Scientists found to resort to self-censorship to avoid backlash

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Bruce Rind of Temple University is another example. In 1998, he analyzed 59 previous studies of college students who had been sexually abused as children. His findings challenged the conventional wisdom that such abuse always causes intense harm.

But the backlash from politicians and the media was so furious that Rind has abandoned research in the field. "Even data that I had collected before the attacks went on hold," Rind said in an e-mail exchange. "The funding situation and media treatment obviously favor only research on socially sensitive issues that aims at confirming the prevailing opinion. Researchers who don't conform to this can pay a price. Real science, though, needs both attempts at confirming and at disconfirming," he continued. "A big problem in research, then, on socially controversial topics is self-censorship, which we do to avoid being censured."

source: Article 'Scientists found to resort to self-censorship to avoid backlash' by Julie Bell; www.registerguard.com/news/2005/02/13/a1.sciencecensor.0213.html; The Baltimore Sun; 13 February 2005