• Staci-lee Sherwood

Scientists are not activists - the glaring difference between Science and Scientists

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

By Staci-lee Sherwood

Most people confuse science with scientist and it’s an easy jump to make. Science at its core is simple and pure. The pursuit for answers is all it really is. How one goes about that pursuit is often controversial as are the conclusions that come from it. The dictionary defines science as ‘the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.’ This seems simple enough yet the myriad of applications used to observe activity are among some of the most painful and dangerous man has invented.

The biggest problem activists have is trying to accept that scientists are not activists themselves. They do not discover the side effects of the medicine they’re studying or see the dangers of chemicals they’re testing and suddenly feel a rush to warn the public. That’s a shame because if they did we would have a much safer, cleaner more humane world to live in. Most people who define themselves as an ‘activist’ find this disconnect unfathomable. An activist by nature is one who is driven by a cause with a mission to change things through a variety of methods. Much like the pursuit of science the pursuit of activists is often just as controversial.

More and more science departments at universities have become dependent on outside grants to continue their work. Whoever controls the purse controls the project and often the reported outcome. This creates an environment vulnerable to fraud and corruption. In a 2003 study done by George Monbiot in the UK he states By extending the doctrine of commercial confidentiality into university laboratories, inconvenient findings have been suppressed, and both free endeavour and free speech undermined. This has narrowed our scientific horizons and compromised government advisors. “ The full study can be found here

Think of all the scientists who for years made claims that smoking wasn’t a danger to one’s health. In fact many doctors would light up while conversing with a patient. Smoking was seen as a habit of the glamorous something the cool kids did and Hollywood latched onto that myth. Think back to movies from the 1930s, 40s and 50s and smoking was like a subtle main character threading the story. The dangers of nicotine and second hand smoke wasn’t known to the extent it is today but enough data was available to suggest it was not safe and certainly not a product that provided health benefits.

During the 1960s the country started to get a pushback from the younger generation. Often called the counter culture they were among the first to question and reject long held beliefs. Protests about the Vietnam war, women’s rights and birth control suddenly hit mainstream media and with that Main Street. Soon after people questioned the use of products they had come to consider safe and healthy. Taking on the tobacco industry was a huge undertaking and despite all we know now about the dangers of smoking it’s still big business. Many activists wonder how scientists working for Big Tobacco deliberately misinform the public and why the government let it continue for decades?

Lucky Strikes cigarettes makes health claims of throat protection if you smoked their brand.

Credit: Culture Club/Getty Images

Scientists who experiment on animals put them through unimaginable pain for seemingly useless studies. Even worse many of these studies are repeated over and over for no legitimate reason. Most people look at these horrific photos and wonder when these scientists will have that crisis of conscience. The moment when they step back and assess the situation in its raw truth. The clarity that comes when they finally realize what they’re doing is ethically and scientifically wrong. It’s hard to imagine how someone in the pursuit of finding a cure for Cancer could engage in something you only see in a horror movie.

The pain and cruelty caused by the devices and chemicals used on animals is among the most barbaric of anything we humans invented. Add to that how little is actually learned because homo sapiens have little in common with canines, felines, muridae or even primate (that 2% makes for a big difference). While many companies have moved away from animal testing (vivisection) many more have not. Testing chemicals for cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies is a multi billion dollar industry. Despite the FDA not requiring testing of cosmetics on animals it still goes on and globally is responsible for the death of billions of animals in labs. The FD&C Act does not specifically require the use of animals in testing cosmetics for safety, nor does the Act subject cosmetics to FDA premarket approval”.

One can only imagine the kind of mind that could intentionally inflict pain and ignore the screams. Even more mysterious is how a scientist can do this for years knowing the results have been altered to appease the company paying for the studies or to cover up government malfeasance. Perhaps the next century will bring about more scientific integrity and enlightenment when it comes to our exploitation of other species.

According to a PETA investigation ‘The University of Wisconsin–Madison, experimenters drilled holes into cats’ skulls, screwed metal restraint posts into their heads, implanted steel coils in their eyes, and deafened them in useless “sound localization” experiments. The lead experimenter admitted that “our goal is not to produce a clinical treatment or a cure.” A vigorous PETA campaign got these experiments stopped, but experiments on cats are still going on in other laboratories.’ The only logical conclusion for this behavior would be those who participated have such a severe mental and emotional disconnect from cruelty as to be a major threat to society. The connection between animal cruelty and human cruelty has been shown to be a major predictive factor according to the FBI and police departments. How this came to be called science and not blatant abuse has to do with our vision as a superior species and little else.

Another PETA investigation looked into Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc., where they tested insecticides and other chemicals on dogs, cats, and rabbits. Their investigation revealed ‘chronic neglect and physical abuse in addition to painful experiments. In one test, capsules containing thousands of ticks were strapped to rabbits so that the ticks could feast on them. After PETA released our findings, the laboratory was shut down and all the dogs and cats were adopted into loving homes.

