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[P]
Bush administration distorting science to support political agendas

By ceallach in Op-Ed
Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 08:11:13 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

These actions, which have been known for quite some while, are the most
dangerous actions an administration has taken in my lifetime. The long term implications
of these actions will affect Americans, other peoples, and the environment
for a long time. What do the politicians involved have to say?

"The scientists are biased."
Right.


Alarmed by what they call the "suppression and distortion of science" by the Bush administration, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a scathing report:

On February 18, 2004, more than 60 leading scientists - including Nobel laureates, leading medical experts, former federal agency directors, and university chairs and presidents - issued a statement charging that the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels.

On subjects ranging from Global Warming to the Endangered Species Act, the scientists accused the administration of disbanding panels that don't agree with its policies, putting unqualified people on scientific advisory panels and censoring or misrepresenting the findings of agency scientists.

The response of the Bush administration's science adviser, John Marburger, was to call the report biased and say he was troubled that some very prestigious scientists had signed the statement.
He also called the report "disappointing" and likened it to "a conspiracy theory report."

Many administrations have suffered with this problem, indeed it has been stated that the Clinton administration suppressed research and funding for research that either did not support or was inconvenient for Al Gore's environmental agenda. But, by all accounts, this administration has been the most egregious offender in memory. Russell Train, head of the Environmental Protection Agency under the former Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, said that during his tenure: "I do not recall ever receiving a suggestion, let alone an order, from the White House as to how I should make a regulatory decision. How times have changed."

The report, "Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science," did not uncover new episodes of alleged tampering, but it did add previously unknown details - some from government scientists who had not spoken out before. "Its major purpose was to show how comprehensive and widespread these practices are. It's the overall picture that is most distressing," said one of the signers, Rice University physicist Neal Lane, a former director of the National Science Foundation, as well as the presidential science adviser during the Clinton administration

Last week, when the American Association for the Advancement of Science held its annual meeting -- the world's largest general science conference -- in Seattle, the chief executive officer of the organization expressed concerns similar to that of those who signed the report issued yesterday.

"Neither ideology nor policy concerns should constrain the research agenda in any way," said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of the AAAS. Leshner said there is a "frightening trend" in this direction now, in which scientists whose findings appear to run counter to the dominant political or cultural agenda are losing funding or appointments.

Various Articles on the subject:
The New York Times
Wired
The Guardian
The Baltimore Sun

Stop the Bush Admistration's Abuse of Science
Across a broad range of public policy issues and on an unprecedented scale, the Bush administration is censoring and distorting science-based information that does not match its agenda. This misuse of science has serious consequences for our health, safety, and environment. Urge your representatives and senators to insist that congressional science committees investigate this important issue.

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Related Links
o On February 18, 2004, more than 60 leading scientists - including Nobel laureates, leading medical experts, former federal agency directors, and university chairs and presidents - issued a statement charging that the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels.
o The New York Times
o Wired
o The Guardian
o The Baltimore Sun
o Stop the Bush Admistration's Abuse of Science
o Also by ceallach


Display: Sort:
Bush administration distorting science to support political agendas | 148 comments (130 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
Science became obsolete. (1.35 / 14) (#3)
by SIGNOR SPAGHETTI on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 03:19:39 PM EST

After Viagra was invented. It has no purpose now.

--
Stop dreaming and finish your spaghetti.

Science and viagra (none / 2) (#23)
by joto on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 06:59:34 PM EST

Before science, people didn't live long enough to need viagra. So, in a (your?) sense, we've just gone full circle.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 1) (#38)
by nebbish on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 06:51:02 AM EST

The noble quest for the hangover cure continues.

---------
Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Hangover vaccination (none / 1) (#132)
by tzanger on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 02:56:41 PM EST

500mg of B12 before binging.


[ Parent ]
Yes (1.66 / 12) (#5)
by fae on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 03:43:25 PM EST

He's obviously the only one doing that. Let's all point at the funny man and pretend we don't distort science for our aims.

-- fae: but an atom in the great mass of humanity
We're not the leaders of the free world... (2.50 / 6) (#7)
by nkyad on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:18:06 PM EST

I know I am not the most powerful man in the world. My distortions of science for my own aims affect a lousy little number of people and events. Your mileage may vary.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Speak for yourself (none / 0) (#9)
by bigbtommy on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:30:20 PM EST

My friend went to Brussels on holiday and all I got was this lousy job as President of the European Court of Justice.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]
I see (none / 1) (#16)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 05:06:59 PM EST

So it's okay with you to distort science, as long as your viewpoints don't directly impact a certain number of people?  I'm glad you seem to think that ends are more important than means.

So while we're thinking about end results, I think the original poster was attempting to say, "Why point out the speck in Bush's eye, when you have a speck just as large or larger in your own?"  It's not a problem with Bush, as if he was some sort of pariah hellbent on politicizing science.  He's just the latest to do it (and this by no means just applies to politicians!), and by singling him out as an exception instead of the rule, we avoid the hard questions and harder answers about the systemic failures concerning the combination of public policy and science.

[ Parent ]

I love the taste of your words in my mouth (none / 2) (#58)
by nkyad on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:04:41 AM EST

Nevertheless I still never said them. I never said "it's okay with you to distort science, as long as your viewpoints don't directly impact a certain number of people". I was trying to imply the magnitude problem involved. If I insist global warming is a myth no matter the evidence it is real, my opinion does not impact on public policy, research funding or law making. Bush and his givernment, on the other hand, have the power to stop or impair any measure designed to minimize or stop the same global warming.

I understood perfectly well the point the topmost poster was trying to make. What I am pointing is that it does not matter if Bush is the first or the thousanth or the millionth politician to do it. What matters is that his attitude has terrible consequences. That's what the report is all about.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
Yes, you're absolutely right (none / 0) (#30)
by kjb on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 09:33:00 PM EST

since others do it as well, we shouldn't criticize him for it.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

-1, Criticizes our President (1.00 / 20) (#8)
by polish surprise on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:21:52 PM EST


--
Controversy is my middle name.

+1, Criticizes our President (1.11 / 9) (#11)
by thankyougustad on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:54:06 PM EST



No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
+1 FP, Criticises your President (2.11 / 9) (#25)
by Lacero on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 07:27:54 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Doh (none / 1) (#46)
by Morosoph on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 09:41:27 AM EST

-1, Criticizes our President

Scientific

[ Parent ]

Meh. (2.46 / 13) (#10)
by jmzero on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:44:50 PM EST

On subjects ranging from Global Warming to the Endangered Species Act, the scientists accused the administration of...

"Couching their general distaste for Bush in issues ranging from the environment to the environment, scientists who don't like Bush have got together to say that they don't like Bush."

The breadth of the charges being laid here is good evidence that there's not one big scandal in the pile.  Instead, it's going to be full of typical bureaucratic stupidity, fickle funding decisions, and the results of trying to do boundary science in a country full of people who don't like boundary science.  Hint: it wasn't Bush that made people not like cloning.  They didn't like birth control at first either.  

Even though Bush wasn't yet in power?  How did Bush do it?

Ignoring scientists is a proud, bipartisan political tradition.  In many ways, it's like Captain Kirk ignoring Scotty.  Scotty's job is about the engines, whereas the Captain's job to make the ship run.  They end up seeing problems differently, and the Captain learns to filter Scotty out unless he's really screaming.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

Scotty (none / 0) (#59)
by IPFreely on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:09:56 AM EST

Yeah, I especialy like the episode where Kirk proudly claims that the Enterprise can do Warp 11, runs on liquid naquida and has a cloaking device, dispite Scotty standimg behind him whispering that it only does warp 8, runs on dilithium crystals, and only has shields. Seeing the look on Scotty's face when he actually had to do all this was priceless.

[ Parent ]
wow (none / 3) (#12)
by cronian on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:56:03 PM EST

Bush is politician, who lies to support his politicol agenda. Amazing!!!!!!! Never happened before!

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
what a great justification (2.00 / 4) (#14)
by eudas on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 04:57:35 PM EST

that's why it's ok for it to happen over and over and over!

eudas
"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

no!! (2.50 / 6) (#29)
by cronian on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 08:38:19 PM EST

I'm pretty anti-bush, and I don't like how ideology triumphs over facts, but the problems are possible because way too many don't even understand the difference between a fact and opinion. The problem comes from serious problems in the educational system, and the medias complete ignorance of basic scientific processes or facts. Newspapers always say things like "scientists recently discovered...," and then take a distorted view of the published findings on authority. The media portrays scientists as elitist experts, and they always group real scientists along with pseudo-scientists, who have a strong conflict of interest. They often totally ignore any signs of caution published in the findings, and often report preliminary, controversial findings, as fact.

People see the media portrayal of scientists, and they think of scientific findings as simply the opinions of elitists claiming to be experts. This is made worse because the media never deals with actual, but rather they report what various people claim without any justification. In this sort of environment politicians lose much of their justifications to dealing with facts, because any scientific evidence is going to have margins of error, and little pockets of doubt, which can easily be exploited by whoever argues the other side. Once facts don't matter in the argument, they don't have political value, it easier to argue against the facts, because you won't be tempted to make the mistake of actually resorting to arguing with facts. All this is not new, and it all pre-dates Bush.

Some may even argue that the Bush administration understands the facts, and our happy with their policies after considering the facts, which I think is closer to reality. I think they don't mind destroying the country and the world if they can reward their top supporters a little more.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
Another writeup (2.33 / 6) (#17)
by felixrayman on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 05:12:21 PM EST

Calpundit has a good summary of this story today. He calls the Bush administration's attitude "conservative Lysenkoism" after an episode in the Soviet Union where completely bogus theories of evolution were the official state position and anyone who disagreed was sent to the gulag.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

Let's not kid ourselves (2.68 / 19) (#18)
by Stickerboy on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 05:30:18 PM EST

Bush is not the problem.  His administration is just doing what a multitude of people, past and present, are doing: picking a preconceived position that sounds good to them, and finding bits of science that back them up without looking at the holistic picture.

On global warming, stem cell research, and a variety of other issues, this is evident on any side of the debate, whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or an independent.

This isn't even a "people in power abusing it" problem: this is something that extends from the most powerful (Bush) all the way down to Joe Sixpack Everyman, and it starts when we convince all our kids in grade school that "Science" is all about discovering black-and-white, set-in-stone facts about our universe that never change and can be easily regurgitated on multiple-choice exams.

I'm a medical student with a Bachelor's in both business and microbiology.  Let me say this: if I had stuck to the introductory science courses required by my business degree, I would still have this misconception about what science is, and how scientists go about their business.

And if it takes an undergraduate degree in a true science to finally have it explained to you that sometimes "It depends", "Sometimes", or "Within certain parameters" are actually valid answers to scientific questions, what does that say about the 95%+ of the rest of the population that never finished high school, never went to college, or became English majors (poor souls ;))?

Singling out Bush, like I've said above, provides a convenient scapegoat without looking at the real problem or how to solve it: "Oh, look at Bush!  He's so eeevil!  He's distorting science to fit his viewpoint!"  The unsaid conclusion to this, of course, is that if we get rid of Bush, or even Republican politicians, that this will somehow be fixed.

""Neither ideology nor policy concerns should constrain the research agenda in any way," said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of the AAAS. Leshner said there is a "frightening trend" in this direction now, in which scientists whose findings appear to run counter to the dominant political or cultural agenda are losing funding or appointments."

