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Whatever happened to academic freedom?

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / April 21, 2004 12:52 PM PDT
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Re:Whatever happened to academic freedom?
by Dick White / April 22, 2004 4:22 AM PDT

I'd agree with you if it appeared to be simply a matter of different scientific opinion. Even within the narrow argument of differing opinions, this isn't just esoteric scientific debate like whether or not the big bang happened this way or that way; it seems this guy is advocating a behavior (regular unprotected exposure to UV) regarded by other scientists as risky when the scientific basis for his claim isn't all that strong.

However, it is the association with the tanning industry that bothers me. Yeah, he said they didn't tell him what to do or influence his thinking. If you believe that, then why are you so bothered by the oil and gas industry and other corporate support for Bush and Cheney?


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Interesting question ...
by Mosonnow / April 22, 2004 8:33 PM PDT

First, I read the article but not the links, and also acknowledge that you are slightly more knowledgeable than I (a masterly understatement if ever there was one).

If he is suggesting that a few sunblock-free minutes a couple of times per week outside is all it takes to get Vitamin D requirement, then I find it odd that he would be asked to resign, since the alternative would seem to be to wear sun-block on every occasion when one leaves the house - not overly likely IMO.

Secondly, the anti-sun (and anti-tanning) view must now be virtually world-wide, so it seems unlikely to me that his one book will instantly reverse that thinking (people aren't that gullible). Therefore he should put his views into the marketplace so that others can argue his theories. He might have a profit motive from book sales, eg as Eric von Daniken, but I assume that he actually believes what he is saying.

Thirdly, (an aside) I would be interested to read more research into other causes of melanoma, which can be a serious, indeed fatal, condition. From my limited experience here, it can be contracted by those spending very little time in the sun. If his ideas open up this aspect, then all to the good IMO.

Whilst you describe it as lack of "academic freedom", to me it is as an unrealistic "gagging" and I can only wonder whether he has upset his superiors by writing a book, effectively at his employers' expense, rather than publishing a medical paper.

Prima facie, it seems weird to me, unless his superiors are members of the flat-earth society.


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