Citizen pseudoscience


Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi’s legislation to mandate use of local, county, state and tribal data in Endangered Species Act decisions (“Sagebrush bureaucracy,” HCN, 5/11/15) sounds like a reasonable idea, citizen science at its very grassroots. The more information that’s included, the better the decision, right? The devil, of course, is in the details.

I have no uncertainty whatsoever — not one iota or shred of doubt — that local, state and corporate “science” in my hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in the 1960s would have proven beyond question that cigarette smoking was good for you, or, at the very least, a benign influence on your health.  Thank goodness we had the relative independence of Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry and his momentous 1964 report to counteract any pseudoscience cooked up by those motivated not by public health concerns, but by economic and political self-interest. Enzi’s bill, the “State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act,” is, by its very nature, an exercise in fog and obfuscation designed to torque the scientific process.  It’s transparently obvious.

David Klinger
Boise, Idaho

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