The sad part is that Dr. Leshner calls this a "trend", as if this were something new, instead of the reality of the commingling of science, public funding, and public policy for the last.... hell.  Louis Pasteur was manipulating this same kind of system back in the 1800s in Europe.

It's times like these (none / 2) (#19)
by desiderandus on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 05:37:17 PM EST

that I wish I could rate comments multiple times. Encourage!
_________
Our sins catch up to us in the worst possible way; they become part of our essential identities.
[ Parent ]
Seems to miss the point... (2.80 / 5) (#20)
by kmcrober on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 06:06:46 PM EST

You make some very good points, but what, then, do you suggest?  Criticizing Bush for distorting science can be read as a primarily anti-Bush message, but it could just as easily be read as a pro-objective science message; the fact that Bush isn't alone in promoting bad science for political aims in no way detracts from the importance of calling attention to his malfeasance.  It may make it more important, in fact.  

If it takes the harsh abuses of a particularly partisan administration to fire up the "let science be science" crowd, then so be it.  I hope they stick around, and are just as nosey and noisy during the next administration, whosever that is.

[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#60)
by Battle Troll on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:10:04 AM EST

I hope they stick around, and are just as nosey and noisy during the next administration, whosever that is.

Contrast this with the liberal response to discriminatory behaviour in college admissions...
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

I don't follow... (none / 0) (#62)
by kmcrober on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:26:36 AM EST

That reads like a total non-sequitor to me.  Mind breaking it down?

[ Parent ]
not that I'm on the right (none / 0) (#65)
by Battle Troll on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:48:48 AM EST

But it seems interests me that so many people are there, and that they feel the victims when they're usually better off.

Criticizing Bush for distorting science can be read as a primarily anti-Bush message, but it could just as easily be read as a pro-objective science message; the fact that Bush isn't alone in promoting bad science for political aims in no way detracts from the importance of calling attention to his malfeasance.

I don't mean to conflate the seriousness of one with the other, but that's like saying, in response to an allegation that the police are more likely to arrest a black man for traffic violations, that 'police racism in no way detracts from the importance of arresting traffic offenders.' To me, it's damned upsetting to hear that some scientists were willing (consciously or un-) to soft-pedal violations under Clinton that they will then rebuke Bush for. A know-nothing might call it using science as a 'tool of oppression,' and there'd be a point behind the preposterous hyperbole.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

It still doesn't track for me (none / 0) (#107)
by kmcrober on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 06:08:29 PM EST

I really must be missing something.  I don't see the connection between the line you quoted first and your comment...  Maybe I'm just tired.

Now, the bit you quote here, you make a good comment on.  I agree with you, it's no good to give the scientists a pass because we liked the last administration.  But I think my original point stands; the failure to speak up yesterday is no reason to be silent today.

And I think there's always a point in preposterous hyperbole; it's what makes it good for poking people.

[ Parent ]

hmm (none / 0) (#126)
by Battle Troll on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 01:47:29 PM EST

But I think my original point stands; the failure to speak up yesterday is no reason to be silent today.

No, but it doesn't convince anyone of your non-partisan motivations either.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

clarification (none / 0) (#130)
by Battle Troll on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 10:42:56 AM EST

That was a general 'your,' not directed at you.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Generally, I would agree with you (none / 1) (#109)
by JetJaguar on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 07:01:55 PM EST

except that under the Clinton administration, there were never any allegations going around that were similar to this.

The fact is that Bush has been doing a lot of things that really do go beyond simply distorting facts to suit his agenda. He's crossed the line from mere distortion of findings to outright involvement in the process. And I think that's pretty troubling, but it is also not out of character. I remember very distinctly a statement he made during the 2000 campaign. He was asked about what he thought of people who supported a scientific explanation of the world, and his response was, "They need to be educated." This wasn't even about evolution, it was about science in general. Definitely not a good thing.

[ Parent ]

two points (none / 1) (#129)
by Battle Troll on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 10:42:17 AM EST

a) w/r/t your linked post: I hadn't heard about that, that is indeed bad.

b)

This wasn't even about evolution, it was about science in general.
Depending on the context, I might agree with him. A part of the culture wars that tends to be overlooked by people in 'hard science' fields is the degree to which values debates have been co-opted by the left, alienating traditionalists and silencing their voices. This has been going on for forty years. I consider it to be perhaps the main contributor to the troubling success of some of the know-nothings in the Republican Party.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
You're kidding yourself (2.87 / 16) (#21)
by felixrayman on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 06:10:21 PM EST

The fact of the matter is that the Bush administration is simply ignoring the facts to an extent that no other administration in recent history has - Republican or Democrat. To try to wish it away by claiming that everyone does it is simply silly. Everyone does not do what the Bush administration does regarding scientific research.

The Clinton administration did not suppress any scientific report which did not support its ideology as the current Bush administration has done, the first Bush administration did not force government scientists to seek prior approval of their findings before publishing them or speaking publicly about them as the current Bush administration has done, the Reagan administration did not publish false reports claiming a link between abortion and breast cancer, as the Bush administration has done, the Carter administration did not require that all vetting of government research be done only be industry reviewers (so for example, tobacco research must be vetted by the cigarette companies) as the Bush administration has required...and on and on.

To claim that what is being done now is OK because everyone else did it to is simply wrong on the facts, and personally I'm glad that a huge number of top scientists (20 of them with Nobel prizes) has stepped forward to say something about it instead of being know-nothing, do-nothing, head-in-the-sand apologists such as yourself.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
No, youi're kidding yourself... (none / 2) (#43)
by Skywise on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 08:46:53 AM EST

All administrations suppress science they dislike.

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0BFU/14_88/99114117/p1/article.jhtml

[ Parent ]

What am I missing? (none / 1) (#78)
by curunir on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 01:58:56 PM EST

The article you linked to mentions Clinton and Bush, but I see no evidence that Clinton's administration did anything improper. The law regarding the chase-and-coral method for catching tuna was not changed until Bush came into office. The researchers did not have their projects cancelled until after Bush came into office. Sure, the Mexican government had been lobbying both the Clinton and Bush administrations to change the law, but, from the article, it looks like the Clinton administration managed to ignore them.

So, since my only knowledge of the subject comes from skimming the article you referred to, can you tell me how the Clinton administration did anything wrong? Doesn't that article just further prove that the Bush administration is silencing science to further their own agenda in a way that previous administrations haven't?

[ Parent ]
The article... (none / 0) (#89)
by Skywise on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 03:19:08 PM EST

"Albert Myrick, a wildlife biologist, said his research showed that the chase-and-corral technique was harming dolphins. He found that it was separating cows from calves and lowering pregnancy rates. In 1995, after seven years of work, Myrick was told to abandon his research. "It was politics," he told The San Diego Union-Tribune."

Clinton was in office in 1995 and hence, killed the research.


[ Parent ]

Umm... (none / 0) (#95)
by curunir on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:15:08 PM EST

From the quote:

Myrick was told to abandon his research. "It was politics," he told ...

You jump to the conclusion that Clinton is distorting science the way that Bush alegedly is? Clinton had a budget to consider, perhaps his advisors didn't feel that spending public monies studying dolphins was the best use of funds?

Under the Clinton administration, the law said that tuna caught with the chase-and-coral method was not dolphin-safe. What political motive would Clinton have to silencing him? Besides, even if he was involved, he didn't silence him, he only pulled funding. The second researcher was told not to publish her findings...that's a very different thing.

Sorry, but the quote you cited just seems like sour grapes at not getting a further government grant to continue his research. Do you have anything else to suggest that Clinton did the same things that the Bush administration is being accused of doing?

[ Parent ]
You are missing the bigger picture (none / 0) (#119)
by nads on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 01:29:02 AM EST

All presidents do twist science to some extent. Clinton definitely did it in a few cases. However, no one has done it nearly as much as the Bush Administration has. NO ONE. The scientists who signed the letter aren't all democrats -- one was an advisor to Nixon, another was an advisor to Ford. The point is, the corruption has become way too widespread. Its not isolated cases.

[ Parent ]
You're the next contestant! (none / 2) (#27)
by sil on Thu Feb 19, 2004 at 08:03:11 PM EST

Bush is not the problem. His administration is just doing what a multitude of people, past and present, are doing: picking a preconceived position that sounds good to them, and finding bits of science that back them up without looking at the holistic picture

Wanna be a guinea pig?

So what you're saying is Bush is really that stupid and allowing these things to happen because he doesn't understand anything? Any way you try to argue this would be a losing point. Not to nitpick, nor do I feel like dissecting this to oblivion, I suggest you do some reading on "perception management", and "cognitive dissonance".

[ Parent ]

You expect so little from your leader (none / 1) (#41)
by lukme on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 08:09:07 AM EST

In any organization, when the leader of that organization doesn't have a fundamental understanding as to what he is controlling, and directly sets policy controlling it (not just deligating to a subordinate), it is a major problem.

This is endemic in private industry where the Boss doesn't understand what his employees are doing. It is no great surprise to me that with your faux CEO/MBA leader that this would be happening on a nation wide basis.




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Halt. Retry. (none / 1) (#82)
by ZorbaTHut on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:11:23 PM EST

I would agree with you, within limits. The head of a very large organization does not, under any circumstances, have to understand the lower levels. They should not and they cannot. I have no doubt that the head of IBM doesn't understand all the details of how hard drives are constructed, nor should he. He should have enough understanding to understand that when the price of silicon goes up massively, it's a Bad Thing. He should have enough understanding to understand, at least in vague terms, what IDE, S-ATA, and SCSI are - but that can be merely in terms of price vs. performance, and not protocol details.

Bush is the leader of a very very very large organization indeed. I don't care who you are, you could study the American government for your entire life and still not understand all the little details. Luckily, he doesn't have to - that's why he *has* subordinates. He needs to understand maybe two or three levels down in general, and any more detail has to be provided by his subordinates. His job is to see the big picture - their jobs are to see the smaller pictures.

I have no doubt that if Bush asked for something *really* detailed, his subordinates would have to ask *their* subordinates. (Quick, IBM business leader - precisely how many hard drive controller chips do you have in inventory at this moment?)

Now, any employee's *immediate* boss should understand what the employee is doing. That's obvious. But the Big Boss has no need to understand the rest of the machine in detail.

[ Parent ]

As long as the big boss doesn't micromanage (none / 2) (#99)
by lukme on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:48:53 PM EST

What you say in principle is correct, however, as soon as leaders start micromanaging they *must* be an expert in that area (or else they will make the wrong decision).

As soon as someone decides to make a policy based on personal knowledge (or beliefs), or manipulates the data to support that policy, all your notions need to be reconsidered.


-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
I think you're missing the point... (none / 0) (#76)
by debillitatus on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 01:25:22 PM EST

Yes, everyone (or almost everyone) does it. But the president, and his administration, isn't just another dude. If some guy on the street corner does it one time, who cares? When the president does it, it affects the lives of many people.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

CNN (2.77 / 9) (#33)
by swr on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:24:18 AM EST

I saw this mentioned on CNN earlier today. Paula Zahn interviewed some Republican guy and one of the scientists who signed the statement.

Of all the scientists - democrat, republican, non-partisan - they picked one who worked for the Clinton administration for the interview. This played right into the "they're biased" claims. And of course, the Republican guy immediately jumped all over that.

Really, they couldn't have supported the Bush administration better than by picking this guy. He didn't even speak very well.

