The book titled JUNK SCIENCE: How Politicians, Corporations, and Other Hucksters Betray Us by Dr. Dan Agin was very interesting book. Dr. Agin has a Ph.D. in biological psychology and thirty years of laboratory-research experience in neurobiology and is an associate professor emeritus of molecular genetics and cell biology at the University of Chicago.
I must admit when I picked up this book I was a bit put off by the premise of this book. Junk Science, Agin argues is not “bad science” or weak science, but is the socially destructive and often fatal twisting of science by special interests, usually associated with big money. He points out that those in power are usually aware of the importance of science to the retention of power.
In general, any political group or movement that twists science with bias in order to support a particular agenda is producing “junk science”, even if the twisting is subtle rather than blatant. The public has experienced the results of “junk science” by a few of those associated within the PLA industry who make false and misleading claims and have not backed up their own claims through sound scientific data. This only results in creating more confusion for the public and a lack of trust for the environmental benefit biodegradable plastic solutions can bring for our planet. Personally it has been an eye opener for me to see key individuals from the science community which are well respected in their field using their position to misinform the public with incorrect data about the microbiology of biodegradable plastics.
Dr. Agin covers a number of interesting topics within the book such as obesity, medicine, cloning, global warming, stem cell research and many other topics which are at the forefront of controversial discussions. He points out that “it’s usually easy for a researcher of high status, an authority figure, to fabricate and publish over an extended period of time, since the majority of researchers will automatically assume the work is legitimate.” This statement lead me to wonder how much misinformation is being presented to the public from big business organizations in order to promote an agenda? This exact question is what lead ENSO Bottles to openly present and offer to the public our biodegradation and recyclability testing of our biodegradable PET bottles. There are companies making claims about biodegradable, compostable and degradable plastics without providing any scientific data to support these claims. Others are using industry specific non-profit organizations to certify their products as compostable and also do not provide any such data to support the certification. As an environmental company we believe transparency is important and as such have taken the higher road with posting our data and ask the same for the entire biodegradable plastics industry, let’s all do away with “Junk Science” and actually make a positive difference for the planet.
A significant correlation that Dr. Agin addresses is “big money” and the science that supports “big money”. “Why are some forms of twisted science readily accepted by the public and other brushed aside?”, this is a question that Dr. Agin addresses in the book with a surprising and simple answer; we have a tendency to believe whatever we view as authority tells us. This results in organizations using power and positions of authority to push agendas through the use of false information which is at the very best “junk science” and at the worst downright criminal.
By Danny Clark
ENSO Bottles, LLC