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More on Science

On the same thread as my recent Right Science entry, the New York Times has a story about administration agencies revising scientific information online to reflect a more politically conservative agenda.

The National Cancer Institute, which used to say on its Web site that the best studies showed "no association between abortion and breast cancer," now says the evidence is inconclusive.

A Web page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used to say studies showed that education about condom use did not lead to earlier or increased sexual activity. That statement, which contradicts the view of "abstinence only" advocates, is omitted from a revised version of the page.

Perceived as quiet moves to appease conservative constituents, these changes have been decried by many scientists and Democrats as the "political creation of scientific uncertainty." Noting again that the science just isn't conclusive enough, the administration again shows itself to be quite comfortable making important decisions based on a dearth of information.

Both uncertainty and politics frequently have strong presences in science, and particularly controversial science. Steven Epstein's Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge provides an intriguing example.