They may have just been trying to provide "balanced" coverage by having both a Republican and a Democrat. Things are pretty fucked up though, if everthing is perceived as Democrat or Republican. Because of that the Bush administration just has to shout "They're biased!" and never has to debate the actual facts.



you know (none / 1) (#39)
by minerboy on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 06:55:43 AM EST

The case would be alot stronger if there were some specific details - there are some general accusations - effects of lead in the enviroment for example, but no details as to what is being ignored. OF course Democrats do this too - an example is the effects of second hand smoke



they also bash republicans (none / 3) (#47)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 09:59:40 AM EST

with science but then do not specify numbers.

"Bush is unleashing a mass of lead into the environment"

"Bush is dumping murcury into our lakes and streams"

both of those comments I have read, and both are meaningless as tehy have no quanitifiers.

why do they not have quantifiers? I suspect that the quantities that are being released are so negligable, stateing them will actualy hurt their argument.

[ Parent ]

then I assume you've ... (none / 2) (#52)
by akb on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:45:10 AM EST

... read the 40 page report they issued and found it lacking in detail? I'd be interested for you to explain, in depth, your findings.

Collaborative Video Blog demandmedia.net
[ Parent ]

Allow me (none / 2) (#110)
by kableh on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 07:16:14 PM EST

White House quietly shelves MTBE ban

Doctored EPA Environment Report Raises Questions

Mother Jones did a series of articles.

A more reputable source?

Then again, none of it is very suprising given Bush's stellar record in Texas.

[ Parent ]
These all Deal with politcizing science (none / 0) (#124)
by minerboy on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 09:06:29 AM EST

, not interference with the scientific process itself. For example, no one argues about the science of MTBE, only the level of response. How to react to certain facts is always a political process, not a scientific one. How you organize funding for science is also a political issue



[ Parent ]
This has been going on for decades. (none / 1) (#40)
by Back Spaced on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 07:44:26 AM EST

Take (as a particularly non-controversial subject ;) ) scientific research into the effects of controlled substances on a body.

Bluto: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
Otter: Better listen to him, Flounder. He's pre-med.

well, lets look at all the sides (1.25 / 8) (#45)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 09:36:22 AM EST

they are concerned scientists, so that makes them political. since they are political, you cannot atribute any special level of value over other political people. so what tehy say is suspect by the nature of politics.

the other side is the office of the presidency... very political no matter the administration.

now, I don't know about you, but it does not matter if you are a democrat or republican in the office of the president, every president bends science to support their agenda.

nothing new here move along.

No, the point is being missed here (2.50 / 6) (#48)
by Alhazred on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:00:06 AM EST

The point is that the problem is rapidly increasing in severity. 40 years ago the science advisory boards were staffed by the best scientists and the regulatory agencies did their science without much pressure from elected officials.

Today the story is totally different. Now the very 'science' which is produced is being undermined. Look at the premiere issue, Global Warming. Every credible independent scientist since Arhennius has basically agreed that there IS such a phenomenon, and today a broad consensus exists in the scientific community on the subject.

Yet somehow the US government's own scientists magically cannot come to the same conclusions as the rest of the world? What do you call a person who so forcefully denies reality that they cannot function in the real world? What would you then call a NATION which does so? What would you call the situation when that nation is in possession of military forces and 'weapons of mass destruction' on a scale sufficient to ENFORCE its delusions and/or blast the world to slag?

This is no minor problem, its a symptom of other deeper problems, yes, but its no minor thing. If there IS a civilization in 1000 years to consider how we ran our affairs they will see us as mighty fools indeed...
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

excuse me (1.50 / 4) (#68)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:28:11 PM EST

there is a big difference between concluding that earth is warming and concluding WHY it is warming.

the fact that earth is warming is not unusual, it has happens thousands of times over the past hundred million years. and quick temperature changes can occur as is evidenced by looking back at the little ice age where the temp dropped 3 degrees around the globe in a matter of 70 years and then stayed there for a few hundred years.

we can measure temperature of the globe in a longitudinal way (over time) but all that tells us is the trends.

what there is no consensus on, except in politics, is WHY the temperature is rising.

it could be CO2, but there is no evidence other than the property of CO2 to insulate and the fact we release a lot of it (though Mt. St Hellens released a lot more than humans did in the last 50 years). that is not even close to the amount of information required to make a conclusion. the weather models are notoriously inaccurate (if you put in all the data from 20 years ago, you get a ridiculous mean temperature for today.)

so, the debate as to why the Globe is warming is between Nature or Nurture...is nature changing the temperature or are we.

as  it is, there is no data that can lead to one conclusion or the other, but in politics the environmental movement has certainly taken a side.

[ Parent ]

Bullshit detected (none / 1) (#108)
by felixrayman on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 06:28:46 PM EST

(though Mt. St Hellens released a lot more than humans did in the last 50 years)

Complete and total bullshit. The maximum observed rate of co2 emissions at St. Helens was 25,000 tons per day. Humans are responsible for over 80 million tons per day in co2 emissions. Additionally, here is a graph of co2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Notice the huge spike in co2 in 1980 during the St. Helens eruption, when according to you, an amount greater than 50 times man's yearly contribution of co2 was put in the atmosphere? No, you don't, because there isn't one.

Where the hell did you hear that lie in the first place, anyway? Limbaugh? Free Republic? Seriously, I want to know.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Also Warming might be a Good Thing (none / 2) (#133)
by sellison on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 03:14:38 PM EST

since many observations suggest we are entering what would naturally be a little ice age.

It may well be that in 20 years we'll all be burning everything we can find to save Europe from freezing again.

Drive a Hummer to Save the Earth!

"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

So tell me (none / 0) (#147)
by Alhazred on Mon Mar 08, 2004 at 08:49:35 PM EST

Where do you get your horrible misinformation from? Every supposed 'fact' you put forward is completely wrong.

Furthermore how do you explain your assertion that there is no concensus when EVERY SINGLE NOBEL LAUREATE IN THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES EXCEPT ONE who is living today has signed an open letter begging for something to be done about global warming before it becomes a giant disaster.

If that isn't scientific concensus, PLEASE TELL US WHAT IS!!! I would really like to know...
That is not dead which may eternal lie And with strange aeons death itself may die.
[ Parent ]

politics is trust (none / 3) (#49)
by JyZude on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:03:15 AM EST

Democratic politics is about trust. Do you trust person A or person B more to do what is "right"? Vote for the one you trust.

Certainly, the scientists have sullied themselves by venturing into the realm of politics, but they still carry far more credibilitity on the subject of science research than the federal administration.

Every president bends science the way they want, but the fact that the scientists are objecting right now suggests that this government is going at it a lot harder than before. Besides, just because every party does it doesn't mean it's right, and it doesn't mean that we have to accept it or forget about it.

-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
Bending science (none / 1) (#53)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:45:22 AM EST

Every president bends science the way they want, but the fact that the scientists are objecting right now suggests that this government is going at it a lot harder than before.

No it does not. It suggests that the scientists want to complain about it right now when they didn't before. The UCS is a left-wing political group and is not going to complain equally about presidents who bend science equally.

(Note that while this does boil down to "the scientists are biased", the implications are a little different. I'm not saying that their complaints aren't correct because they're biased--it's the absence of prominent complaints for Clinton that isn't correct.)

[ Parent ]

So how did Clinton bend it? (none / 1) (#104)
by JyZude on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:34:23 PM EST

Clinton did bend science, for sure. But from what I recall, most of his bending involved hyping certain studies (second-hand smoke), ignoring others, and shifting funding where he wanted it to go. Was Clinton as blatant as Bush in restructuring committees he didn't like, appointing industry "experts", and hiring based on political beliefs and campaign contributions? Not to mention, aren't there some rumblings about Bush screwing with the peer-review system, to make it "credible" and controlled?

I believe that what Bush is doing is far worse than Clinton, and that's why we are seeing complaints. Left-wing right-wing alliances are secondary.

-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
review system interference (none / 2) (#106)
by JetJaguar on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:58:47 PM EST

There have been rumors running around for the last two years about how the whitehouse has been influencing the grant review process at the National Science Foundation. Particularly with regard to the NSF's science education side of the No Child Left Behind act. There have been reports that the whitehouse had at least one hand picked panelist on each proposal review panel. From the looks of things, the only states that have been awarded grants (and these are pretty large grants, about $35 million a pop) are states with a large number of electoral votes where the race between the democrats and republicans was very close in the 2000 election.

Interesting, no?

[ Parent ]

trust and democracy (none / 1) (#84)
by syadasti on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:19:52 PM EST

Democratic politics is about trust. Do you trust person A or person B more to do what is "right"? Vote for the one you trust.

You've described republican politics. In true democracies, people vote on policies, not representatives.

And if politics is about trust, we're evidently doing a poor job. Members of congress are trusted less than pollsters, and rank far behind scientists in terms of who the public trusts, according to the Harris Poll.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

Representative democracy (none / 1) (#103)
by JyZude on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:25:48 PM EST

What I described is representative democracy because that's what we have to work with. Direct democracy is barely viable, even with the internet and telecommunications to help you out. Besides, even in a direct democracy, it is people who suggest policies, and people who try to sell you on policies. Since you can't know everything about every policy, you still have to decide who to trust.

And yes, we are doing a poor job. No argument. At this point, the identification of a person as a politician already throws his credibility into doubt.

-----
k5 is not the new Adequacy k thnx bye


[ Parent ]
What a load of *Honk* (none / 1) (#55)
by IPFreely on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:48:30 AM EST

they are concerned scientists, so that makes them political. since they are political, you cannot atribute any special level of value over other political people. so what tehy say is suspect by the nature of politics.

What a chain of nonsense. Make one absurd claim, chain it through vague associations of words and rationalizations to become something completely different. *Honk*

They are concerned scientest.
Damn straight. Someone is distorting what they are saying. When someone claims I said something differently than what I really said, then I'll defend myself too. If the person lying about me is a plumber, it doesn't mean I automatically become a plumber by defending myself. Just because the person abusing the science is a politician, it doesn't mean the scientist who are defending their position are automatically dragged into the political arena themselves.

since they are political, you cannot atribute any special level of value over other political people.
What? So anyone who is in the political arena is automatically equal in reliability, veracity and trustworthiness reguardless of whether they have shown a tendency to lie or to tell the truth. Sorry, I'd rather watch people individually, and see whether they tend to follow the facts, or lie through their teeth at every turn to decide how reliable they are. Just being "political" means nothing about veracity or reliability.

every president bends science to support their agenda.
... and when they do, they should be called to task for it, every time, not let go just because it is politically convenient to someone or another, or because some one else did it before.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.
The most common defense I've ever seen for the behaviour of the republicans, and specifically the Bush administration, is to claim that this type of bad behavior is just par for politics, that everyone does it, that someone else (some democrat somehwere) is just as bad, or that we should just live with the crap and corruption because it's too much hassle to try to fix. They don't even deny that it is bad or illegal.
I rarely see anyone who will even attempt to defend many of the actions of Bush as proper or even legal. They just support him through denial and rationalization.

[ Parent ]

why is it obserd? (none / 1) (#66)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:17:16 PM EST

please explain? if the scientists that are in that organization support the agenda of the group which happens to be one that takes a stance on a political issue, they have removed themselves from the independent scientific community and placed themselves in the political community.

and that means that you can not trust their information at face value any more than you can the people they disagree with.

now, if it was a group of scientists that had done work for the government, and the administration ignored their conclusions while siting their work, then they would be in the right to go on tv and say "the research the administration sited was misused and they ignored our conclusions"

but the group in question is lobbying group, not scientists who felt their research was not presented correctly.


