Friday, August 19, 2005
Last week at the beach? Need something to read? Kevin Trudeau's
top bestseller might have you looking for a rip tide to throw it
into. Worried about too much sun? "The sun does not cause skin
cancer, sun screens do." This sort of logic is on every page.
"Scientists in secret laboratories are developing chemicals that
are added to our food, but not included on the label." These
"secret poisonous chemicals" are specifically designed to make
people hungry so they buy more food, make them fat because fat
people eat more, addict them to the product and cause disease.
The food industry, the drug companies, the government, and the
scientists are in cahoots to keep you sick and profits up.
What's the evidence? Kevin Trudeau doesn't do "evidence." A 42
year-old ex-convict and infomercial guru, he preys on the most
vulnerable among us, the sick and elderly. The FTC fined him $2
million and barred him from selling products with infomercials -
except for his book. He wears his convictions like badges of
honor - proof that the establishment is trying to silence him.
By the time you're back from the beach, "The Republican War on
Science" should be in the bookstores. It was already being
printed two weeks ago when the President of the United States
publically took the side of biblical literalists in the dispute
over the teaching of religious alternatives to evolution in
public schools (WN 5 Aug 05).
Global warming deniers, stem cell research opponents, those who
claim to see a link between abortion and breast cancer, they're
all here. This meticulously researched and documented account of
how scientific research is being displaced in government by
ideologically driven pseudoscience could hardly be more timely.
Four Senators, three of them Republican including Lindsey Graham
(R-SC), who has been a global warming skeptic, returned from a
trip to Barrow, AK, the northernmost U.S. city, convinced that
warming is real. "If you can go and listen to the native people
and listen to their stories and walk away with any doubt that
something's going on, I just think you're not listening," Graham
said. I would rather rely on data, but if this works, go there.
A minority report by seven of the 25 members of the Columbia
review board, critical of the agency for compromising safety to
return to flight, was followed by an announcement that the
shuttle will not fly before March 4. This again raises questions
about the future of the ISS. It was built with no clear idea of
what it was for. NASA now defends the ISS solely on the basis of
commitments to partner nations to complete it. What's the point?
It's reminiscent of the ABM system in Grand Forks, ND, abandoned
in 1979, 24 hours after its construction was declared complete.