolf, Manatee, Whooping Crane, Unmuzzled Scientist
By John Klossner for the Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter.

The term “sound science” might sound like a harmless or even comforting phrase, but lurking behind it is a hidden agenda.  “Sound science” in today’s politics means research that supports big business, often with results that dismiss the need for federal regulation of products, contaminants or waste streams.  There was even a sound-science bill that nearly made it into this year’s farm bill, which would have limited federal regulators to using “sound science”–that which is “experimental, empirical, quantifiable, and reproducible”–meaning no use of climate models or results from singular events like natural disasters or qualitative studies, for example.  Science policy expert, Colin Macilwain, explains:

‘Sound science’ is…science that big business knows it can trust. In its name, businesses that sell contentious products are working night-and-day to deflect rules and regulations by exploiting a schoolboy image of science to make their case.  And whatever the issue — nuclear power, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, alcohol, oil or coal — they take the basic game plan from the lessons learned by the tobacco industry over the past twenty years.

You can read the rest of Macilwain’s recent column in the journal Nature called “Beware of back room deals in the name of ‘science'” by clicking here.




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