[ Parent ]

People vs. Facts (none / 2) (#79)
by IPFreely on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:00:52 PM EST

This is why it is obserd. You are talking about people. Science is about facts and observations. If the people join a political issue, that doesn't change the facts of the science they use.

Scientific research is not a position, it is an observation. I do not take the position that gravity will hold me down. I observe that it does. If I were to change my mind, it wouldn't do any good. If I were to claim gravity wasn't true, I'd be an idiot. Gravity is gravity, an no amount of arguing, politicising, debate, or even legislation is going to change that.

When a scientist says that the administration is destorting the facts, they are not saying "I don't like what the administration is doing policy wise with this information", they are saying "We have made observations to this conclusion, and the administration is saying that the conclusion is different." The science stands on its own merits no matter who likes it. The fact that it is being used to support a particular political position does not make the conclusions themselves political. The scientist who defend the conclusions are defending the science, not the policy riding on it.

I don't claim that all scientist will remain completely outside of the domain of politics. But a good scientist will be able so separate the concept of science (facts, that cannot be changed) and policy (what can be changed) and they don't try to alter the facts to suite the policy. When they make a statement, they will (should) state the scientific elements truthfully, and make policy statements separately. When someone lies about the science, it doesn't matter if it is in support of a political policy or not, its a lie.

Scientist have designed their own pattern of observation checks and balances that includes disclosure and duplication. It doesn't matter who paid for the observations to be made. The facts don't (shouldn't!) change because someone else paid for the research. This has been very effective towards persuing accurate facts and believable conclusions. Noone, not even the most famous nobel lauriate scientist, can simply step in and claim something different without sufficient disclosure and reproducable observation. It would not be accepted any more than some lone judge stepping up and claiming that the 10th ammendment to the Constitution is no longer in effect because it doesn't support his agenda.

Science is not an agenda and it is not a policy, it is observation. If you like the observation, great. If you don't, too bad. You might as well try to resist gravity.

Yet another think I hate about political arguements: all too many people think that EVERYTHING is up to debate and manipulation, even scientific facts. It's like the old joke: "If the facts don't support the opinion, change the facts." which is precicely what Bush is doing.

[ Parent ]

excuse me...but I was talking about (none / 2) (#83)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:13:01 PM EST

the political lobbying organization known as United Concerned Scientists, or what ever it is called.

I am not calling any scientific work political, but I am calling the organization political so anything they say must be looked at as carefully as you would any politician.

the Clinton administration spun science to support them, but this group did nothing.

the group is political, research that the members might conduct at work may or may not be politically motivated.

BW, science experiments can easily be made to look legitimate, but are in truth far from such a state. just because an experiment or study says something and the person who conducted it is a scientist does not make it valid.

in fact, anyone who would accept anything at face value from a scientist just because it is scientific research, I would call them absurd.

[ Parent ]

You keep missing it. (none / 1) (#86)
by IPFreely on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:56:40 PM EST

So this scientist comes up and says:
"I don't like what Bush is doing, and 2+2=4".

Since he has now made a political statement, everything he says is suspect, therefore 2+2=4 is now suspect. We can't just flatly believe that 2+2 is still 4, so must accept the possibility that it might be 3 or 5.

That is what your claim is basically saying.
That is obserd. What is obserd about your claims is that when someone takes a political stance that everything they say is now suspect. That is wrong.

The reason it is wrong is that any scientific statement should be verifiably by means outside of the political arena, such as disclosure and duplication. As such, anything these scientist, or anything that Bushes administration states about a scientific topic, should be verifiable outside of the political arena. And in fact, most of it has. And most of that verification has supported the scientist view and shown Bush to be wrong. It's not automatically wrong or simply not reliable just because it is used in politics.

[ Parent ]

first, your logic sucks (none / 2) (#90)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 03:25:10 PM EST

well sort of.

you can't use a general opinion like "I don't like what Bush is doing" in a logic statement...make it
"Bush is killing the environment and 2+2=4."
that is false no matter how true the second part is because Bush might not be progressive on the environment, buthe is certainly not killing it.

anyway, you are missing the point, not me.

a mathmatical fact that can be prooven is not science!!!!!!

science is a set of theories, theories are rules that seem to predict outcomes of observable events.

you are working on the assumption that all science is truth and is infalable. that means that you take it as fact that the man made greenhouse effect is the cause of global warming, even though there is not enough data to make it an acceptable theory.

you also seem to tak eas fact General Reletivity which while it does confirm lots of observable events, it fails for many others still and as such is not totaly true.

facts in science are rare, and as such, you should be careful about what you accept and what you do not.

at any rate, it is a lobby group of scientists who believe in their work, but that work is not truth just because they are scientists.

[ Parent ]

Thats a good one. (none / 1) (#94)
by IPFreely on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:07:24 PM EST

Oh, for Christ's sake, it wasn't a logic statement! And you're being pedantic.

I'll back up to your original "logical" connection.
1. These scientist have associated themselves with a political position.
2. Anyone who associates with a political cause is automatically biased.
3. When someone who is biased makes a statement, it should automatically be suspect as being innaccurate or incomplete.
4. when faced with innacurate or suspect information, attempt to verify through outside, non-biased sources.
5. Once verification is completed, apply the results back to the original position, and the people who support them.

Does that about sum it up? Oh, wait. You forgot steps 4 and 5. You stopped at 3 and gave up. Let's complete the process.

So when Bush says "science says don't worry, global warming's not gonna happen" and when the scientist say "We've looked at the data, and it looks like it will happen." what do you do?
1. Ignore both of them, and look for another opinion
2. Ignore just the scientist because they are "biased". Believe Bush.
3. Ignore just Bush because he is "biased". Believe the scientist.

For thirty years hundreds of scientist in many universities in many countries around the world have been making all kinds of observations concerning global warming. They don't all match exactly, but there is a majority consensus that things are changing, and it may not all be good. As you said, absolute proof is not always available. Strong support and consensus is often the best you can do. There's a lot more support and consensus for global warming than for not.

If you don't like the results, feel free to not believe. But if you want to use some kind of logic to discredit an opinion on the matter, you could at least complete the process instead of stalling in the middle and giving up. And it wouldn't hurt to apply the same logic to both sides of the arguement either.

a mathmatical fact that can be prooven is not science!!!!!!

You don't know *Honk*.

[ Parent ]

I was not basing my reply on that (none / 0) (#111)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 07:41:11 PM EST

 and yes, it was a logic statement.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but who are you going to believe? (none / 2) (#101)
by JetJaguar on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:05:46 PM EST

Let's say a scientist publishes a paper. And that paper has gone through peer-review and has been generally accepted by the scientific community as, let's say, correct within the range of validity of the experiment (that is not to say that the interpretation is beyond question, only that it passes scrutiny that there are no major theoretical or procederal screw-ups).

Now, the question is: What credentials does any professional politician have to question, or deny the validity of the evidence presented in the paper? A finding may be controversial, it may be inconclusive, it may be flat out wrong. But unless you have some experience and training in the field, your opinion is worth less than my belly-button lint. And political policies that ignore what the best science we have is telling them is worth even less than the opinion, and might even have disastrous consequences, especially if the science turns out to be right and the belief the policy is based on is wrong.

So who has more credibility? The scientist that has collected years of data, developed some working theories based on that data, and come up with some plausible (though inconclusive) explanations for what's going on, or the politician coming in from left field that decides that it's politically expediant to call the work trash, especially since "it's only a theory" and the evidence hasn't been fully explained. Now, granted, politicians often have to make policy decisions based on incomplete, or inconclusive information, and I cut them some slack on those issues, but when you start actually messing with the scientific process itself to try and support your own political ends, a dangerous line has been crossed.

at any rate, it is a lobby group of scientists who believe in their work, but that work is not truth just because they are scientists.

No, the work isn't true because they are scientists, but they are also the only ones in a position to be able to really judge if it is even close to being right or not. That's why everything goes through peer-review in the first place! The dismissal of scientific findings by politicians doesn't mean the scientific findings are wrong either, nor does that dismissal provide any basis what-so-ever for believing that they might be wrong at all. The two events are completely orthogonal to one another. However, the politician that tries to suppress or alter scientific evidence for political purposes is going to be in for a real rude awakening when the evidence eventually comes back to bite him in the ass. And I can guarantee you that it will happen eventually. Just take a look at the results of Lysenkoism in Soviet Russia to see the wonderful results of politics taking over science.

[ Parent ]

Science is one interpretation of the facts (none / 0) (#116)
by cdguru on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:49:04 PM EST

There are others, you know...

Just because Western science prefers to ignore alternatives to their theories does not mean that they are any more valid than alternatives. Alternatives that do not fit with Western attitudes about nature and Man's place in nature.

Of course, to discard this Western ideology you need to discard most of what has been written down for the last 1,000 years or so. There are plenty of folks that would like to help us discard the bonds of the last 1,000 years or so to have more cooperative attitudes and accept their worldview.

Scientists that do not agree with this kind of cooperation are likely to be at odds with many political leaders in the US.

[ Parent ]

I disagree. (none / 3) (#56)
by stationaryobserver on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:50:46 AM EST

I disagree. If I made a statement, and it was twisted, or one of my collegues made a statement and was taken off a board for it... that isn't right.

Science should not be supporting political agendas. If the results of science coincide with an agenda, then so be it.

Even if you want to call this a political action by the science community (which makes no sense to me), you still have to take into account that there are pressures being put on science to have the results these politicians want for their agendas. That is the problem, that is not right. Pressures may have always been there, but I think the point of the article is that this is a rising trend, pressure on science.

I find it unbelievable that you say 'nothing new here, move along'. That is total bullshit. We should take notice of this. Our country is in this shape *because* people listened when someone said 'nothing new, move along'. Ask yourself why they need science to lie for them. Now I'll tell you- so that they have evidence to fall back on when they lie to us. So that they can say 'we got some bad science'. Sound familiar? Like your bad intelligence? The scientific community should be outraged, and so should the rest of the country. Our government is doing its best to lie to us, and that is not right. I believe that our system is in need of major restructuring, the president has a lot of power, so something has to be done about who we elect to that office, or the office needs to have some changes made to it.

[ Parent ]

accept the stuff that IS new! (none / 0) (#93)
by davros4269 on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:07:02 PM EST

The piece made comparisons between other administrations and this one. "move along" doesn't cut it.

This should worry people, it does me.

As for the bias, bullshit. Science is self correcting, the research itself is usually bias free, or, as bias free as anything can be, it's the interpretation that gets biased, and these humans, these scientists, are pissed that their data are being biased above and beyond.

There is MUCH to see here.
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.
[ Parent ]

Disappointed, But Not Suprised (2.00 / 5) (#50)
by virtualjay222 on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:17:06 AM EST

Every day, it seems, new reports are surfacing that Bush altered intelligence reports, presenting devious half-truths. It should not come as a suprise, then, that they have done similarly to other information they present to us.

Faith, here's an equivocator, that could
swear in both the scales against either scale;
who committed treason enough for God's sake,
yet could not equivocate to heaven.

---

I'm not in denial, I'm just selective about the reality I choose to accept.

