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Bending Science: How Special Interests Corrupt Public Health Research

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Overview

"What do we know about the possible poisons that industrial technologies leave in American air and water? How reliable is the science that federal regulators and legislators use to protect the public from dangerous products and pollutants? As this impressively well-documented and deeply disturbing book shows, ideological or economic attacks on research - and on scientists personally - are not isolated incidents, but part of an extensive pattern of abuse." "McGarity and Wagner reveal the range of sophisticated legal and financial tactics political and corporate advocates use to discredit or suppress research, or invent controversy, on possible human health hazards." With compelling stories drawn entirely from the public record, McGarity and Wagner describe the ways many advocates attempt to bend science to reach a convenient outcome or to "spin" inconvenient findings if they become public. An immense number of legal tools are available to shrewd and well-heeled partisans determined to manipulate research.
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Editorial Reviews

Texas Law Journal
Bending Science is so chock-full of ideas and insights...McGarity and Wagner's insight has large implications both for potential legal reforms and for public faith in the integrity of the scientific process...Bending Science is an immensely important book. It is one of quite a large number of books published recently on the manipulations of science by interest groups and the government. Yet even in this crowded field, Bending Science stakes out its own ground and makes an invaluable contribution to the debate over the role of science in public policy.
— Lisa Heinzerling
Metapsychology
Bending Science is an intelligent and compelling blend of investigative journalism and theoretical analysis of the structural and functional flaws of the research enterprise, from the development of testable ideas to the use of its results for practical purposes...Bending Science [is] an indispensable read for our current troubled times. All in all, this book is a must-read not only for researchers devoted to the scientific method but also for all who wish to become competent consumers of research that can influence their lives. The narrative is an eye-opener, which will provide the reader with tools to understand the research process and protect himself/herself from advocacy-based distortions.
— Maura Pilotti
Carl F. Cranor
Drawing together a host of little-known but dramatic cases, this landmark book documents more comprehensively than any previous study, what has been suspected for years: how extensively scientific data are misused and abused in regulatory and tort law. Society depends on science to guide public policy on health and safety, but as McGarity and Wagner show, many interest groups do all they can to influence --and undermine-- independent and honest research. Bending Science shows just how far science has been corrupted, and offers a road to reform.
Lisa Heinzerling
Bending Science is so chock-full of ideas and insights...McGarity and Wagner's insight has large implications both for potential legal reforms and for public faith in the integrity of the scientific process...Bending Science is an immensely important book. It is one of quite a large number of books published recently on the manipulations of science by interest groups and the government. Yet even in this crowded field, Bending Science stakes out its own ground and makes an invaluable contribution to the debate over the role of science in public policy.
Metapsychology - Maura Pilotti
Bending Science is an intelligent and compelling blend of investigative journalism and theoretical analysis of the structural and functional flaws of the research enterprise, from the development of testable ideas to the use of its results for practical purposes...Bending Science [is] an indispensable read for our current troubled times. All in all, this book is a must-read not only for researchers devoted to the scientific method but also for all who wish to become competent consumers of research that can influence their lives. The narrative is an eye-opener, which will provide the reader with tools to understand the research process and protect himself/herself from advocacy-based distortions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674028159
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas O. McGarity is Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Texas.

Wendy Wagner is Joe A. Worsham Centennial Professor of Law at the University of Texas.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction 1

2 Why Bend Science?: The Players, the Setting, and the Consequences 20

3 Where Are the Scientists?: Distorting Science without Oversight or Penalty 44

4 Shaping Science: The Art of Creating Research to Fit One's Needs 60

5 Hiding Science: The Art of Concealing Unwelcome Information 97

6 Attacking Science: The Art of Turning Reliable Research into "Junk" 128

7 Harassing Scientists: The Art of Bullying Scientists Who Produce Damaging Research 157

8 Packaging Science: The Art of Assembling an Expert Group to Advance a Favored Outcome 181

9 Spinning Science: The Art of Manipulating Public Perceptions about Credible Science 204

10 Restoring Science: Forcing Bent Science Out into the Open 229

11 Reforming Science Oversight: Instituting More Vigorous Oversight Processes 259

12 Final Thoughts: A Broader Perspective on the Problem and the Prospects for Change 291

Notes 301

Index 377

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