The dumbing down of politics moves full speed ahead as
legitimate science is thrown off the bus in favor of junk studies and reports
designed to shore up ideological arguments and score political points.  The media is complicit as they give outsized
coverage to slapdash studies that fuel controversy, while virtually ignoring
rigorous science that might ease public concerns.

Certainly, the present GOP Presidential field overwhelmingly
rejects mainstream science–denying evolution and dismissing  the existence of climate change.  Former Utah Governor Jon Hunstman–the only
candidate to defend the legitimacy of science–has yet to break double digits
in the horserace polls.

Democrats are hardly immune to junk science fever.  A case in point is found here in California where
Assembly Bill 1319 is sitting on the Governor’s desk waiting for his
signature.  This measure would baby
bottles and sippy cups containing the chemical bisphenol A  (BPA) that has been "linked" a
plethora of nasty things ranging from early puberty and hyperactivity to breast
and prostate cancer, infertility and obesity.  
These so-called linkages have been unearthed in a series of haphazard
research projects whose only logical conclusion is that more study is
needed.  Nevertheless,  this lack of rigor has not stopped lawmakers
from pushing forward with their BPA ban, instead of waiting for the State’s new
Green Chemistry process to make a determination based on a thorough review of
scientific evidence.

Why the rush to judgment?  
The media gets a lot of credit here. 
They seem to feed off the scary stuff and bury the good news.  For instance, the Breast Cancer Fund has
published a study claiming there is BPA in cans of food marketed for
children.  They offer no proof that the
levels of BPA in these cans are posing any significant risk.   As Trevor Butterworth wrote in Forbes
"the BPA is there to protect the seals in the cans from failing and
allowing the food to be contaminated with….things like botulism."  The substantive  risk may very well be getting rid of the
BPA.  Even so, the media dotes on stories
like the flimsy Breast Cancer Fund report.  
On the flip side, virtually no media attention is given to a recent EPA-funded
study that fed large quantities of food from BPA cans to adults  and found BPA at below the levels of
detection is subsequent blood tests for most and at very low levels for the
rest.  It seems that the body efficiently
metabolizes BPA, so it is no harm, no foul. 

It is unfortunate that in today’s world of red hot sound
bites and an overheated blogasphere that good science has been relegated to the
sidelines.  Political talking points have
a short shelf life, but bad policy lingers and provides the danger to the