-Calvin and Hobbes


Frightening Statement (1.66 / 6) (#51)
by mberteig on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:36:18 AM EST

"Neither ideology nor policy concerns should constrain the research agenda in any way," said Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of the AAAS.

Although I think that there is cause for concern raised by this article, I also think that the opinion of Dr. Leshner is also dangerously extremist. What possible reason could justify freeing research from all ideology and policy concerns?

Are scientists a class of people free from the process of democracy and the creation of laws (flawed though they may be)? Are scientists free from the concerns of morality? Are scientists free to experiment in any way they see fit regardless of human rights?

Such absolute statements as made by Dr. Leshner are just as false and possibly even more scary than constraints put upon the scientific community by government. After all, despite its flaws, government is about governing: constraining and channelling behavior for the best effect.




Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
I don't think that is what he was saying (none / 2) (#57)
by JetJaguar on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:58:26 AM EST

See the other post about "lysenkoism" in Soviet Russia, where support of science that was politically inconvenient for the administration was killed (in spite of the fact that it was right, and it was even in many respects ahead of where everyone else was in the world). This had a very direct result of demoting soviet biological research and their medical care to a status that was little better than many third world countries, and it still suffers to this day for it.

The point Leshner was making is that the development of scientific theories can not be based on political policy. Politics can (and should) direct funding to areas where a reasonable public good can come from it, but no public good can come from a policy where politics determines which theories are right and which ones are wrong. That is for science to decide, politics can not answer that question, it can only hinder it.

[ Parent ]

I'm not sure I totally agree (none / 1) (#70)
by mberteig on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:33:48 PM EST

The point Leshner was making is that the development of scientific theories can not be based on political policy. Politics can (and should) direct funding to areas where a reasonable public good can come from it, but no public good can come from a policy where politics determines which theories are right and which ones are wrong. That is for science to decide, politics can not answer that question, it can only hinder it.

The problem is that we believe science is "objective" - but it's definitely not as one can see in even a relatively cursory examination of the history and philosophy of science. Based on history, we have no reason to believe that science being done at this instant is any more objective than science done in the past.

Now admittedly, I also partly _do_ agree. "Politics can/should direct funding" - yes. "No public good from policy where politics determins right and wrong" - well... maybe. "That is for science to decide" - well... maybe.

I think that in your statement there are many unspoken assumptions and that not everyone would agree.




Agile Advice - How and Why to Work Agile
[ Parent ]
No many assumptions (none / 2) (#81)
by JetJaguar on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:10:18 PM EST

The problem is that we believe science is "objective" - but it's definitely not as one can see in even a relatively cursory examination of the history and philosophy of science. Based on history, we have no reason to believe that science being done at this instant is any more objective than science done in the past.

Let's take a little closer look at that history. I am not saying that everything that science does, it does it with perfect vision, or that the scientists themselves do not have their biases. That certainly is born out by your cursory examination. But when you take a closer look (with a longer term view), it also becomes apparent that ultimately those biases get broken down and thrown out. The "objectivity," if you will, of science does shine through by virtue of the fact that real discoveries and real progress is made, often in spite of those biases (and often in spite of the political forces that want to distort science for their own purposes). Sometimes it may take a while for the established ideas to break down, but they do break down eventually.

As for your last two statements. Come on. Politicians cannot decide what is good science. It's tantamount to Congress passing a law stating that Newton's theory of gravity is wrong. Whether or not a theory is right or wrong has to be determined by the evidence that supports it, it cannot be mandated by politics. An administrative policy that gets in the way of that process is doomed to failure, and the fall-out from them can be spectacularly bad.

That said, I am not saying that science should be given free reign with no accountability or no scrutiny. Our political structures definitely have a role to play there, but for issues that are essentially scientific, science has to be the arbiter, and it really can't be any other way, simply because nothing else is qualified to make the determination (even if the arbiter itself isn't perfect, it's better than any other alternative).

Side note: It is possible here that we are more in agreement than it appears. As a scientist myself, I have very specific knowledge about how political policy has played a role in the scientific endeavor, and I have a lot of knowledge about where it's done a good job and where it's done a bad job. My experiences make it a much easier task to see where the lines need to be drawn. I do think there are lines that need to be drawn, but we have to be very carefull about where we draw those lines between political policy vs. the scientific process. Put them in the wrong place, and you do far more damage than good. That's another thing that a cursory look at history will show you.

[ Parent ]

Science immoral? (none / 2) (#61)
by trezor on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:19:08 AM EST

    I also think that the opinion of Dr. Leshner is also dangerously extremist.

Then this discussion obviously has to poles, as most others. I find his opinions correct in all respects.

    What possible reason could justify freeing research from all ideology and policy concerns?

I don't even think I understand your question here. Can you please tell me for instance how the understanding of general and relativistic physics can be seen to have any ideological or political qualitites? How a ideological standpoint should hinder the discovery of the workings these mechanisms?

Allow me to introduce my understanding of the word science. It might clear up some fuzz in between us.

Science is not moral or immoral. Science is the persuit of knowledge. Can knowledge be immoral?

My personal view on this is that uncovering new knowledge is a benefit to all of mankind. Ofcourse there are technolgies which can be abused to great extent (aka nuclear bombs), but the knowledge and understanding itself is neutral.

If we had never invented the a-bomb, there would be no way that we had discovered it's usuability as a powersource.

By banning certain types of research, we almost certainly will lose some the ability to find new, usual ways of using nature.

Science and knowledge isn't moral or immoral. It's use however, can be questioned greatly.
--
Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

[ Parent ]

Science _not_ immoral (none / 1) (#67)
by mberteig on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:19:39 PM EST

I didn't say that science was immoral. In fact, I strongly agree that pursuit of knowledge is one of the greatest attributes of humanity. What concerned me was the unqualified nature of Dr. Leshner's statement.

I don't even think I understand your question here. Can you please tell me for instance how the understanding of general and relativistic physics can be seen to have any ideological or political qualitites? How a ideological standpoint should hinder the discovery of the workings these mechanisms?

Research does not occur in a vacuum. There is no way to separate research, even purely theoretical research, from the social context in which it occurs. If I may, I refer you to a book: "Progress and its Problems" by Larry Laudan for an in-depth investigation of the philosophy and history of science.

The fact is that doing science costs money and time. Even at this incredibly basic level, there is a legitimate need to prioritize research based on humanity's overall needs. This process of prioritization should not be solely in the hands of scientists as individuals or even collectively (as implied by Dr. Leshner's statement). Certainly, scientists are important participants in the process of prioritization. But if they are the sole determiners, then we abrogate an enourmous amount of real power to an un-elected, self-selected group of people... a clergy of sorts.

Therefore, in my opinion, science must not be free of policy and ideology influences.




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[ Parent ]
needs according to whom? (none / 2) (#80)
by syadasti on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:09:48 PM EST

The fact is that doing science costs money and time. Even at this incredibly basic level, there is a legitimate need to prioritize research based on humanity's overall needs.

A need, perhaps, from the perspective of one seeking to optimize the utilization of all available resources to further some notion of the "greater good".

However, scientists, like other people, are simply that; people. Insofar as they are capable of carrying out their research without shambling to the government trough for their funding, they should be left to their own devices and to their own choices. Scientists, and their work, are not public resources to be allocated by a central committee.

This prioritization you refer to, as it actually occurs, is incredibly lopsided anyway, in favor of those doing the funding. One could make the argument that, from the perspective of humanity's overall needs, the countless billions continuously thrown at things like cancer research and weapons development would be far better spent in worldwide eradication of malaria and yellor fever, or in furthering the fundamental work in particle/quantum physics and astronomy.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

I don't disagree with your specific examples (none / 1) (#96)
by mberteig on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:15:56 PM EST

But that's not really my point. The basic point I'm trying to make is simply that the original statement about scientist being free from policy and ideology is extremist and if we take it in isolation is dangerous. I fully agree with the other side too: that total government control is just as inappropriate. Nevertheless, there has to be a balance between individual initiative and the common good.




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[ Parent ]
and I don't disagree with your principle... (none / 0) (#120)
by syadasti on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 01:50:47 AM EST

I'm trying to point out that defining the "common good" with respect to research science is either a) impossible for fundamental reasons, such as divergent interests, or b) impossible for political reasons, or c) guilty of willful provincial ignorance when it fails to consider the rest of humanity, as opposed to just the science-producing nation-states.

And then I follow that up by saying that where the common good has such trouble being clarified for such a variety of reasons, science progresses best based far more on the scientists' individual perceptions of the common good, and their desire to work for it.

"May your chains rest lightly upon you..." --Samuel Adams
[ Parent ]

the a-bomb (none / 3) (#69)
by Polverone on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:33:45 PM EST

If we had never invented the a-bomb, there would be no way that we had discovered it's usuability as a powersource.

Hmmm, on December 2, 1942, a self-sustaining, non-destructive nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated in a squash court at the University of Chicago.

It took almost 3 years and a staggering amount of money and effort to go from that relatively placid reaction to the weapons used against Japan. It's not as if the US stumbled across nuclear weapons during WW II, but later found out that the same basic reaction could be used as a controlled power source.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Science amoral? (2.25 / 4) (#71)
by bob6 on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:34:22 PM EST

Your speech is still unfortunately the dominant point of view but, curiously enough, not so popular amongst scientists themselves. Science, the current form of knowledge production, is an human activity. As such, it is tainted with everything an human activity can be: passion, money and politics. In fact the statement that ideology shouldn't or couldn't have an influence on science is itself an ideologic assertion.
You provide two examples and let me bounce on them to illustrate my opinion:
Can you please tell me for instance how the understanding of general and relativistic physics can be seen to have any ideological or political qualitites?
I suggest you reflect on how much time, synchronization and scheduling is important to our (western) society. Amongst others, relativity has spawned from solutions clock synchronization problems.
If we had never invented the a-bomb, there would be no way that we had discovered it's usuability as a powersource.
It could be the other way around: if we hadn't used fission as a power source, had we accepted further developments of the A bomb (like the H one)? Certainly not. As a matter of fact, you know that we are seeking any other source of energy than fission because, until now, we ignored on purpose the shit a nuclear plant produces. Not to mention the global war context in which the bomb was developed.

I agree scientists should be granted some degree of independance, especially in order to take into account as much data as possible. However, the separation of ideologies and scientific research has to many times been used to escape from the responsibility of the use of knowledge. Any scientific advance finds its root in a social problem and therefore, the use of the knowledge cannot be detached from it. Furthermore, scientists are nowadays asked to research on problems caused by science applications (fission -> pollution -> fusion). The activity of knowledge production is now clearly too much blended with the rest of the society, thus of politics, that the detachment position you describe is actually unbearable.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Nah (1.75 / 4) (#85)
by Lagged2Death on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 02:45:16 PM EST

...the statement that ideology shouldn't or couldn't have an influence on science is itself an ideologic assertion.

No, it's just part of the definition of the scientific process. For the process to work well, it must be guided by objective facts, not by ideology. That is to say, if your research is guided by ideology, what you're doing isn't science any more. That's just plain true, regardless of one's ideology.

Consider, for a moment, this excerpt from a document on ladder safety:

The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on. The ground under the ladder should be level and firm.

Do you honestly feel that the use of the word "should" in this context really causes these statements to be ideological statements? Or is it just plain old good advice?

