“While individual scientists may have their own agendas, the scientific method is a self-correcting process when it is allowed to function with transparency”
Just to add to what Jim said, this is generally true. The biases of individual scientists are usually filtered out by the many processes involved in publishing academic research. The issue comes when it isn’t individual scientists, but many scientists positioned throughout the processes who share the same biases.
Go back to that quote from Dr. Kassirer, “Data on [assault weapons’] risks are not needed, because they have no redeeming social value.” Again, Kassirer was the editor of the NEJM at this time. That is a shockingly unscientific attitude for the editor of a prestigious scientific journal to take. Claiming “they have no redeeming social value” is a totally subjective moral value judgement, which is being used to dismiss the need for actual inquiry. And that suggests to me that Kassirer was totally incapable of approaching this topic objectively. And that in turn leaves me with very little faith that Kellerman’s paper was reviewed with the same rigor that other papers would be subjected to. The fact that there were some obvious problems with Kellerman’s methodology only compounds that.
The issue isn’t merely that one scientist was biased. It’s that Kellerman, and Kassirer, and O’Carrol, and Rosenberg, and Christoffel, and Prothrow-Stith, and many others were, by their own public statements, transparently prejudiced on the topic.