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[P]
Report: An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science

By leoaugust in Op-Ed
Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:16:47 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A scathing report from the Union of Concerned Scientists on the misuse of science and scientific process by the Bush Administration for political purposes has capped probably the most dismal six weeks for the presidency of George W. Bush. The report has won endorsements from many luminaries, and it provides a chilling insight into how the Truimph of The Bush Political Philosophy has put into danger the lives of the public, and that of the planet itself. In other words, President Bush and his Administration may itself be the ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction.

The report opens with a quote that describes the vision of the current president's father, and ends with damning evidence of the son's misdeeds by the standards set by his own father. This is probably not surprising as GWB has tried to do almost everything differently from his father, the 41st and one-term President of the United States.

In its conclusion the report seeks to strongly reprimand the president himself asking him to change course dramatically and immediately, chastises the almost pliant Congress, exhorts the Scientists to speak up, and asks for help from the public.


The report begins with a quote from the 41st US President, George H.W. Bush, in 1990 that sets the vision of how science must be used by government.

  • Science, like any field of endeavor, relies on freedom of inquiry;
  • and one of the hallmarks of that freedom is objectivity.
  • Now more than ever, on issues ranging from climate change to AIDS research to genetic engineering to food additives,
  • government relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance.

The report ends with an dismal report card on the 43rd President actions so far.


  • Scientists no longer have the freedom of inquiry.
  • Subjectivity has trumped Objectivity, and the freedom of inquiry has been curtailed
  • by the distortion of scientific process, addition and deletion of facts that manage to distort conclusions, detrimental influence of campaign donors to the federal bodies that are supposed to stand up for the public, subjection of scientists not to peers but to people without sufficient credentials, use of bogus science to justify the Iraq war, and injection of bogus facts into controversial issues like teen pregnancy.
  • The government no longer relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance, but relies on guiding science and scientists to its on partial perspective of politics and policy.

How has the Bush Administration managed to achieve this dubious distinction? The report shows this to be a 3 part opera.

Part I - Suppression and Distortion of Research Findings at Federal Agencies
   

Mark Twain said that "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." This is a 2 step process. First, get the facts. Second, distort them as much as you please. The second step of distortion has been a part of politics for ever, and the report does acknowledge that administrations do distort facts. But, "there is a crucial difference between political fights over policy and the manipulation of the scientific underpinnings of the policymaking process itself," and the distinction of the Bush Administration is that they have managed to corrupt the first step also - i.e. of first getting the facts right.

    One of the four findings of the investigation is that "There is significant evidence that the scope and scale of the manipulation, suppression, and misrepresentation of science by the Bush administration is unprecedented."

    Another finding of the investigation is that There is strong documentation of a wideranging effort to manipulate the government's scientific advisory system to prevent the appearance of advice that might run counter to the administration's political agenda.

Part II - Undermining the Quality and Integrity of the Appointment Process
   

Harry Truman said that "We must have strong minds, ready to accept facts as they are." It seems that the Bush Administration is not willing to accept the facts as they are, but is choosing minds to staff federal agencies that not strong, and those who are willing to ignore the facts. Roughly 1,000 committees, panels, commissions, and councils advise the federal government on everything from how to allocate federal research dollars to what should be considered permissible levels of pesticide residue on produce.

    "The administration has picked candidates with questionable credentials for advisory positions, used political litmus tests to vet candidates for even the least political of its government review panels, and favored the candidates put forward by industry lobbyists over those recommended by its own federal agencies. This last charge of favoring candidates put forth by industry is particularly troubling, as executives from these industries are quite often large campaign contributors."

    To cap it all, the report points out that Mr. Russell, who holds the most senior White House advisory position devoted specifically to technology, has only a bachelor's degree in biology, no graduate or professional training of any kind, and no experience in a technology-related industry.

    The report shows that the philosophy of putting the "wrong" people incharge of "right" science is a very wide spread phenomenon. It goes on to bluntly state that "at high levels of government, the administration's political agenda has permeated the traditionally objective, nonpartisan mechanisms through which the government uses scientific knowledge in forming and implementing public policy."


