Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Junk Science

JunkScience.com. I recently read Michael Crichton's novel State of Fear. In it, a group of environmentalists are commiting terrorists acts to prove global warning is happening. They are frustrated that the scientific evidence does not bear out their theory so they are "creating" environmental disasters to prove it instead. While the story is fiction, all of the footnotes and references to the scientific literature are real. This following site is a bit biased but I think it could be used to stimulate thinking on science topics and science skeptics like Crichton.

From the site:

"Junk science" is faulty scientific data and analysis used to advance special and, often, hidden agendas. The junk science "mob" includes:

The MEDIA may use junk science for sensational headlines and programming. Some members of the media use junk science to advance their and their employers' social and political agendas.

PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS may use junk science to bamboozle juries into awarding huge verdicts. Large verdicts may then be used to extort even greater sums from deep-pocket businesses fearful of future jury verdicts.

SOCIAL ACTIVISTS, such as the "food police," environmental extremists, and gun-control advocates, may use junk science to achieve social and political change.

GOVERNMENT REGULATORS may use junk science to expand their authority and to increase their budgets.

BUSINESSES may use junk science to bad-mouth competitors' products or to make bogus claims about their own products.

POLITICIANS may use junk science to curry favor with special interest groups or to be "politically correct."

INDIVIDUAL SCIENTISTS may use junk science to achieve fame and fortune.

INDIVIDUALS who are ill (real or imagined) may use junk science to blame others for causing their illness.

1 comment:

Future Geek said...

I've been looking at the ideas in State of Fear for a while, and there is ample evidence that it is his claims that are actually junk science. Realclimate.org has a good refutation of his claims.

Also, Steve Milloy, who runs junkscience.com has a clear right wing agenda and a penchant for junk science himself. Check out
A Concerned Scientist for a good collection of links about Milloy.

Anyway, you have some good info on this blog.