Society has led us to believe that something can’t be true unless science has proven it to be true. In this way, we are completely reliant on science for truth.  But science has made plenty of errors in the past, claiming to know the truth about something, only to later “prove” that claim to be false.

Cigarettes And Science

Throughout the 1930s and 40s, science had supposedly proven that smoking cigarettes did no harm to the human body.  Doctors were even used in marketing materials by cigarette manufacturers to convince the public they were safe.

In the mid-1930s “A new advertising campaign for Philip Morris referred to research conducted by physicians. One ad claimed that after prescribing Philip Morris brand cigarettes to patients with irritated throats, ‘every case of irritation cleared completely or definitely improved.’ This series of advertisements, along with others referring to ‘proof’ of superiority, made Philip Morris a major cigarette brand for the first time in its history.”

Source: https://www.healio.com/news/hematology-oncology/20120325/cigarettes-were-once-physician-tested-approved

In the 1950s, as new science emerged that cigarettes might be harmful, cigarette manufacturers “used sophisticated public relations approaches to undermine and distort the emerging science”. Unfortunately for millions of smokers, it took decades of legal battles, and millions of cases of lung cancer, to prove that cigarettes were in fact a danger to human health.

Science Is Littered With Contradiction

Science has been and always will be littered with contradiction because science evolves over time.  Imagine what today’s scientists think about what scientists in the 1800s believed.  Clearly, whatever scientists thought they knew in the 1800s has been largely disproven today.  So why are we so confident in today’s science?  Surely 100 years from now, the scientists of the future will laugh loudly at some of the silly things today’s scientists believe.  If science is always right, why does “newer” science continuously disprove “older” science?

Vast Majority Of Science Is Funded By For Profit Corporations

One of the things most people overlook about scientific “truths” is the influence of mega for-profit corporations.  We often assume that scientists are a group of unbiased, highly intelligent and well trained people who have no particular special interests in what it is they are trying to prove.  We assume that whomever pays a scientist’s pay check has no influence on the eventual conclusions made by that scientist.

Yet, the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of “science” is funded by major corporations, either directly through their own research and development departments, or indirectly via grants given to Universities and other institutions.

Private corporations do not fund science just for the sheer joy of advancing the human race, they fund science that will give them a profitable opportunity in the marketplace, usually with the intention of creating a product that can be patented.  In other words, corporate science starts by asking what it is they want to prove, and then seeks out a way to prove it.  Corporations do not seek scientific discoveries that would save people money (like cures or prevention) they seek scientific discoveries that will cost people money (like patented products, drugs, or treatments).

Science Is Based On “Controlled” Studies

The so-called science discovered by major corporations is assumed to be true, if enough tests show a particular result.  But scientific tests are usually conducted in a lab or controlled environment.  If the tests were run in “uncontrolled” environments – like a natural environment – the results would be highly uncertain.  And yet, we don’t live in controlled environments, we live uncontrolled natural environments! So why do we put so much faith in conclusions derived from controlled environments when nobody actually lives in a controlled environment?

Who Fact Checks The Science?

If we assume that science is not some infallible source of truth but rather a for profit endeavor, who is responsible for ensuring the science we are being sold is actually reliable?  In other words, who fact checks the science?

It is supposed to be up to our government to keep corporate science honest, but government organizations typically have minimal resources and often have nothing to gain by questioning science and everything to lose.  Government watchdog agencies and the people who work from them are often lobbied, cajoled, or otherwise “encouraged” to simply agree with the science.  If you are one of those people who dares question a particular body of science – particularly a piece of science that cost a lot of money for the supporting company to develop – your job could be at risk.  In other words, support the science, you win, question the science, you lose.

When you consider the amount of money invested in scientists and lawyers, not to mention lobbyists and political favors, to prove a particular piece of science to be true, it is no wonder our government finds it difficult to disprove any of what corporate science deems to be true.  

Penalties Are A Tax Deductible Expense

It would seem that only after enough people have become ill or died from a particular body of false science that some questions are asked about the initial claims made.  Just look at all of the occasions where big pharmaceutical companies have been successfully sued after many years and many thousands if not millions of victims come forward (this Round Up lawsuit is just one example).

And the only time lawsuits ever happen is when there is a big enough profit motive on the part of the lawyers to take on these large, well funded organizations.  In other words, there has to be enough people with very serious damages to make it worthwhile for a law firm to entertain the legal case.  How many harms are being caused by corporate science that go unreported or unchallenged because the pay off isn’t big enough to make the legal challenge worthwhile?

Even when large corporations are successfully sued and ordered to pay billions of dollars in damages, nobody who works for the company is held personally liable for the damages.  The scientists who presented the initial false science are certainly not punished.  All that happens is the company writes off the lawsuit payment as a tax deductible expense on their balance sheet and business continues as usual.  And today, in the case of vaccines, pharmaceutical companies have somehow made it so they cannot be sued for damages caused by vaccines.

Could it be that the science of today is not working for the betterment of humankind, but rather working for the bottom line profits of the major corporations that fund most science?  If this is the case, should we trust science?

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