Part III - An Unprecedented Pattern of Behavior
   
Sherlock Holmes has been attributed with saying that, "it is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

    Insensibly, it seems that the theory to which all facts are being subjected is the Theory of Mr. Bush's mind. In Professor Miller's case, "his 2002 interview for a slot on a National Institute on Drug Abuse advisory panel included questions about whether his views were congruent with those held by President Bush and whether he had voted for Bush in 2000. Presumably based on his answers, Miller was denied the appointment." "Miller, a distinguished professor of psychology and psychiatry, the pioneer of a leading substance abuse treatment, and author of more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals."

    A finding of the investigation is that "there is a well-established pattern of suppression and distortion of scientific findings by high-ranking Bush administration political appointees across numerous federal agencies. These actions have consequences for human health, public safety, and community well-being."

    Finally, consistent with the nature of this "secretive" Whitehouse, that is fighting a secretive war on terror, the report has "provided substantial evidence that objective scientific knowledge is being distorted for political ends by the Bush administration, and misrepresented or even withheld from Congress and the public at large."

Part IV - The Final Grade
   

The report calls for immediate action. To call for something like this, in defiance of the Whitehouse, especially in an election year, shows that that the authors and endorsers of the report have either gone nuts to take on the President, or they feel so strongly about it that they believe immediate action must be taken to avoid the impending disasters if the current road is not changed.

    The report brings to task the President of the United States George Bush,
   

"the president should immediately request his science advisor to prepare a set of recommendations for executive orders and other actions to prohibit further censorship and distortion of scientific information from federal agencies, and put an end to practices that undermine the integrity of scientific advisory panels.

    chastises the Congress, and says
   

"Congress should ensure that this administration should ensure that this administration and future administrations reverse this dangerous trend."

    exhorts the Scientist to fight for the freedoms, including freedom of speech,
   

"Scientists must encourage their professional societies and colleagues to become engaged in this issue, discuss their concerns directly with elected representatives, and communicate the importance of this issue to the public, both directly and through the media."

    and asks the public for help
   

"the public must also voice its concern about this issue to its elected representatives."

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Related Links
o A scathing report from the Union of Concerned Scientists
o probably the most dismal six weeks for the presidency of George W. Bush.
o report has won endorsements from many luminaries,
o Also by leoaugust


Display: Sort:
Report: An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science | 131 comments (118 topical, 13 editorial, 4 hidden)
not a libertarian, but ... (1.38 / 13) (#6)
by karb on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 07:49:09 AM EST

In an age where scientists are becoming much more important politically, I'm not sure it's a priori that the government needs to spend billions every year funding research. Let universities and private donors pick up the tab.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
what if they research is fundamental not practical (2.87 / 8) (#9)
by leoaugust on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 11:34:01 AM EST

The problem is that the universities are themselves generally funded by the government. Some professors can bring in money from the corporations and private sectors, but they are few in number. Most of the academics like to suckle off the federal funding.

Also private donors, unless they are a philanthropic organization are generally not interested in projects that can't get them returns or profit in a reasonable time. Thus, a lot of fundamental research, which might not have a  "direct" payoff for many years, or not at all, won't be able to find funding.

The bottom line is that the federal govt sets the direction for a lot of research. The feds do spend a lot of taxpayers money. But the  worse thing is that they can proscribe research in a field - e.g. stem cell research.

.

The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Not the answer (3.00 / 4) (#15)
by GenerationY on Fri Feb 20, 2004 at 07:14:26 PM EST

Universities are in any case ultimately funded in their research by the government. Private donors are all very well, but for the most part they have an overt agenda far worse in its effects than even what is being complained about in the article. This means that a lot of research that won't yield a profitable commerical product in under 3 years will never get funded. Yes, really, if you are 4 years away it will never happen with funding from the private sector. "Your work is going to save millions from disease/starvation? No thanks, we can make more profit from building widgets at the moment"

Government funding should be your guarantor that necessary work gets done in a free and objective manner. That is really why Bush's behaviour is so damaging.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 1) (#26)
by kurioszyn on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 10:58:21 AM EST

I don't know ...

Public spending on so called science is quite recent development (outside of military sphere) but somehow , in the last 200 years, US managed to progress quite admirably and even become powerhouse as far as research and development is concerned.
On the other hand Soviet Union, where literally everything was founded by the state, was struggling quite a bit and had to rely on espionage to keep up with the west.


