Information Suppression

The recent flurry of stories concerning information suppression and punitive actions against scientists who do not conform (P. Rushton, The Scientist, Oct. 3, 1994, page 13; P. Duesberg, The Scientist, March 20, 1995, page 12) is quite disconcerting. To those who contrive to withhold from nonconformists grants or access to public debate, one should say: Please be kind to our dissidents. Anything worth doing has been started by them, and any mainstream that today dominates segments of science wa

By | July 10, 1995

The recent flurry of stories concerning information suppression and punitive actions against scientists who do not conform (P. Rushton, The Scientist, Oct. 3, 1994, page 13; P. Duesberg, The Scientist, March 20, 1995, page 12) is quite disconcerting. To those who contrive to withhold from nonconformists grants or access to public debate, one should say: Please be kind to our dissidents. Anything worth doing has been started by them, and any mainstream that today dominates segments of science was once a dissident's idea. The editors might help in a crucial way by letting them battle each other in the pages they control and not in the conference rooms of National Institutes of Health grant review committees.

One could muse for quite a while whether or not the increased sensitivity concerning fairness issues represents evidence that science per se is no longer a prime objective of scientists. A dash of combative spirit has always been around, but the mean- spirited suppression by economic means (promotion, tenure), withholding of research funding, and shunning, I think, is an invention of the affluent scientific establishment of the past 30 years; ignominy was never so religious.

Christian Schwabe
Department of Biochemistryand Molecular Biology
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, S.C. 29425-2211


(The Scientist, Vol:9, #14, pg.13 , July 10, 1995)
(Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.)
garfield@aurora.cis.upenn.edu
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