Monday, 11 June 2012

PSA: BAD (biased, agenda-driven) Science

This article is from 2006, but the phenom is not only still going on, it's getting worse. B.A.D. (biased, agenda-driven) science.
Creating B.A.D. science is simple. In the anti-abortion movement, a handful of scientists with conservative political agendas first publish articles, studies and commentaries in scientific journals, generating scientific "knowledge" about the dangers of abortion with unsubstantiated claims using problematic approaches.

In the 1980s, they tagged onto a scientific debate about abortion and breast cancer that appeared in the journals beginning in the 1950s. By repeatedly making the same claims in a variety of publications, they create the appearance of a body of scholarship that can be used to support a political goal of presenting apparently legitimate scientific evidence to influence the abortion debate. Then B.A.D. scientists create their own advocacy groups which in turn inspire new grassroots organizations with an agenda based on the scientists' claims. Newcomers join online or at the local level, and a movement with serious policy influence is born.
Here at DJ!, we cover the BAD science beat as well as we can.

Now, since the Abortion Debate Nobody But Fetus Fetishists Want, aka Woodworth's Wank, aka Motion 312, is already raging on Twitter and Facebook, and since the Fetus Lobby threatens to unleash 'up-to-date' science on it, herewith as a public service, a list of organizations to watch for. (I may do individuals later.)

Every single one of these is a propounder of biased, agenda-driven 'science' advancing the usual bogus claims: abortion causes breast cancer, mental illness, and infertility; fetal pain; Post-Abortion Syndrome; pregnancy by rape is rare and therefore an allowable exemption, etc.

In no particular order:

A newish one: World Expert Consortium for Abortion Research and Education or WECARE (awwww) for short. It's fronted by our old pal, Priscilla Coleman, Perfessor of Home Ec and Slut-Shaming. Also among its members is Elard Koch who authored a fraudulent study of abortion in Chile claiming there is no illegal abortion there and nobody dies from it.

Another newish one: Modelled on the esteemed Guttmacher Institute, which was once the research arm of Planned Parenthood, Charlotte Lozier Institute calls itself the 'education and research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List'.

A Canadian one: The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.

An old and venerable one: Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, featuring war-horses Joel Brind, Angela Lanfranchi, John T. Bruchalski and William L. Toffler.

One that has the honesty to call itself 'pro-life': Association for Interdisciplinary Research in Values and Social Change.

Another one with a cute acronym: MARRI Research Marriage and Religion Research Institute, which, as its title suggests is mostly into 'traditional' marriage and the horror of divorce, but also dips into the evils of contraception.

One of the grand-daddies and coiner of 'Post-Abortion Syndrome', Vincent Rue of the Institute for Pregnancy Loss, which still has no web presence.

And finally, another grand-daddy, The Elliot Institute, starring the 'Moses of the post-abortion movement'David Reardon.

There are probably more that I haven't run across yet. If you know of one, please add it to the comments and I'll update.

When fetus fetishists cite 'science' and 'studies', check to see if the paper or authors are affiliated with or funded by any of these.

If so, the work is BOGUS.

ADDED: From choice joyce in the comments: Pro-Life OB/GYNs. It doesn't seem to be a funding organization, but links to many of the usual suspects.

ADDED: Another totally bogus journal. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.


choice joyce said...

Thanks a lot for doing this great public service, Fern. You might also check out these guys: (American Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists) They're upfront about their stance, but their site might lead you to other groups/individuals to add to your list.

fern hill said...

I added your link.

Feel free to use this however you see fit. I'd love it if all reporters had a copy on their desktops while the cover the BS around M312.

fern hill said...

Erm. While 'they' cover . . .

opit said...

Sometimes I look at complaints about sexism, racism, class warfare, foreign wars and more...and wonder people don't see the parallels. AlterNet's repost of Orwell's notes on radio hate propaganda apply to any application of social 'Divide and Conquer' fragmenting of opposition into mutually suspicious movements.

B.A.D. science - to one mischaracterized as a Denier of science - is a different name for a related phenomenon.
Post Normal Science
This is part and parcel of larger rebranding
Where does this come from ?
What it implies

And why does a nonscientist get so pissed off ?

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the emerging bad science link between abortion and autism.

fern hill said...

Didn't know about that one. Will Google.

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