[ Parent ]

Public Spending (none / 1) (#56)
by yooden on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 03:33:01 AM EST

Public spending on so called science is quite recent development

Nope. See porcelain in Europe for one example

outside of military sphere

Why do you exclude that?

in the last 200 years, US managed to progress quite admirably and even become powerhouse as far as research and development is concerned.

That's only a recent development. A hundred years ago or so they managed to use all kind of European development because European inventions were not protected in the USA back then.

[ Parent ]
EU (none / 1) (#73)
by kurioszyn on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 02:02:48 PM EST

"Why do you exclude that?"

Because my friend, to develop and market a new tank involves a lot more than , say, marketing a new TV.  There are tons of restrictive rules and regulations which makes it much more difficult to operate and profit. Furthermore, who it he main customer for advanced weaponry ? The government - thus is it makes sense to fund this research from the public purse.

"That's only a recent development."

Yeah but the basic point is that it is working for US quite well ..
While Europe is trying to match US using centralized and what really amounts to soviet-lite planned style of development , their top scientists are moving to US.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1056690/posts

Quoting from another article:
"
The investment gap is widening, with the EU currently spending 1.94% of GDP on research and development, compared with 2.8% in the US and 2.98% in Japan. The Commission blames this largely on the lower contribution private sector investment makes to research funding in Europe. Another telling statistic is the number of researchers in the labour force: 5.4 per 1000 in the EU compared with 8.7 in the US and 9.7 in Japan."

http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030320/08/

[ Parent ]

Freep freep freep in the shower. (none / 1) (#86)
by fenix down on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 12:37:31 AM EST

The US isn't some libertarian paradise now, that's what you want it to be.  Pointing out all the things the current government-funded research university system does well doesn't seem like what you want to be doing.

The Freerepublic article refutes your idea pretty well.  The Frenchies are bitching that their government doesn't spend enough on science compared to the US, and threating to move in search of more government funding.  This would seem to indicate that if we quit funding research the brain-drain would reverse.

Anyway...

"That's only a recent development."

Yeah but the basic point is that it is working for US quite well ..

Right, it's working quite well, but what he's trying to tell you is that we weren't an R&D powerhouse until recently, which is to say WWII, when we started paying for the construction of government-funded R&D powerhouses around the country.

[ Parent ]

Subject (none / 1) (#94)
by kurioszyn on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 11:47:03 AM EST

"This would seem to indicate that if we quit funding research the brain-drain would reverse."

The might think that way  but - as the other article indicates, the difference lies in the comparative lack of private research funding in EU.

"Right, it's working quite well, but what he's trying to tell you is that we weren't an R&D powerhouse until recently, which is to say WWII, when we started paying for the construction of government-funded R&D powerhouses around the country."

Ever heard of places like AT&T labs ?
Anyway, the rise of US as a power is not exactly a recent development but can be dated back to early 1900s.

The original poster assertion was that the government is somehow immune to the typical greed-motivated drive behind private funding which is largely true, but he forgot to mention that there are other forces at play, which often result in the type of wasteful and often idiotic ?research", where the only purpose is to keep someone employed in a safe and comfortable position.

Frankly, I am willing to concede the point that , since we are unlikely to see our taxes significantly reduces anytime soon, I would rather see that money being spent on research than on the typical wealth-redistribution/class-warfare style of votes purchasing programs so prevalent among politicians these days.

[ Parent ]

No more donors (2.75 / 4) (#45)
by mcelrath on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:49:37 PM EST

The US has succeeded on the donor system (Rocekfeller, Carnegie, etc) because up until now, our tax system was set up such that it was financially advantageous for rick folks to donate their money to a charity or non-profit. (As I understand it, this is not the case in Europe) This is no longer the case in the US either. Bush's tax reforms/cuts have removed the incentive to donate.

To continue funding science and the arts we must reverse Bush's tax cuts or prop up public funding. (Preferably both) Personally I think we should push things much farther in the direction of encouraging donation. With the exception of things that nobody would donate to (say, turkey reproduction research), it is better for all of us not to have politically motivated review committees deciding what should get funding. Funding would reflect the public interest, and that sounds fine to me.

