There are plenty of evil scientists in the movies, but Janette Sherman and Joseph Mangano are examples of at least two scientists who have gone bad in real life.
I've worked in science and with scientists my whole adult life. Most scientists are normal folk - some are smart and some stupid, some are lazy and some diligent, many are tall and many are short. Few, however, are evil. At least, I've never met an evil scientist as far as I know. Sadly, there a definitely some out there who I feel truly deserve the evil scientist label.
The worst of the recent evil scientists is probably Andrew Wakefield. The former doctor, who has since been stripped of his medical license, fraudulently claimed that he had found a link between early childhood vaccinations and autism. As a result, thousands of people have chosen not to have their children vaccinated, and many children have died unnecessarily or suffered life-long disabilities. Why would Wakefield do such a thing? It's hard to say, but a CNN article about him implies it was for money - a little over half a million dollars actually. (I wonder if it's enough to ease his conscience.)
The latest example of scientists turned evil that I know of may not be as sinisterly successful as Wakefield was. Although, they're actions could still lead to pretty bad outcomes. Medical doctor Janette Sherman and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano are claiming that publicly available data show that babies in the US Northwest are dying at an alarming rate as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In fact, the data show no such thing, as Michael Moyer makes abundantly clear in his Scientific American article.
You don't have to take Moyer's word for it. You can go and look at the science and scientists. The worst thing a scientist can do is use the language and methods of science to lie.
2. It harms the parents and family of the children who died in the Pacific Northwest, whatever the cause. As if those poor people haven't suffered enough, now they're told they should blame the wrong people and technology for one of the greatest losses anyone can bear. They deserve better.
3. It harms the people of Japan, piling more onto the national burden they already carry.
4. Lying to people about the outcome of the Fukushima disaster distorts the risk of nuclear power, making it difficult to make decisions about future energy technologies. Yes, people died at Fukushima. Yes, more people will have their lives cut short from radiation exposure. On the other hand, non-nuclear power also carries risks, and many more people die every day from oil and coal pollution than from nuclear power plant accidents. There are no easy answers, but we need accurate, truthful research to find the best solutions.
I'm at a loss to understand why
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted by Buzz Skyline at 10:47 AM