Friday 1 April 2011

James Enstrom update

Some readers will be familiar with Dr James Enstrom who, for 34 years, was at UCLA before being sacked last August because his research was "not aligned with the academic mission of the Department".

It is rather unfortunate that the academic mission of UCLA is incompatible with objective research and academic freedom, although since the University is situated in California, I guess it goes with the territory. Enstrom received a barrage of intimidation in 2003 when his case-control study in the British Medical Journal showed no excess cancer risk from secondhand smoke (conducted with Geoffrey Kabat and recently mentioned by Peter Hitchens).

Enstrom received much the same treatment last year when his study of air pollution did not support the California Environmental Protection Agency's a priori conclusion that particulate matter kills 2,000 people in the State each year. Enstrom's estimate of deaths from the type of air pollution that Cal-EPA want to prohibit—at enormous cost to the haulage industry—is more like zero.

Enstrom was sacked from UCLA for conducting this inconvenient study (and, as I mentioned in a previous post, his secondhand smoke study certainly greased the wheels). Since then, a number of studies have supported Enstrom's findings, but Cal-EPA ignored them in favour of a study conducted by Dr Hien T. Tran which happened to find a serious risk from the very thing Cal-EPA wanted to ban. The problem with Dr. Tran is that he's a fraud who bought his PhD from an online University for $1,000. Cal-EPA have since accepted this, but Enstrom's trials go on.

The video below (from tells the story. As Adam Kissel from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says:

If Dr Enstrom loses his job because he has expressed his academic freedom then it's a message to other researchers that you'd better not knock the boat because you might be next.

Do try to find nine minutes to watch this...


JJ said...

What I’m unclear about is whether Tran was given a position lower down the scale carrying out research. I would have thought that since he resigned from the position he sought to occupy, that he would have been terminated permanently. Or does perjury not count?

Is this the case?

Excellent vid BTW. Enstrom has suffered many ad hominem attacks over the years for simply telling the truth.

Christopher Snowdon said...

I think he got off with a two months suspension (there's a link to a pdf in the post under the words 'accepted this'). The scandal is that the Cal-EPA are still basing policy on this man's junk science.

Anonymous said...

The entire state of California operates based on junk-science and as such, the entire government is a sitting classic fraud of the emperor being naked in front of the subjects while the subjects continue not to see the reality of the situation. Because of this fact, California will continue to decline into the slime-pit of history as one of the most repressive anti-smoking and anti-freedom political situations ever devised.

Anonymous said...

On wonders when this political exploitation of science is going to be stopped. Who can stop it? How can it be stopped?

It is hard to see how politicians can be expected to do so since the bent science is in their political interests in the short term, and politics by its nature is short term.

Without giving the matter much thought, I feet that the answer lies with scientists themselves. I do not know whether or not there is such a thing as a 'Union' for scientists. I know that there are lots of professional bodies (which I think are probably hand in glove the the politicians), but a Union? I do not know.

Isn't the medical profession in much the same position? There is the MBA [medical assn] and the RCP [college of physicians] which are professional associations, but is their any organisation which is simply a doctors' Union? At least teachers have a proper union.