--Bob
1^2=1; (-1)^2=1; 1^2=(-1)^2; 1=-1; 2=0; 1=0.
[ Parent ]

Undecided (none / 1) (#97)
by Kuranes on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 12:44:14 PM EST

Frankly, I'd think it's bad to have everything under state funding, but there are many types of research private donors probably wouldn't spend money on.

So I guess the best would be to divide funding money to all types of research which have some kind of institutionalization (and there can be very strange ones) and additionally encourage donations.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
You some kind of Republican or something? (none / 1) (#50)
by alizard on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 12:59:35 AM EST

The "pure Libertarian" position which you appear to support that basic research doesn't deserve funding if it can't get it from the private sector, and if the economies of nations that support it pull ahead of nations that don't fund basic scientific research, that this is just another proof that Libertarianism is THE WAY

The reason for funding basic science is that what we learn from basic science is where our technology will come from 20 or 50 years from now, too long a time horizon for CEOs who get paid based on quarterly earnings to comprehend.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]

private research money... (none / 1) (#71)
by mikelist on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 09:35:32 AM EST

...guarantees result skewed to fit the agendas of those who have an interest in the outcome. There will always be honest inquiry, there will also be preconceived notions masquerading as science. Which do you think would be most employed by privatization of scientific research. **NOTICE** Most technological dvances come directly or indirectly from military research. That's bad enough.

[ Parent ]
Federal Funds Needed for UnderWater Lab (none / 0) (#114)
by leoaugust on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 04:26:32 AM EST

Here is an example of where Federal Funds are needed.

From MSNBC on Feb 23, 2004 MSNBC - Budget cuts endanger underwater lab

WILMINGTON, N.C. - The University of North Carolina at Wilmington may have to shut down its underwater research lab -- the only one in the world -- because of budget cuts to a program that helps pay for it.

The university manages the lab, a 400-square-foot (37-square-meter) capsule moored 63 feet (19.2 meters) below the surface off Key Largo, Fla. The federal government pays for its operation.

Financing for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's undersea research arm has been flat for years. Budgetary pressure accelerated this fiscal year when the National Undersea Research Program, or NURP, saw its budget fall from $13.5 million to $12 million. The budget proposed by President Bush recommends cutting an additional $1 million.

The university's lab, named Aquarius, gets about $1.3 million, which primarily covers operating and maintenance costs. Researchers, institutions and grants cover most of the mission expenses.

Aquarius lives for another year
NURP Director Barbara Moore said the agency considered cutting its money for Aquarius this year, but decided to continue the program. The agency can't continue to operate as normal on a budget that doesn't even keep up with inflation.

"This will be a watershed year for the National Undersea Research Program," said U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.

NASA astronauts have trained at the lab for several years to help them prepare for the rigors of space travel, sometimes spending a week or longer at a time.

"The beauty of Aquarius is not only is it isolated, but very isolated, and it's an extreme environment," said NASA project manager Bill Todd. "It also allows the crew to go on a real mission in a real environment and work with real scientists doing real work, just like they would in the space station."

This summer NASA will send four astronauts to test new communication methods and exercise equipment for long-duration space travel.

Federal support seen as essential
Steven Miller, director of the university's National Undersea Research Center, said Aquarius couldn't operate without the federal support.

"Without that funding, the program is pretty much dead in the water," he said from Key Largo.

Aquarius was built in 1986 but has been refurbished twice since its launch, but Miller said there are advantages to longevity.

"The fact we've been here in the Florida Keys for so long makes it an even more valuable as a research site, a long-term database that's unmatched anywhere else in the world," he said.

Researchers say Aquarius allows them to do in a few days what could otherwise take several weeks.

Mark Hay, a marine biologist with the Georgia Institute of Technology, spent 10 days in Aquarius last fall researching how herbivorous fish and other plant-eating animals affect seaweed growth on and around coral reefs.

"Our project required a lot of bottom time, and with Aquarius we could spend nine hours a day at the depths we needed to be at versus a few hours using a surface vessel," he said. "It provided an exceptional opportunity for us to see what goes on down there because we were out there so much."

Academic reputation
In addition to its research applications, Aquarius has helped boost the university's reputation.

