To my loyal blog readers, thank you for allowing me the time to recover from my most recent 30,000 mile jet trip to Africa and South America. That was a travel and blogging marathon, and I needed a few weeks to catch my literary (and literal) breath. I am now back in the saddle again.
Science in modern society suffers a few ills, not the least of which is the production of misinformation that can be used to negate certain unwelcome results. From a personal perspective, I have seen the way certain religious groups attempt to discredit accepted methods for the dating of rock formations. Multiple lines of evidence that yield reliable and verifiable dates are nonetheless refuted by some who would rather we use a few verses in a 2,000 year old book from the Middle East to interpret earth history. With such beautiful evidence for an ancient earth (which by the way elevates the idea of god in most peoples minds), why would anyone adhere to the the idea of a 6,000 year earth? It boggles the mind.
Some scientists are finding that the generation of misinformation is itself a topic ripe for study. Robert Proctor, professor of the history of science at Stanford University, has undertaken a study of the development of misinformation and an interesting article published in the LA Times can be read here. Proctor looked at the first wave of manufactured misinformation that was developed by the tobacco industry. From there the vice has grown to include climate change deniers and the Affordable Health Care Act fear mongers. It all leads to greed.
In the end, science is the field that suffers. We create a society that not only fears science but despises it. One need only look to see the results in the society we live in.