When Speaker Newt Gingrich greeted Dr. David Lewis in his office overlooking the National Mall, he looked at Dr. Lewis and said: “You know you’re going to be fired for this, don’t you?” “I know,” Dr. Lewis replied, “I just hope to stay out of prison.” Gingrich had just read Dr. Lewis’s commentary in Nature , titled “EPA Science: Casualty of Election Politics.” Three years later, and thirty years after Dr. Lewis began working at EPA, he was back in Washington to receive a Science Achievement Award from Administrator Carol Browner for his second article in Nature. By then, EPA had transferred Dr. Lewis to the University of Georgia to await termination—the Agency’s only scientist to ever be lead author on papers published in Nature and Lancet.
The government hires scientists to support its policies; industry hires them to support its business; and universities hire them to bring in grants that are handed out to support government policies and industry practices. Organizations dealing with scientific integrity are designed only to weed out those who commit fraud behind the backs of the institutions where they work. The greatest threat of all is the purposeful corruption of the scientific enterprise by the institutions themselves. The science they create is often only an illusion, designed to deceive; and the scientists they destroy to protect that illusion are often our best. This book is about both, beginning with Dr. Lewis’s experience, and ending with the story of Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
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About the Author
David L. Lewis, PhD, changed dentistry to a heat-sterilization standard worldwide in 1992 when his research at the University of Georgia showed that germicides recommended by the CDC and FDA could not prevent common dental devices from causing sporadic cases of HIV infection. As a veteran microbiologist in EPA’s Office of Research & Development, his medical and environmental research and commentaries on the politics of science have been covered in news articles and documentaries by every major media outlet, from Reader’s Digest to National Geographic.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Important and courageous testimonial of the wanting integrity in aspects of our regulatory agencies and their science.
Dr. Lewis' contributions to science over the course of his career (before it was abruptly ended) are carefully documented. His commitment to his subject is rare, almost unparalleled, in the halls of government. As a former employee of a large university research center, I find his research, recording, and reporting to be superb. Sadly, his honest reporting is somewhat of a rarity these days within the halls of large institutions, public and private, that fall over themselves to rake in as much money as they possibly can. Lewis' papers should be required reading by all interested not only in science, health, and biology, but most especially by future philosophers pondering the demise of human health. Why didn't somebody DO something? Dr. Lewis stepped up while others winked at each other and counted their money. If you're a serious researcher and have ever asked yourself why you chose such a profession, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Likewise if you're a concerned citizen who thinks for him/herself.
Contrary to the other current 'review', which seems to have been written by one of Dr. Lewis' antagonists, I found this book quite compelling; it's obvious he knows his research material. Have you ever wondered what happens to all the chemicals you put down the drain, the pharmaceuticals that tens of millions are taking every day, hair dyes, cleaning products, etc? Well, you're not allowed to set up your own household composting toilet, but instead it's all sent to a 'water treatment plant' which settles out the solids and then proceeds to spread this heavily contaminated sludge on the land your dairy cows and beef cattle browse on; trouble is, the pathogens re-invigorate causing wind and grass contamination. . The other 'review' here, given the comment about 'publisher of anti-vaccine books' clearly has an agenda far afield from scientific research. Shame. If we can't consider someone with a long employment history and a Ph.D. as 'knowing much about his subject matter', then clearly random book reviewers are not capable of determining the book's worth. The EPA is clearly compromised, 'The air is safe to breathe' - Christine Todd Whitman, EPA, September 12, 2001, speaking of lower Manhattan...
This is a very poor book. Lewis plainly does not know much about his subject matter, and instead has been given an opportunity by a publisher of anti-vaccine books to work out his grudges. The book is very badly written, and only appears to give a very one-sided account of run-ins he has had with others. There is no wider reportage or investigation, and the people he attacks have been given no chance to explain themselves. I have to say, the fact that Lewis says he was fired by the Evironmental Protection Agency does not make me think that he is the right person to write objectively about ethics in science. I would have to think that he was trying to settle old scores. There are also numerous silly errors - ranging from the spelling of Dr Harold Jaffe's name (and I would think that anyone seriously involved in HIV science in recent decades would know that off the top of their heads) to Lewis's wrong belief that the UK's General Medical Council is something to do with the government. I would say that this is a very weak book, and that anyone with an interest in science and ethics should look elsewhere.