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[ Parent ]

Science is an ideal (none / 1) (#98)
by mberteig on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:25:15 PM EST

That scientists may strive to make as objective as possible. However, by virtue of being human, they cannot be objective in its truest sense. The reason I rated your comment 1 is because it appears that you have not carefully thought about the statement you quote. The scientific method, while empirically excellent at making progress in describing our world, is nevertheless based on axioms that have no proof. There are many things which influence the choice of experiments to conduct, the manner in which experiments are conducted and even the way that results are presented. Rarely, results are even fabricated. Thus, our progress in science rests on far more than just "objective facts". As I have said in other comments, a cursory examination of the history and philosophy of science will reveal just how untrue is your statement:

For the process to work well, it must be guided by objective facts, not by ideology.




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[ Parent ]
Science Is A Process (none / 0) (#105)
by Lagged2Death on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:50:21 PM EST

Science is an ideal that scientists may strive to make as objective as possible. However, by virtue of being human, they cannot be objective in its truest sense... The scientific method, while empirically excellent at making progress in describing our world, is nevertheless based on axioms that have no proof. There are many things which influence the choice of experiments to conduct, the manner in which experiments are conducted and even the way that results are presented. Rarely, results are even fabricated.

I think you've got it all backwards. Human frailties and the limits of the knowable do not constitute problems with the scientific process; they are the reason the scientific process was invented. That is, science is not marred by flawed human reasoning, science is the fix for flawed human reasoning.

Science is a process by which imperfect, biased, and yes, human researchers can arrive at objective truths - even in an uncertain, turbulent world. It takes time, and debate, and discarding old theories in favor of new ones. It's expensive, it's messy, it's slow, because the world is not perfect, as you point out. But the point is to find the truth in spite of the problems you mention.

As I have said in other comments, a cursory examination of the history and philosophy of science will reveal just how untrue is your statement: For the process to work well, it must be guided by objective facts, not by ideology.

Can you provide an explanation, a link, or anything at all to indicate what you're talking about? What sound and lasting developments specifically were arrived at by ideological fiat, and what fruitless detours were based on well-recognized facts?

Maybe some re-emphasis would be in order: For the process to work well, it must be guided by objective facts, not by ideology.

It can work - slowly, badly, and wasting lots of time - when driven by ideology. You could, for example, develop a theory of disease based on astrological principles. And a lot of very contorted and bad reasoning to back it up. And sometimes, the treatments you developed would work. In such a case, it would be the eventual de-bunking of the system that would be scientific progress.

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[ Parent ]

science (none / 1) (#113)
by gdanjo on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 08:35:39 PM EST

No, it's just part of the definition of the scientific process. For the process to work well, it must be guided by objective facts, not by ideology. That is to say, if your research is guided by ideology, what you're doing isn't science any more. That's just plain true, regardless of one's ideology.
And yet science itself is an ideology based unprovable on axioms. It's probably the best method we have at arriving at "the truth" (or, more precisely, "a truth") but it is by no means infallible, perfectly objective, or absent of ideoligies - that it strives toward this goal is commendable.

Consider, for example, that Newton was proven 100% wrong (though in most cases the "wrongness" is insignificant) and that Einstein refused to accept quantum mechanics on ideological grounds (the universe is deterministic). What makes science "special" is it's willingness to correct itself when it fails, not it's ability to be infallible.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#142)
by Lagged2Death on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 11:13:14 AM EST

Consider, for example, that Newton was proven 100% wrong (though in most cases the "wrongness" is insignificant) and that Einstein refused to accept quantum mechanics on ideological grounds (the universe is deterministic). What makes science "special" is it's willingness to correct itself when it fails, not it's ability to be infallible.

I'd hardly call Newton "100% wrong." If you're going to assign percentages to rightness and wrongness, he's closer to "95% right." His model of mechanics doesn't hold up under certain extreme conditions that he had no way of studying, but his model is still accurate and still in use for everyday circumstances today. It is precisely because he was so right that we remember him today. We don't remember him for all the goofy spiritualistic crap he was into.

Similarly with Einstein. I don't think he ever said that quantum mechanics was rubbish, that it made bad predictions, that it didn't describe the real world. He just found it unsatisfying, and thought there were as-yet-undiscovered mechanisms that would explain the appearance of randomness. That no such mechanism has yet been found doesn't even make him wrong about that. And if he did denounce it as being fundementally incorrect, this would be an example of what I'm talking about - that would have been a mistake driven by ideology. It would not have been scientific.

Pointing out errors made by fallible individuals is missing the point anyway. Newton wasn't science, he was a scientist. Science is a process for evaluating theroies, and if we find that some scientists have made mistakes, which we can now correct, it's evidence that science is working, not failing.

It's implicit in the notion of "ideology" that certain fundemental truths are taken on faith and are not questioned. Usually, this is because they are not falsifiable. (Note that an "unproveable axiom" is very different from a "not falsifiable premise.") Religions and political platforms are the most obvious examples - there is a presumption of infallability on certain basic matters. Science is different; there may be unproveable axioms, but they're also falsifiable. There is a willingness to question even the most fundemental principles. It is this rejection of infallability at the heart of science that differentiates it from ideology, and is central to it's self-correcting nature. Religions and political systems - i.e., "belief systems" don't behave that way.

You can distort the definition of "ideology" to cover science if you want, but doing so doesn't produce any useful result that I can see, except to smugly force science to take part in a pointless philosophical game. In that case, what human thoughts don't count as ideology? And what use is there in a term that describes everything?

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]

Falsifiability and Verifiability (none / 0) (#144)
by mberteig on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 04:12:15 PM EST

(Note that an "unproveable axiom" is very different from a "not falsifiable premise.")

Do you mean to say that an unprovable axiom _is_ falsifiable?

Let's say that ideologies allow statements that are not falsifiable. Can we use this definition to show that science (the process, not the people or the results) is an ideology? (Actually, do we really care? - let's pretend we do.)

The scientific method rests on the truth of one statement: that the universe behaves in an ordered or consistant manner. This is... wait for it... not falsifiable!!! Why? Because if anyone ever notices inconsistant behavior, science can simply say that we have not yet been able to perceive the order.

That's ideology. More, that's faith. And that's why the argument between religion and science will never be "won".




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[ Parent ]
Falsifiability vs. Wiggle Room (none / 0) (#145)
by Lagged2Death on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 01:56:32 PM EST

Do you mean to say that an unprovable axiom _is_ falsifiable?

No, only that "un-provable" doesn't imply "not falsifiable."

The scientific method rests on the truth of one statement: that the universe behaves in an ordered or consistant manner. This is... wait for it... not falsifiable!!! Why? Because if anyone ever notices inconsistant behavior, science can simply say that we have not yet been able to perceive the order.

That's not "not falsifiable," that's just wriggling out of an inconvenient observation. That's not what properly conducted science would do in such a case. As you have yourself pointed out, this notion - consistent behavior by the universe - has a conceivable counter-example - inconsistent behavior. Genuinely non-falsifiable premises like "God created the universe" don't admit any possibility of counter-evidence at all, because there's no way to use them to make a testable prediction, and thus no definitive counter-example can even be agreed on.

I suspect that if you found an example of truly inexplicable, truly inconsistent behavior of the natural world, you could turn the scientific world on its ear. Kind of like when QM threw the physics community for a huge loop by discarding notions of causality and predictability in favor of purely descriptive statistics and a seemingly chaotic and inconsistent world. Einstein found QM unsatisfying, but it has stood the test of time (so far, anyway) in spite of him.

That's ideology. More, that's faith. And that's why the argument between religion and science will never be "won".

I'm still wondering: what isn't ideology, as far as you're concerned?

I think the "argument" between science and religion is entirely artificial and perpetuated by ignorance of both. They do not attempt to address the same questions, despite what some people think. Neither side can "win" because there is no conflict - in a way, this is the point of my whole argument. Religion is ideology, constructed to answer fundamentally unanswerable questions. Science isn't.

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[ Parent ]

Well (none / 1) (#137)
by bob6 on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 04:50:08 AM EST

No, it's just part of the definition of the scientific process. For the process to work well, it must be guided by objective facts, not by ideology. That is to say, if your research is guided by ideology, what you're doing isn't science any more. That's just plain true, regardless of one's ideology.
The "objective facts" is an ideology that requires one to believe that there is a external world, measurable and not infuenced by we, observers. The epistemological discourse about science as the poursuit of truth casts an idealized picture of science and scientists. It is romantic (Newton) and heroic (Galileo), but unfotunately false. Imho, it has been designed (yes, sir!) to put science and scientists in aposition above any ideological debate. If you think there is an ethic above any other, then this is ideology.
Actually I was not trying to justify the use of hardcore ideology in science, but to point that the lab, the university or an entire country research is indeed oriented by policy. No matter what you think science should be, the one who shows the money says where research should go. I think that linking pure truth to science makes a strange relationship between scientists and the power structures, where they are part of it without having to take on the responsibility. Pretty much the same relationship between the clergy (truth sayers) and the nobility (decision makers) in a feudal regime. I'd rather scientists had professional ethics that includes clearly their relationship with policy makers and the ideological/ethical choices of research orientations.
Consider, for a moment, this excerpt from a document on ladder safety:
The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on. The ground under the ladder should be level and firm.
Do you honestly feel that the use of the word "should" in this context really causes these statements to be ideological statements? Or is it just plain old good advice?
The very fact a ldder comes with a safety document is a consequence of a policy, inevitably driven by ideology.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#143)
by Lagged2Death on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:15:52 PM EST

The "objective facts" is an ideology that requires one to believe that there is a external world, measurable and not infuenced by we, observers.

If you feel that even the notion of objective reality is ideological, then what's the point of the word, outside of philosophy class? What isn't ideology?

...it has been designed (yes, sir!) to put science and scientists in aposition above any ideological debate. If you think there is an ethic above any other, then this is ideology.

But by the standards you appear to be using, this would also be an ideological statement.

No matter what you think science should be, the one who shows the money says where research should go.

The fund-ers usually get to tell the fund-ees what questions to study, sure. But if the fund-ers get to dictate - based on their own notions of morality, religion, politics, selfishness or any other ideology - what conclusions the fund-ees shall find, then what's happening isn't science any more. That's really been my whole point.

I think that linking pure truth to science makes a strange relationship between scientists and the power structures, where they are part of it without having to take on the responsibility. Pretty much the same relationship between the clergy (truth sayers) and the nobility (decision makers) in a feudal regime. I'd rather scientists had professional ethics that includes clearly their relationship with policy makers and the ideological/ethical choices of research orientations.

The peer review system in science embodies a large measure of the responsibility you desire. Whereas the clergy had a presumption of infallibility, scientists have to convince their peers to obtain respect for their theories. I don't think the comparison holds up.

The very fact a ldder comes with a safety document is a consequence of a policy, inevitably driven by ideology.

But I wasn't asking about the presence or existence of the document. I was asking about what it said. Are these tips "ideological?" Why?

