Sunday, October 18, 2020

Ballot Campaign Hype and Erosion of Trust in Science

The matter of trust came up last week in an item on the California Stem Cell Report that dealt with the Proposition 14 campaign and how hype can erode the people's faith in science.

The following comment was sent via email by a person very well-versed in science, research and human behavior who, however, must remain anonymous.

"What would be the rationale behind trusting science any more than trusting Google, a cable news network, or politician? 

"Science is the work product of scientists, who are human beings the last time I looked. Inherently interested and incentivized human beings, as we all are. 

"Sure, they often tout themselves as 'independent' or 'neutral and disinterested' parties in this business. But rest assured that is just marketing. For there is lots and lots of money at stake. Money that directly benefits and influences these neutral arbiters of truth in exactly the same way as it benefits and influences the executives at Facebook.

"I'm not criticizing, only pointing out the reality that economic forces, like gravity, apply to everyone. No profession is exempt. In that sense, science is trustworthy. Having been paid for, the outcome is both predictable and assured."


​A new book about the stem cell agency includes a discussion of trust and the California stem cell agency based on comments from the Institute of Medicine, which performed a $700,000 evaluation of the enterprise. Authored by David Jensen, you can buy the book on Amazon:  California's Great Stem Cell Experiment: Inside a $3 Billion Search for Stem Cell Cures. Click here for more information on the author.

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