It's also a story of the urgency of dealing with science openly, honestly, and in terms people can understand. That’s why the story of the early days of atomic energy are so relevant today as we battle misinformation and disinformation on science in general and vaccines in particular.
And it’s why I’m extra-proud the New York Times chose to publish my letter in today’s edition. I think that considering science as our “home field advantage” is a far more powerful and positive approach to addressing the public’s diminishing trust in the FDA and the industries it regulates than “battling” people like RFK, Jr. Let’s fight on our own turf.
Here’s my short letter. I hope you enjoy it and hope (even more so) that somewhere my father is smiling.
Oppenheimer’s Lessons on Politics and Science
To the Editor:
Whether it’s harsh truths about atomic power or the merits of vaccines against Covid-19, influenza and childhood illnesses, it’s science — regularly, honestly and clearly explained — that is sanity’s ultimate home-field advantage.
Peter J. Pitts
The writer, a former F.D.A. associate commissioner, is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a visiting professor at the University of Paris School of Medicine.