I'm not sure who would be interested (maybe some of the psychologists), but just wanted to post an interesting article. For those who didn't know, there was a big controversy in the scientific community last year about this...
Federal probe of AIDS, sex research ends
by Patrick Letellier
The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said on Monday that, after an internal review, the agency has concluded that all the research grants challenged by religious conservatives last year are scientifically sound and deserve support.
The studies in question were drawn from a list compiled by the right-wing Traditional Values Coalition and focused on AIDS, addiction and sexuality, with many specifically addressing gay health issues.
Elias Zerhouni, appointed by President Bush to lead the NIH, said the agency will send letters defending the research to the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, both of which had roles in the investigation.
The NIH findings are "a wonderful declaration about the importance of our current scientific process, and underscore the fact that our process works," said Cynthia Gomez, co-director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
"I hope this is a reassurance to the general public in particular that these processes are really solid," Gomez [said]...
The controversial probe into NIH-funded research began last summer when a conservative lawmaker tried to block $1.5 million in funding for five NIH studies on sexual behavior. In October, two more congressmen, Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., and Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., issued a wider challenge of almost 300 NIH-funded studies on a list compiled by the Traditional Values Coalition (TVC).
The list, and the questioning of scientists it generated, sparked international outrage. "It was clear that this process was based on religious objections rather than suspicions about the science," said UCSF Chancellor Dr. Michael Bishop, in a San Francisco Chronicle report.
"Most people in the scientific world were in disbelief that this could happen," Gomez said. "To think that some political or religious belief would determine science was a serious concern."
Congressman Henry Waxman wrote two letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson last October defending the NIH, and called the investigation "scientific McCarthyism."
The TVC's list, Waxman wrote, sent "a clear message to scientists ... that the Bush administration is prepared to attack leading researchers and sacrifice scientific integrity at NIH to further a narrow right-wing ideological agenda."
Gomez said she hopes Monday's NIH actions stop the questioning of the scientific process and "refocus the debate on issues of how we can help save lives in this epidemic."