Who Is Politicizing Science, Senator Clinton?
October 17, 2007
Hillary Clinton recently unveiled her potential administration’s science agenda. Clinton hit all the buzz words, saying that under her watch “political pressure” would no longer burden scientists. She vowed to lift current federal restrictions on embryo-destructive research, though she would never be that candid -- it is always the intangible phrase “stem cell research.”
Additionally, Clinton said she would initiate a large global warming research program, even promising to spend $50 billion to combat global climate change. Perhaps she is seeking a Nobel also.
As to be expected, she couldn’t help but criticize dissenters from orthodox evolutionary theory. According to The New York Times:
“I believe in evolution, and I am shocked at some of the things that people in public life have been saying…. I am grateful that I have the ability to look at dinosaur bones and draw my own conclusions,” she added, saying, too, that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is evidence that “evolution is going on as we speak.”
Setting aside the fact that viewing dinosaur bones cannot tell us how dinosaurs came to be in the first place, and aside from the fact that antibiotic-resistant bacteria is evidence of small changes within a species rather than evidence for bacteria’s origin, the thing to notice is the framing of these scientific issues.
Following liberal science writer Chris Mooney’s successful book “The Republican War on Science,” Clinton repeatedly lumps these issues together using the “war” metaphor. “Mrs. Clinton has used the phrase ‘war on science’ frequently on the campaign trail, and it has reliably drawn applause from Democratic audiences,” according to The New York Times. Her website declares she will “end the Bush Administration’s war on science.”
But who is really politicizing science? In February 2008, comedian, economist, and actor Ben Stein will release a feature-length documentary film titled “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.” It chronicles the many scientists who have been harassed and denied tenure by their colleagues, despite overwhelming scientific credentials, because they either dissent from Darwinism or the larger worldview of materialism.
These include scientists like evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg—formerly a staff scientist at the National Institutes of Health and a Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History—who according to a Congressional staff report had his office access denied, his political and religious beliefs questioned, and false rumors spread about him by government scientists and bureaucrats all in an effort to discredit him and force his resignation. They thought he might even be a Republican! His crime: Merely allowing a peer-reviewed article favorable to intelligent design to be published in a biology journal he edited.
Ironically, on the same day Clinton unveiled her science agenda, Judicial Watch -- a group fighting government corruption -- released documents it obtained from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through the Freedom of Information Act. These documents show “1,824 reports of adverse reactions to the vaccination for the sexually transmitted disease human papillomavirus (HPV), Gardasil, including as many as eight deaths related to the vaccine.”
According to Judicial Watch’s President Thomas Fitton, some reactions were minor, but others were very serious. When combined with earlier information Judicial Watch obtained, the total stands at 11 deaths and 3,461 adverse reactions to Gardasil. Judicial Watch quotes one FDA document:
“28-Aug-2007: Initial and follow-up information has been received from a physician concerning an ‘otherwise healthy’ 13 year old female who was vaccinated with her first and second doses of Gardasil. Subsequently, the patient experienced…paralysis from the chest down, lesions of the optic nerve…At the time of the report, the patient had not recovered.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Gardasil for girls as young as 11.
Gardasil may sound familiar since its manufacturer Merck has lobbied states to pass mandatory HPV vaccination for young girls. Beginning in 2009, Washington, D.C.’s sixth grade girls must present proof of HPV vaccination. Even Republicans like Texas governor Rick Perry proposed mandatory vaccination -- though he saw the light after conservatives made a huge fuss over safety and parental rights. Other states were similarly pressured.
Mr. Fitton thinks the main lesson in this sad episode is that sex-related drugs receive special treatment in the FDA’s murky approval process. “Whether it be Gardasil, Plan B, or RU-486, the FDA’s approval process deserves additional scrutiny,” Mr. Fitton told me. “These drugs, in my opinion, are treated differently by the FDA because they’re part of a specific social agenda.”
As though the connection between the Left’s sexual politics and the vaccine mandates were not clear enough, Planned Parenthood Golden Gate celebrated Roe v. Wade this year by spreading the vaccine in the Bay Area.
All of this flies in the face of the actual science. Even apart from the new reports of deaths and adverse reactions, an editorial in The New England Journal of Medicine questioned Gardasil’s hyped claims of effectiveness. It cautioned policy makers about acting too quickly.
So Sen. Clinton, who exactly is waging war on science? Something tells me it is not all those social conservatives in the federal science bureaucracy.
Mr. Gage is a policy analyst with Discovery Institute in Washington, D.C.
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