These days it seems “science” has replaced organized religion as the new authority that should blindly be obeyed, and anyone who questions the high priests of science are generally attacked, degraded, and dismissed as modern day heretics. But science, just like religion, is not a god that only speaks unadulterated Truth. It is far from being infallible and is constantly in need of being updated, upgraded, and changed, because science is subject to the narrow confines of mankind’s tiny perception; which is forever growing and expanding, and is far from reaching its full potential.
Science, like all other fields of research and knowledge, can easily be manipulated and convoluted. In and of itself, science is inanimate and can do neither good nor bad because it has no mind of its own. It is simply a vehicle that requires a driver. And the “drivers” behind scientific research are human, and humans are flawed and fallible. They can be corrupted by money, the want of fame, or simply personal prejudice. And to help remind people why they should not blindly trust “science” — or any other body of purported knowledge for that matter — I decided to write this short article on how scientific authorities and health care professionals, not only helped addict the masses to smoking cigarettes, but continue manipulating our perceptions and beliefs to this very day.
In the early 1940s, the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company created the Medical Relations Division (MRD), and began a marketing campaign under the slogan “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!”
To back up their dubious claim, they sought out doctors, scientists and other medical professionals that would parrot their agenda. In the below ad, for example, The Tobacco giant argued that “Doctors in every branch of medicine — 113,597 in all — were queried in this nationwide study of cigarette preference,” and the study was carried out by “three leading research organizations”.
In reality, this research was actually being carried out by the RJ Reynolds’s advertising agency, the William Esty Company who coerced doctors and health care professionals through subtle forms of bribery and psychological manipulation.
Of course, they were not the only company engaged in these deceptive practices. As you can see below, Lucky Strikes, employed similar propaganda.
And another one from Chesterfield. Notice the key phrase, “Scientific Evidence”.
Below is another good example of how persuasive language is used to sway public opinion;
“…the final results, published in authoritative medical journals, proved conclusively that when smokers changed to Philip Morris, every case of irritation cleared completely or definitely improved.”
A number of different medical organizations and journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), were indeed on the payrole of Big Tobacco and helped to promote their agenda.
Now, it should be mentioned for the sake of integrity that the harmful side effects of smoking cigarettes were not nearly as well known as they are today. But as this knowledge became more and more mainstream — specifically that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer — the big tobacco companies still did everything in their power to either suppress or pollute that evidence through the use of compromised authorities, for the simple fact that their concern is to make a profit. Similarly, the sugar industry hired a group of Harvard scientists to hide the link between sugar and heart disease.
This is something we all need to keep in mind my friends; our global society is run as a business, not as a non profit organization that values human life. And this means that practically any line of profession can be corrupted by money. Unfortunately our problems are systemic and have their roots in this painfully flawed paradigm.
Of course, one is tempted to lay the blame of this unethical skulduggery squarely on the shoulders of the tobacco industry, but the many scientists and health care professionals that helped them are guiltier considering their prestigious positions in society.
The Manipulation Of Science Still Continues Today
In more recent history, the Bush Administration got caught manipulating science to conform to their agenda. Big oil has likewise bribed scientists to parrot their narrative. Similarly, biotech giant Monsanto and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have also been caught engaging in this unethical practice together. This is not the first time Monsanto has been caught either. In Canada, a group of scientists testified that the GMO giant offered them a bribe of $1-2 million, and in Indonesia they were fined for engaging in bribery as well. Another biotech giant, Syngenta, hired scientists to discredit professor Tyrone Hayes, who conducted research that found out their herbicide Atrazine posed major health risks to the population. I could go on and on, but an interesting study that sums up my point fairly well, found that scientific manipulation throughout the field of science is actually quite prolific.
The study, published in the Public Library of Science Journal, found that “up to 72%” of scientists said their colleagues were engaged in “questionable research practices,” and just over 14% of them were engaged in outright “falsification”. Furthermore, between 1977 and 1990 the FDA found that there were scientific flaws in 10–20% of studies, which is an alarming statistic that should remind us all to QUESTION EVERYTHINGClick To Tweet.
Today, a number of questionable practices in the name of science continue. Sadly, the manipulation (or incompetence) of science is something that most likely will never be truly eliminated from society because it is rooted in human fallibility. This is not to say that science does not serve an important purpose, but it should remind us all that it can be used to deceive us and should be questioned — just like any other body of knowledge. More over, until we design a system that promotes unadulterated education, more than it does propaganda and ignorance; and rewards integrity more than the willingness to do anything for “money,” this type of childish human behavior will persist for obvious reasons.
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