Republicans are currently “attempting to squash scientific facts that challenge their own agendas,” reports Kevin Matthews for Care2. Writing for The Daily Beast, Lawrence Lessig reports that at least a dozen conservative senators seek to end current disclosure rules so that biased scientific studies can be presented as fact without having to disclose publicly who paid for the research.
For example, the silica industry has produced false data so that its products can pass Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety tests. Senators rebuked OSHA not treating the silica industry’s own research on equal footing with research that was less likely to be biased in its favor.
Current law allows corporate-funded science to be discussed, though it requires that, when corporate-funded research is shared, the presenters must disclose how the research was funded in order to divulge conflicts of interest. “If even minor research disclosure requirements are successfully stripped from government procedure,” Matthews writes, “look for even more pseudo-science to emerge to back conservative ideals.” As Lessig observes, “The public interest is clear. We all rely on the advice of doctors, and leading researchers influence the practice of medicine… The public has a right to know about financial relationships between doctors and drug companies.”
Kevin Mathews, “The Republican Plan to Invalidate Scientific Research,” Care2, March 28, 2014, http://www.care2.com/causes/the-republican-plan-to-invalidate-scientific-research.html.
Lawrence Lessig, “The Republican Street Fight Over Transparency in Government,” The Daily Beast, March 26, 2014, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/03/26/the-republican-street-fight-over-transparency-in-government.html.
Student Researcher: Emily Walukiewicz (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)