The Daily Scoop: Muzzling of federal scientists targeted by campaign


Reports of ghosts from the George W. Bush administration sighted within the Canadian federal government.  Accusations swirl around their lobbying of government officials to censor public-funded scientific research.

CBC News – Canadian government scientists are still being hampered from talking to the media about their taxpayer-funded research and that’s bad news for the public, say groups representing both journalists and federal scientists.

The groups appealed to delegates at an international meeting of scientists in Vancouver on Friday, arguing that democracy depends on citizens having access to research so they can make informed decisions about government policy.
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3 Comments to “The Daily Scoop: Muzzling of federal scientists targeted by campaign”

  1. As someone who writes about scientific discoveries for a living (Seriously, I’m a staff writer for DecodedScience.com), I’m always upset when people tell scientists they can’t talk about their research. It also pisses me off to no end when I hear politicians speaking about scientists being corrupt, or that science doesn’t matter to policy. Science does matter, and when it is funded by the taxpayers, of any nation, the results belong the people of the nation. It’s not a state secret if taxpayer funded research is performed, and it’s not a state secret that cannot be repealed. It’s the people’s money, and they deserve to know what it’s being spent on.

    • Annabel, I am in complete agreement. The corruption claims, bias claims, or “liberal scientists”-based dismissal of research are truly astonishing. These have become pervasive in certain segments of society as a card to play against science they do not agree with. It illustrates a very uninformed view of how science works, of the rigors of methodology, of analysis or the overall standards scientific study is subjected to. It also shows a very poor understanding of the implications of consciously allowing bias influence one’s findings. Many of these claims base themselves on scientists skewing data just so they can continue acquiring grant monies. What those who perpetuate these claims do not comprehend is that the relatively meager income received from these grants is not at all a legitimate motivation for a scientist to risk absolute professional suicide. They do not understand that a “corrupt” scientist is essentially ostracized from the field, never to be taken seriously again. Credibility for any work they performed afterwards would be nonexistent.

      What these people do not ask themselves is, why would anyone risk throwing away 8-10+ years of education and personal time devoted to building a career as a credible researcher for a very insignificant benefit like a relatively small income from government grants?

      Oh and congratualtions on the Decoded Science writer job! I’m jealous 🙂

      • Thank you. I enjoy what I do, and I’m pretty good at it.

        Now, back to the initial point – you’re absolutely right. No self-respecting scientist will betray science for a portion of grant money. The people making these claims are usually people whose worldview is challenged by the science. While science is not always 100 percent accurate, it does attempt to find relationships between cause and effect, rather than corollary instances. Just because the temperature in January is -14 degrees, that doesn’t mean that global climate change is false. Just because you see a building collapse doesn’t mean that you see the whole puzzle. Science is attempting to unlock so many solutions, and has led to many of the things we enjoy today. Our food storage and safety, drug testing programs, medical advances, plastics, Gorilla glass, silicon components, mobile technology, satellite technology – all different forms of science. Just because you don’t agree with the science, that doesn’t mean that the science is wrong. It may mean that you have to look at things a little differently than you once believed. Science constantly changes our world with better understanding and new innovation.

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