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[ Parent ]

My PoV isn't an epistemological but practical (none / 1) (#146)
by bob6 on Tue Mar 02, 2004 at 06:14:40 AM EST

The fund-ers usually get to tell the fund-ees what questions to study, sure. But if the fund-ers get to dictate - based on their own notions of morality, religion, politics, selfishness or any other ideology - what conclusions the fund-ees shall find, then what's happening isn't science any more. That's really been my whole point.
I wholeheartly agree with that, however I rather question the fact that the process (the scientific method) and the speech (theories and experiences) can be clearly separated that easily. Whe one reads carefully any scientific paper, one notices that every single statement (hypothesis, theorical background, facts, etc.) is systematically anchored in the context of the process: the experimentation plan, bibliographic references, project participation, etc.
As a consequence, the contro of the process is, in some extent, the control of the speech. That's fine by me if that control belongs to someone that is democratically competent (elected in some way), as well as economically competent.
The very last point -as I must have already pointed elsewhere- is my personal grief against the administration (light grief, IANAmerican) because the government has funded studies and discarded them at the last moment. This is an inefficient strategy totally in contradiction with the one the US has always followed (at least since WW2).

OTs:
The peer review system in science embodies a large measure of the responsibility you desire. Whereas the clergy had a presumption of infallibility, scientists have to convince their peers to obtain respect for their theories. I don't think the comparison holds up.
The clergy had actually a very weak presumption of infallibility, and it didn't really hold in front of the nobility, not for long in front of the raising middle-class and certainly never between members of the clergy (eg the role of the advocatus diabolicus, the separation of secular and regular clergy, the schisms, etc.).
However I agree that peer-reviewing spreads the responsibility from a single team to the entire scientific community. This is at the same time a quality proof method (more or less efficient) as well as a gathering strategy.
But I wasn't asking about the presence or existence of the document. I was asking about what it said. Are these tips "ideological?" Why?
That's where the ideology belongs: I don't believe one can cut between the speech an it's context. The advice doesn't have the same meaning if it is found when you buy a new ladder for yourself (your use it), if you buy the ladder for your building company (your employees use it) or, to the extreme, an archeologists finds it in a fossilized bin.

Cheers.
[ Parent ]
Left distorting Bush administration to support... (1.33 / 12) (#54)
by haydentech on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 10:47:06 AM EST

...political agendas.  News at 11.

When you consider than in academia, tenured professors are overwhelmingly liberal (somehting like 90% Democrat-leaning, 10% Republican-leaning) this is not really a surprise that the university crowd would try this tactic.

(Sorry, not enough time to find a supporting link at the moment.  I read this fact in conjunction with the recent stories on the anti-bias movement at UColorado and elsewhere)

I'd rather you find a supporting link... (none / 1) (#87)
by magney on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 03:07:46 PM EST

for the assertion that the report is actually distorting what the Bush administration has done. Merely asserting that the report is written by people with a "liberal bias" doesn't even come close to justifying the charge of distortion.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Re: I'd rather you find a supporting link... (none / 0) (#135)
by Spankypoo on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 02:10:45 AM EST

You can't have your cake and eat it, too. You say you want him to find a supporting link, but then you make a different argument which wouldn't be satisfied by a link supporting his stated statistics. Which do you want?

[ Parent ]
It may help... (none / 0) (#136)
by magney on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 03:50:56 AM EST

...if you read the title of my post as if it were the first sentence of a paragraph.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Another quotation from a prescient speech (2.85 / 7) (#63)
by johnny on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:40:44 AM EST

In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

Dwight Eisenhower's "Beware the Military-Industrial Complex" speech

Part of what Eisenhower was saying was that Big Science would set its own agenda -- and the Military-Industrial Complex's agenda. But it also seems to me that his warning about a "scientifictechnological elite" comes into play when that elite is furthering a political, rather than a scientific agenda.

yr frn,
jrs
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Of course scientists are biased (1.75 / 4) (#64)
by bob6 on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:47:35 AM EST

To begin with, they're human, therfore they're biased, but this isn' the topic of the discussion isn't it?) Then they called themselves the Union of Concerned Scientists, which means they are concerned by science. They stated their bias clearly, so the direction and the ideology is openly exposed in the report. Likewise the cavalier response of the government shouws with equal transparency that they don't give a fuck.
The stupid part is that the US (you know who: the taxpayer) has invested a lot of money and time into those research but finally the results will be finally hidden. In the academic world, a hidden result is a lost result and, in everyone's world, a spent penny is aspent penny. What a waste of resources!

Cheers.
In related news. . . (3.00 / 6) (#72)
by Pop Top on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 12:41:37 PM EST

The Bush Administration seeks to re-define fast food work as "manufacturing" - - see quote from NY Times:

Is cooking a hamburger patty and inserting the meat, lettuce and ketchup inside a bun a manufacturing job, like assembling automobiles? That question is posed in the new Economic Report of the President, a thick annual compendium of observations and statistics on the health of the United States economy.The latest edition, sent to Congress last week, questions whether fast-food restaurants should continue to be counted as part of the service sector or should be reclassified as manufacturers.

Heh! Only now biased liberals can assert there has been a decline in US manufacturing jobs.  

Dude, you want fries?


Well hey... (none / 0) (#77)
by Lagged2Death on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 01:38:26 PM EST

If ketchup can be a vegetable, why can't burgers be manufacturing? It makes a certain baked kind of sense.

Starfish automatically creates colorful abstract art for your PC desktop!
[ Parent ]
What else would it be? (none / 0) (#125)
by MorePower on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 01:41:48 PM EST

I don't really get what else fast food would be other than manufacturing. They assemble a bunch of components into a finished product.

Trying to say its a service is pretty silly. The service of making food products for you? By that definition car manufacturing should also be a service, the service of assembling steel into a car for you.

Anyway fast food work doesn't really fit in with our normal ideas of service jobs (IT, business consulting, accounting, marketing, etc.). So much as I hate to admit it, I guess I agree with Shrub on this one.

[ Parent ]
It would be a restaurant (none / 0) (#131)
by kmcrober on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 02:40:08 PM EST

My understanding is that all restaurants, fast food or otherwise, are service jobs, despite the fact that "all they do is assemble products."  One reason is that it's more than just assembling things; even McDonald's provides a customer in-store experience, with direct staff-consumer contact and seating and all that jazz.

Put it this way - you might agree with Shrub, but the Manufacturing Association of American doesn't.  When they say that adding an enormous number of jobs and dollars and influential client organizations to their umbrella doesn't make sense, it really doesn't make sense.

[ Parent ]

well duh, no shit (none / 1) (#73)
by Nigga on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 01:01:22 PM EST

politics and science just dont mix. Politics is about shaping reality to meet an agenda.. Science is about creating uncertain theories about reality through objective observations. It's no surprise that the two just don't fucking mix. Industry is a great place for science, except that the discoverios and theories and work is kept secret. Really, the best place for science that's available to the public is Schools. And if the public would rather go to the govt. for their science that's hardly the govt.'s fault... And scientists that want to work for the govt... well shit, what are they thinking?

--------
The fuck happened to Nigga?

This is surprising? (none / 1) (#74)
by joshv on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 01:04:21 PM EST

Science playing second fiddle to politics? My, what a novelty. I am sure this has never happened before. -josh

Politicization of "the race concept" (2.50 / 4) (#75)
by Baldrson on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 01:19:40 PM EST

NAS member Harry Harpending writes:
There is a lot of visible denunciation of "the race concept", but when anyone is forced to say what the race concept is it invariably comes out sounding like species. It is all word play. The answer is a number, that number is about 1/8, and all the rest is word salad and sophistry.

Boyd and Silk ought to know better, but then again genetics is not their specialty. And Venter! We sequence a single genome and announce that there are no race differences: my little kid can figure out that that makes no sense.

In fairness to the genome jocks, we have to remember that they consume a lot of grant money and that the minute anyone starts crying racism they are at risk of losing that funding.

A colleague last week described a meeting at NIH where a prominent genome jock stood up and said humans were all the same, race differences were insignificant, and so on. My colleage said he "had a tear in his eye, one hand on his heart, and his other hand on his wallet".


-------- Empty the Cities --------


Is this at all related... (none / 0) (#88)
by proles on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 03:10:15 PM EST

...to this thing that I ran across awhile ago? I guess this particular report is Bush-specific, but it's been pretty well known that government and science don't always get along for awhile.
If there is hope, it lies in the proles.
Dr Seusse had it right with the Lucky Ducky book.. (2.00 / 3) (#91)
by Sesquipundalian on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:02:10 PM EST

With his on about the lucky your not a ducky or whatever.. 'bout half way through the book there's this guy who has to supervise bees who make honey. He watches these bees very closely and whenever one of 'em f*ck's up, he "motivates" them.

So bee boy; he's got a supervisor who ensures his productivity and administrates his activities, facilitating goal setting or whatever.. trouble is, these guys seem to have some sort of neurological disorder (missing lobe or somesuch from the drawing, but with Seusse who can tell?) where they can't resolve continued fractions (sort of like Greek people named Zeno).

Seusse felt that a life afflicted with such disopia would be hardly worth living
Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
example: depleted uranium (2.50 / 3) (#92)
by m0rpheus on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:06:29 PM EST

this is one of the worst abuses as it is harmful to both the people who get hit by the shells it's used in, but also the soldiers that are handling it. This stuff is still very radioactive, but bush says it is safe and so do his scientists that he funds. Funny, cause just about every other UN country has banned it based on INDEPENDENT studies that they have funded because it can be so harmful and the radiation from the shells can spread more than a few miles through the air. I recommend searching google and reading some of the world news articles about this. The only stories i have seen that support it are the ones published by US gov't scientists and of course Britain agrees with us because we tell them to.


radiation?? (none / 1) (#115)
by molo on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 09:37:02 PM EST

I thought the point of depleted uranium was that it was LESS radioactive than uranium ore.  It is mostly U238 and has very little U235 in it.

The real concern here is not for the radioactivity, but the chemical compounds that can be created when uranium interacts with the wider environment.  Particularly at issue is that uranium will ignite when heated past 600C.  Impact with an armored tank would certainly provide enough heat to ignite it.  Uranium oxides are then slightly soluble in water.

I'm no expert, so corrections are welcome.. but AFAIK the radioactivity is not really at issue.

-molo

--
Whenever you walk by a computer and see someone using pico, be kind. Pause for a second and remind yourself that: "There, but for the grace of God, go I." -- Harley Hahn
[ Parent ]

You are right (none / 0) (#118)
by Polverone on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 12:32:21 AM EST

Uranium, like many other heavy elements, is chemically toxic.

"Indeed, for natural uranium the chemical toxicity is the overriding consideration and is approximately the same as the chemical toxicity of lead."

Depleted uranium is slightly less radioactive than natural uranium, having been depleted of the faster-decaying U-235. If military use of depleted uranium does have the horrendous health effects oft-ascribed to it, I believe the DU must be contaminated with something worse than uranium.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

Weak Emitter (none / 1) (#121)
by hengist on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 04:06:12 AM EST

IIRC, DU is a weak alpha emitter. Alpha particles can be stopped by the layer of dead cells on your skin, so a solid lump of DU isn't a big radiation hazard.

The problem is with DU dust, which tends to arise when you smack a hard object (like a tank) with a fast-moving piece of DU (like an anti-tank shell). The dust can penetrate the body, e.g. get into lungs, where the alpha radiation can cause problems.

That's why using DU is a bad idea, unless you don't want the area you're fighting in.

There can be no Pax Americana
[ Parent ]

why the apathy? (none / 2) (#97)
by davros4269 on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 04:17:06 PM EST

Why are so many comments either directly, or by implication, apathetic?

"politics and science don't mix", "Bush is a politician, what did you expect" and so forth.

What I expect is for science to be taken seriously! This should ruffle people's feathers a bit more, there is potentially some serious shit at stake here!

