Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The authorities have lied, and I am not glad

Why do ecomyths persist long after empirical data invalidate their claims of scientific veracity?
This is one of the questions Fitzpatrick touches on in his excellent review of two new books detailing how the AIDS epidemic was largely a myth.
Myths are infused with political moralism and opportunism.  Science is suborned to political and agency agendas, and the media enlisted to generate widespread public fear that is then used to justify ideological interventions that fit the world view of those profiting from the hysteria:
  • This sort of opportunism is not confined to AIDS: in other areas where experts are broadly in sympathy with government policy – such as passive smoking, obesity and climate change – they have been similarly complicit in the prostitution of science to propaganda.
That's just about a defining statement:
  • Ecomyth: the prostitution of science to propaganda