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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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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.
Science 2.0 community, it is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of long-time science journalist Greg Critser, the earliest science journalist to sign up on this site, in 2007.
Yesterday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate which, along with the House of Representatives, form the two chambers of Congress, which are one of the three branches of government,(1) refused to fund a "continuing resolution" to essentially keep funding government as is while a long-term budget is negotiated. 

Once again, there are a few claims that this will mean catastrophe for science funding, but many are now saying shutting down government is necessary and even courageous. Yet this exact same event occurred two, four, five, seven and even 22 years ago and it was framed as reckless and dangerous and a disaster for science.

What is different? Those other times a Democrat was President and Republicans were balking.