Our modern state claims its environmental and health regulations are based upon “science,” usually in the form of large compendia, such as the period reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But, what happens if science is being systematically distorted by the incentive structure for advancement in one’s profession?
The Center for the Study of Science is positioned at the nexus between science and policy. Is science a neutral, value-free profession? Can that be the case, in tier-one academia, when one’s success is largely related to the amount of money, most of it public, the employee brings into a university? Are there incentives in Washington, where there is intense competition for federal monies, to exaggerate various problems and issues? What effect does this have upon the scientific literature, which is the modern canon of knowledge? Affirmative answers to these questions may explain the virulent epidemic of withdrawn papers now spreading through the profession, and the grotesquely distorted policies that result from an organically biased base of modern knowledge.