Keep in mind these are just two insidious examples and not even among the worst. This practice goes on every day globally, torturing and killing with very little actual science to show for it. Many consider this to be the most glaring example of fraudulent science used to misinform and mislead the public. Often these studies are done by companies looking for legal loopholes when they knowingly put their product on the market with claims of safety and effectiveness To this day recalls of drugs are on a volunteer basis and holding the company responsible is all but impossible. Click here for more about undercover investigations

The testing done on animals is sold to the public as a legitimate form of science designed to insure a product or drug’s safety. Aside from the suffering of animals most of these studies have been guilty of falsifying data, drawing conclusions that have not been proven and hiding negative even dangerous side effects. Most people see the photos and videos and wonder how these scientists sleep at night how they perform these experiments knowing the pain they inflict. To learn more about these experiments and who’s doing them click here

The trend of having science studies funded by corporations and government agencies who have preplanned the conclusion they want is growing. This should give pause to anyone concerned about the separation between the pursuit of answers via science and those whose bank accounts depend on the results. Corporate interests often shop around for scientists or universities with financial weaknesses where they can be influenced for the right price. Many universities or departments are starved for funding and have to look outside for benefactors

Like a spider waiting in the corner corporations and government agencies will swoop in to control what experiments are performed and how conclusions are drawn. In the end they determine what if any results are released or redacted. For those looking to attend or work for a university in this rich climate of uncertainty, the source of funding can be hidden. As the lines between public and private sector are blurred many will find themselves working at what appears more like a corporation rather than an institution of higher learning.

State and federal agencies charged with keeping the public safe have been hijacked by corporate interests. If you’re looking for a scientist to flip to a whistleblower this would be the place to do it. Government blends the public and private sector and is privy to a host of data kept from the public. Most of the people involved with cleaning up water pollution, especially those trying to stop the herbicide spraying, don’t describe themselves as an activist. Often times these are residents who either got sick from contamination or see something that makes them curious to investigate. Once the corporate and government lies start to unravel many ‘average’ folks become motivated to work for change.

To complicate the muddled mess of ethics several FWC staff in the Aquatic Dept also sit on the board of a lobby firm alongside the pesticide companies they hire for million dollar contracts. When this much money is involved real science goes out the window in exchange for pseudo science. If you are in Florida and find this systemic corruption unacceptable start by contacting the person in charge of spraying; Matt Phillips Phone, 850-617-9430. (Outside of Florida just google your states Dept of Natural Resource or Fish & Game Dept and ask what herbicides they spray in the water I’m sure you will be unpleasantly surprised. )

Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) spraying herbicide on aquatic vegetation 2021

Listen to how FWC sprays and kills everything click here

Red Tide massive fish kill @ Indian Shores and Madeira Beach, Florida Oct 2021

Public perception often envisions the ‘mad scientist’ holed up in the basement doing unspeakable things. In the name of science that has often been the case. Think of the movie ‘The island of Dr Moreau’ and the xenotransplantation experiments shown in the fictional movie. Now fast forward a few decades and it’s become more of a reality. The premise for the movie and book was about creating animals with a higher intelligence equal to humans through a hybrid type breeding and experiments. This would be done by creating hybrid human-animal creatures who shared the best traits of both species. In reality it was a gruesome thought and considered shocking when H.G. Wells first wrote about it in 1896.

Back in the late 1890s there was growing opposition to animal research in Europe. This led to the creation of non profit organizations like the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) in 1875, and the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection in 1898. The book The Island of Dr. Moreau reflected the ethical, philosophical, and scientific concerns raised by the themes and ideas of Darwinian evolution which were so disrupting to social norms in the late 1800s. To learn about animal research and how to help click here

The search to cure deadly pathogens or create safe medicine is noble but it never translates into a big cash windfall. While some scientists look to help humanity for humanities sake for most it’s more of a job than the public likes to think. Finding a solution that ends a problem might bring glory but working for the greater good rarely ends with fame and job security. As we have seen in the past money can pollute even the most noble of causes and discredit once ethical institutions. As witnessed in politics the more universities and government agencies look to outside funding they will also be overwhelmed with the same outside influence. Once that happens it’s like fruit from the poisonous tree everything associated will be colored with the same ethical questions.

If we just look at science without the human agenda the pipeline of truth would be simple. There would be no interference based on religious, political or financial agenda. The science would be clean, the conclusions accepted with just the right amount of skepticism. Instead we have a dangerous situation where science is becoming agenda driven and that will never lead to truth, enlightenment or humane treatment. Unless we start to ensure that science departments and scientists are publically funded, peer reviewed and accountable for their conclusions we will continue to have corporate science. This is the rabbit hole we have gone down it is up to us as a country if we want to stay the course or dig ourselves out of the dark hole.

‘Guard dogs of perception: The corporate takeover of science’ to read the study click here

To read about how Big Tobacco & Big Oil use research click here

To read more about the conflict scientists have being whistleblowers click here

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