Response or Comment
My objective in this commentary is to describe and discuss a major threat to the continued thriving of science in our society, which is all the more insidious because it is largely unrecognized by those in the scientific community who are in a position to rectify the problem. Astute people in that community are well aware of many threats to science that include but are not limited to the following: appalling public scientific illiteracy; the unfortunate resurgence of “magic thinking”—reflected in turn in the reappearance of Creationism, which is hostile to evolution—and the billions of dollars spent on evidentially baseless “alternative medicine”; the fact that more cryptozoology books are sold than all bioscience books; young students, particularly women, being unwilling to enter biomedical research out of fear of being compelled to “hurt animals”; and, as I have discussed elsewhere, ubiquitous iconic Frankensteinean imagery that informs public reactions to scientific advances in biotechnology. These latter issues are detailed in my book on the ethics of biotechnology (Rollin 1995). The one threat that I describe below—Scientific Ideology—has escaped serious mainstream attention.
Rollin, B. E. (2007). Overcoming ideology: Why it is necessary to create a culture in which the ethical review of protocols can flourish. ILAR journal, 48(1), 47-53.