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Hank CampbellRSS Feed of this column.

I'm the President of the American Council on Science and Health and founded Science 2.0® in 2006.

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March For Science, an offshoot of Women's March, gave itself a positive name in 2017 but its motivations were not about science at all. It was about social authoritarianism and promoting a political agenda. And at the top of that agenda was being anti-Trump in much the same way the same groups eight and 12 and 16 years earlier were ant-Bush.

But things may be different in 2018. A lot of the more culturally militant people have quit or been (ironically) marginalized because the science community sees the real opportunity for gain - if they can apply pressure while also being part of a solution.

A lot less of this stuff from 2017


Given the political demographic of the webzine Alternet and its anti-science mentality, it's not a huge surprise that its contributors are in common cause with the Russians and others who are merchants of doubt about American science and medicine.

What is shocking is that Alternet displays them so prominently. 
In 1984, activist groups won a stunning victory for political allies they had placed inside the Federal government. Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 gave "deference" to agencies when interpreting statutes Congress required them to administer. The White House, regardless of voters or Congress, could legislate using regulations and be judge, jury and executioner when it came to science. Perfect for activism, but terrible for public trust in science. 
In the haze of smoke and mirrors about nutrition, it's easy to think that you will lose weight if you eliminate some scary chemicals (Endocrine Disruptors!™) or scary foods (Sugar! Dairy! Meat! High Fructose Corn Syrup! Grain! Gluten!) but the reality is much simpler: You just need fewer calories.

No, really. In 100 percent of studies, people who consumed fewer calories than they burned lost weight. Harvard Food Frequency Questionnaires, with their numerous outcomes and numerous foods, are guaranteed to come up with a food that will cause disease with a .05 p-value. That is how statistics work. It is probably why they chose so many foods for the first one and did even more later.

Stonyfield Farm, an organic corporation started by Samuel Kaymen in 1983, really rocketed to prominence when its then president, Gary Hirshberg, discovered a way to increase his market share with not much marketing cost at all: where most companies marketed by saying all the benefits and improvements they have, Hirshberg began marketing what it did not have. And that missing thing was science.

In 2018, you can guess the politics of many people by which newspapers they read, and you could also do that 100 years ago. Certainly some people, like me, read both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times but if someone defaults to MSNBC or Fox News, you can estimate their voting record with high levels of accuracy.