Saturday, 15 November 2014

False Witnesses: A Rogues' Gallery of BAD Scientists

Everyone who writes or cares about reproductive justice, women's rights, science, etc. should bookmark this amazing feat of research, Reproductive Health Reality Check's False Witnesses project.

Here at DJ! we have an abiding interest in BAD science in general but in particular as it is applied to abortion and women's health.

"BAD" stands for biased, agenda-driven, or science-for-hire. And it is everywhere.

Here's RH Reality Check's explanation.
First Big Tobacco, then climate change denial, and now, the anti-choice movement.

The issues might have changed, but the techniques now widely used by conservatives to distort science and, with it, public policy, remain the same.

They create nonprofits, staffed with die-hard ideologues, and set about producing and promoting bogus science, to build the illusion of dissent or doubt over conclusions drawn by peer-reviewed scientific or medical research. They develop their own “research findings” to suit their ideological views. Then they deploy scare tactics, all with the goal of passing laws that suit their agenda.

And anti-choice has been at it for decades now. They've even got "institutes" and sciencey-sounding "research groups." Some we've tried to profile here but RH Reality Check has really dug and got the goods.

In the False Witnesses Gallery are 14 "scientists" for hire, some familiar to us, some not so much. They're mostly USian. Click on their photos to find out more.

The format for each profile is fabulous. Each is divided into sections: "Signature Falsehood," "Setting the Record Straight," "Role Within the Anti-Choice Movement," and "Blatant Errors," as well as their connections, credentials, and the amount of dough they've raked in with their obligingness. And they are all connected, all cite each other's publications.

In short, hours of fun reading.

And while there are no Canadians among them, these liars regularly show up at Canadian anti-choice events and venues.

Like Martha Shuping, who caused a fuss recently when she was invited to speak at Memorial University, and Angela Lanfranchi, who is Maurice Vellacott's go-to gal for bullshit on the "abortion causes breast cancer" canard.

Very gratifying for us here at DJ! is the inclusion of our fave Perfesser of Home Economics and Slut-Shaming, Priscilla Coleman, whose work has been so thoroughly and utterly dismantled it's a wonder she has the gall to show her face. Here's the RH Reality Check research on her.

We have one addition. There is a disreputable gang of Canadians operating under the banner of the Deveber Institute. Small and pretty lame, but all ours.

So, bookmark and browse.

And congratulations and grand merci to RH Reality Check.

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