I thought the author made distinction between other admins. and this one, but lets assume that all admins. do this act of evil - that should be more reason to be alarmed, not less.
Will you squirm when you are pecked? Quack.

Bush overload (none / 2) (#100)
by IPFreely on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:04:48 PM EST

You are right of course.

I suspect that the Bush supporters are so overloaded with day after day of more "Bush lied" evidence that the only fallback is "Yeah, he's bad but so is everyone else. What'cha gonna do?"

The Bush Bangers are all "Look, it's item 12,322,847 on the 'Bush is a Lying Bastard' list. The line to complain starts on the left. You are number 324,243,546,643. Number 10 is currently being served."

We're just so overloaded with Bush corruption crap that one more just doesn't get the attention it should in an otherwise conceientious world.

[ Parent ]

Can't trust those scientists (none / 1) (#102)
by Rahyl on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 05:08:29 PM EST

Any time a "scientist" gets placed on one of these panels, their credibility flies right out the window.  This goes for any administration and covers all of their conclusions.  To put it mathematically:  Politics + X = Politics for all values of X.

Would you trust the conclusions of scientists about sunlight exposure if you found out they were being "sponsored" by a suntan lotion manufacturer?  Would you trust an essay on the benefits of drinking fruit juice if it was written by the CEO of Tropicana?  How can we trust the conclusions of scientists who are on government panels?

When attempting to establish the credentials of any conclusion, I examine the recommendations.  As soon as the "experts" recommend a government-coerced solution, I toss their conclusions.  I could care less what side of the aisle they work for or how many millions of irradiated, starving, economically depressed slave-children their solution will claim to save.  Once they try to force me to behave differently, their objectives are crystal clear and far south of honorable.

Let him can all the experts he wants.  I'm not listening to them anyway :)


Sorry, (none / 2) (#112)
by trhurler on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 08:35:00 PM EST

But first of all, this IS what you get when you politicize science by making it publicly funded. Period. Don't like it? Get your money from some other source. It is that simple.

Second, scientists are human beings. Pretending they have no biases or are always objective or whatever is a delusion. Everyone, politicians, scientists, and so on - all of them are biased. Scientists swore up and down prior to quantum mechanics that they were 99% done figuring out the universe, and they outright destroyed the careers of many who thought otherwise. Trusting them to be not only correct(which history shows is at best a good possibility,) but also objective(which history shows them not to be AT ALL, with a serious mob mentality and a serious "run the bums out of town" attitude to anyone who doesn't conform, among other things,) is insanity.

In short, big fucking deal.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

so let's give up (none / 0) (#117)
by anonymous cowerd on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:03:50 PM EST

Since everything is subjective and it's a delusion to imagine otherwise, I take it you've decided to give up on science altogether. Well, that certainly sounds like a fine idea to me. Similarly, since we are all beladen with original sin, it only stands to reason we should stop censuring and harassing child molesters and murderers and such.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@ij.net

A drowning man asks for pears from the willow tree.
[ Parent ]

Perhaps you misunderstood (none / 0) (#122)
by trhurler on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 04:46:57 AM EST

My point was not that science is hopeless, but merely that allowing scientists to assert that only they know best, and ascribing to those scientists perfect objectivity(which the author I replied to was doing,) is probably worse than having no science at all. Nothing and nobody is perfect or perfectly unbiased, and pretending that a politician who criticizes a scientist is automatically in the wrong without even examining the specifics is foolishness.

Priesthoods are cancerous growths upon humanity, no matter what they teach. Science made into a religion will quickly make the worst humanity has ever experienced seem tame.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Not exactly (none / 1) (#141)
by JetJaguar on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 08:17:41 PM EST

I think your statements are a pretty big mischaracterization. First of all, no scientist that I ever heard of "swore up and down" that they were 99% done figuring out physics prior to quantum. It is true that many of them believed this to be the case, but it is also true that there wasn't a whole lot of evidence pointing towards quantum theory at the time either. The first hints of it were just starting to come out at the time, but nobody in their wildest dreams had any idea of what it was they had stumbled onto. I don't see how you can possibly conflate the belief physics was nearly finished with being biased. Arrogant, perhaps, but not biased. The one just doesn't follow from the other. I'm not saying that bias isn't there, or that what bias there is, is somehow better than elsewhere, but it is different from the way that you characterize it.

Second, if I had a nickel for everytime someone said that the scientific community was too dogmatic, I wouldn't have had to leave science in the first place. Science by it's very nature, has to be conservative, before accepting new ideas. It's a necessity. Otherwise, everytime some bonehead came up with a new claim of free energy, the entire scientific process would be thrown off track 3 or 4 times a year, at minimum. Science does have a very low tolerance for people who constantly make the same disproven claims over and over again, but what of it? Is that really how you want scientists to spend their time?

Science isn't perfect by any means, but neither is it nearly as bad is you make it out to be.

[ Parent ]

Don't forget the CDC-condom fiasco (3.00 / 4) (#114)
by Netsnipe on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 09:27:04 PM EST

In order to please his conservative supporters who despise anything other than abstinence-based sexual education, the Bush Administration went as far as distorting or censoring scientific evidence on the Center of Disease Control website regarding the effectiveness of condoms in preventing STD transmission.

--
Andrew 'Netsnipe' Lau
Debian GNU/Linux Maintainer & Computer Science, UNSW
this is old news (none / 1) (#123)
by tweetsygalore on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:05:20 AM EST


but so true.  those bastards.

best
C
After each perceived security crisis ended, the United States has remorsefully realised that the abrogation of civil liberties was unnecessary. But it has proven unable to prevent itself from repeating the error when the next crisis comes along. --- Justice William Brennan

Science is as science does (none / 1) (#127)
by dangerbum on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:59:07 PM EST

Scientists are the new French. It doesn't matter that Lafayette saved America's ass at Yorktown, and no one even knows who Rochambeau was anyway. Science may be right but that doesn't matter either. What matters is who gets a leg up, and how they get it. Lies work as well as truth. Though the truth is a more stimulating motivation. For some of us.

my thoughts (none / 0) (#128)
by the77x42 on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:54:16 AM EST

I thought 'real' science was proving hypothesis and developing theories and conducting research. Maybe even... experiment?

The problem is that there are so many 'scientists' now who have their mind set on one hypothesis and stick with it until they die that we invariably get anything to be able to be proved by any 'scientist'. With all these muddled theories, you'll get opinions before the facts, it's just the contemporary scientist way.

Scientists should not advise or be on 'advisory panels'. They should be on 'scientific panels' and present evidence not opinion. It's up to a reasonable politician (I hope this is not an oxymoron) to determine which evidence to be swayed by, not which argument.

You can't deny the facts, but I'm sure as shit going to deny you your right to voice your opinion.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

A little history lesson (none / 2) (#140)
by JetJaguar on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:57:26 PM EST

The problem is that there are so many 'scientists' now who have their mind set on one hypothesis and stick with it until they die that we invariably get anything to be able to be proved by any 'scientist'. With all these muddled theories, you'll get opinions before the facts, it's just the contemporary scientist way.

This isn't special to "contemporary science," this is the way that science has always worked. The actual number of practicing scientists is irrelavent to this problem. At the dawn of modern physics, Issaac Newton himself had all kinds of arguments with his peers, and he lost as many arguments as he won. However, this is also a point in favor of science (although you don't see it that way). It shows that over time, science does eventually arrive at the right conclusions. It may not happen immediately (although there are occaisions when it does), but it does happen eventually. And this is a good thing. Do you really want the scientific community to be swayed by every crack pot theory that comes up? Do you really want us all to suddenly start following Robert McElwaine and Archimedes Plutonium as legitimate people of science simply because they talk loud on Usenet? The conservatism that is in science is there for a good reason, it keeps us from running down every idea without at least checking to make sure there is good reason to do so.

As for muddled theories, how the hell do think we get concrete theories? We test, refine, test, refine, and it doesn't end there. The place where most scientists work today is not in the realm of easy answers. Are there opinions? Absolutely! Are there disagreements? Absolutely! Does it then make sense to ban scientists from advisory panels? when no one else is going to have a clue what the evidence means without someone knowledgeable about it in the first place?

I don't mean to flame. But come on! You seem to have a lot knowledge about science, but you don't seem to know a lot about how it really works.

[ Parent ]

Science not an exact...science... (none / 2) (#134)
by Spankypoo on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:07:59 PM EST

The most troubling part of the article for me was this editorial opinion which seeped through probably unnoticed - though carelessly accedpted - by most readers:

> "The scientists are biased."
> Right.

It's time we shed the perception that science is somehow more exact or more sure an art than any of the others, politics included.

To think that a battle of science vs. politics (or anything else) will automatically see science the victor for its sheer superiority, is false. Science can absolutely be biased, and we shouldn't discount allegations that it is biased based on the ethereal [remember which science believed ether filled space? Note that science has to believe things as well, and where there's belief, there's error] notions that science is somehow infallible or unaffected by the agendas/egos of the scientists.

And before anybody responds to this as being in defense of the politicans or President Bush or the right wing, you're missing the point.

Science is no more accurate than politics wtf? (none / 1) (#138)
by hbiki on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 07:14:26 AM EST

It's time we shed the perception that science is somehow more exact or more sure an art than any of the others, politics included.

And if science is no more exact than politics, then how can we -know- anything?

Enough to build bridges or roads or computers or power stations or planes or pacemakers or air conditioning or water sanitation or fridges or penicillin?

Would you trust a politican to build one of these WITHOUT the benefit of science?

All these integral parts of our lives are made possible by the pretty-damn-sureness of science. Science itself acknowledges the asymptote in what is knowable but it also knows where those boundaries are and what CAN be known.

What does politics do? Seriously.

Science can be hijacked by politics but it is, per se, apolitical.

remember which science believed ether filled space?

Scientisits certainly thought that. They make observations and drew conclusions. When new evidence was discovered, new conclusions were drawn. Yes, the church and various other POLITICAL institutions, thought the conclusions were wrong... but science proved* them otherwise.

(Proved, at least until someone offers a more accurate model of the universe. The whole point of science is its a continual refinement of knowledge.... it seeks to refine to be certain and to be sure.

What does politics do? It sophistry not epistemology.




---
I take all knowledge to be my province.
- Francis Bacon
biki.net/blog/
[ Parent ]

Not quite my point (none / 0) (#139)
by ceallach on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 11:51:29 AM EST

Sorry if it read that way. This wasn't particularly meant to imply that science and/or scientist(s) are infallible or unbiased. I had intended this to convey my opinion of the administration's honesty and actions, and which group I would be more prejudiced to believe based on track record to date. Basically, this was intended as total disbelief of any statement coming from the current administration decrying ANY group.

--
More smoke! The mirrors aren't working!!!
[ Parent ]

Science is decription of the world.. (none / 0) (#148)
by dageek on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:51:29 AM EST

..not a set of rules how people should manipulate that world. That is the domain of ethics. I'm not saying that all politicians are ethical but they sure have their own versions, as do scientists with some political influence. Keep in mind that any opinion, truth or scientific fact possibly becomes a means of leverage the moment it becomes known. Sure, I think any administration that doesn't take science into account to certain degree is at fault but that probably because I'm a science oriented person. Even science cannot prove the validity of its own foundations or else there wouldn't be philosophy, the field that covers ethics as well btw.

Bush administration distorting science to support political agendas | 148 comments (130 topical, 18 editorial, 0 hidden)
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