It is all well and good for Dr. Harry Chen to rally the citizenry in support of science (“Marching for Science” op-ed, May 11). Like apple pie and motherhood, “science” occupies a pedestal we regard with reverence and a protective instinct.
As with anything put on a pedestal, however, science can and will be corrupted by man’s unfailing instinct to bend things his way for greater advantage.
We are a society so skilled in the arts of public relations and propaganda that any approval rating approaching 50 percent (e.g., the widespread view that science is good) will immediately be enlisted in some scheme of aggrandizement.
Thus any laudable pursuit like “science” becomes input for a scam whose true nature may be invisible.
As readers of my previous commentaries may guess, I’ve been building here to a mention of fluoridation, a so-called public health measure whose supporters invoke Mother Science while hiding or oblivious to the self-interest that has driven the fluoridation crusade from the first trials in 1945.
Even Dr. Chen, a widely admired physician, could and did fall victim of corruptible science as health commissioner.
Chen’s good intentions and generous instincts are testified to in his public service and a forthcoming stint in the Peace Corps. Nonetheless, his defense of fluoridation illustrates the snares that entangle those too ready to accept as true a prescription billed as “scientific.”
Yes, we need to stand and march for science, real science. At the same time, we need to use our God-given brains to discern what is real science and what is merely dressed up as science for sales purposes.
My detailed critique of Harry Chen’s support of fluoridation can be found at rutlandfluorideaction.org (scroll way down to get to it) or archived in the Herald for April 28, 2016, or obtained from the author.