"Having the world's only undersea laboratory as an extension of your program is great for our researchers and students and good exposure for our institution," said Mark Lanier, assistant to UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo.

Aquarius also has allowed the university's Center for Marine Science to attract world-leading researchers. That, in turn, allows its students to learn from some of the top scientists in their fields.

McIntyre says Aquarius is too important to let go.

"It's not like it's just a parochial project for our small area of the coast," Rep. McIntyre said. "The research that's done there has a national and international impact."

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

-1, numerous reasons (1.14 / 7) (#17)
by Undesirable Username on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 03:03:04 AM EST

Aside from the short block of content at the start, this is a bunch of verbose quotations from the report. That's not needed -- I can read the report fine. There is already an FP article on the same subject. It provides a nice brief summary of the report's content and of the opposition's rhetoric. In contrast, here we have primarily a wordy listing of the sources. Finally, the FP article is substantially more readable.

+1, numerous reasons (none / 0) (#19)
by starla on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 04:15:52 AM EST

That is why this story already has a score of 88. It approaches the report from a different angle, and has more meat.

[ Parent ]
Union of Crazy Socialists is more like it (1.03 / 27) (#20)
by sellison on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 04:43:47 AM EST

this same "union" has said nothing about the concerted attempt by those claiming to be scientists to push the religious belief that Man is related to apes on our children, with the tax dollars of Christians, in public schools we are coerced by law to pay for!

When the UCS demands that evolution be named the guess that it is, when they demand that it be taught alongside if not replaced by the much more logical and more evidence rich Theory of Intelligent Design, then they might have something to say about science.

As it is scientists can't even decide whether the earth is getting hotter or colder, they sure as heck can't say whether Bush's decisions are based on better science than Clinton's!


"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

message and messenger problem (none / 0) (#21)
by leoaugust on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:08:05 AM EST

I know your post is a satire, but I'll bite on

<blockquote> <i> they sure as heck can't say whether Bush's decisions are based on better science  </i> </blockquote>

The point is not to quibble about Bush's decisions. Once the facts are clearly presented, then he can make policy decisions based on his administration's judgement.

The problem is that they are making "pre-decisions." They are making a pre-decision about what sort of facts must be presented, which corrupts the whole decision making process. For a layman this is hard to understand, but Scientists with formal training know that this is a traversity of the scientific process, and can lead to bad decisions. Bad decisions by the most powerful office in the world (POTUS) can lead to disaster.

Remember, that Saddam did not have the WMD, but Bush does. He has Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weapons of Mass Deception, Weapons of Mass Disasters, Weapons to Massacre Democrats, Weapons to Maul Democracy, Weapons to Murder Decency, ...

So, look at the message of the UCS. Forget the messenger. Look at the message, and I think it deserves a careful scrutiny and judicious action - at the very least.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Intelligent design is based on the same evidence (none / 0) (#22)
by StephenThompson on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 06:10:07 AM EST

Evolution and Intelligent Design are both based on the same physical evidence.   The difference is philosophical.  Teaching Intelligent Design along side evolution would be very instructive!  However a complete course which touched on the idea of parsimony would tend to favor Evolution.

Much as I am loathe to agree with a creationist, your point on global warming is dead on.  This is Fad science, and it will be remembered as an odd belief of the time, like the square meal is today.

[ Parent ]

you are joking right? (none / 0) (#25)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 09:52:12 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You trying to PROVE Bush's supporters are tards? (none / 0) (#49)
by alizard on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 12:54:52 AM EST

Let's see, you're whining about schools teaching real science instead of "Creation Science" bullshit in biology classes, you're sniveling about global climate change. . .

You're telling us that you know more about science than any of the 19 Nobel Prize winners that signed on to that document?

You read like a parody of what the Democratic Party wants Americans to think that a typical Bush supporter is.

I heard a White House spokesdroid telling us that the scientists who are calling Bush on junk science should be more scientific. Will the Bushmen be telling water to be wet tomorrow?

You trolling or just retarded?
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico
[ Parent ]

The remarkable thing (none / 0) (#55)
by baseball on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 02:46:05 AM EST

is that there are people who actually believe what you posted (although I doubt their ability to express it in literate English).

* * *

Bush is a liar, Rumsfeld a war criminal.
[ Parent ]

[Article] An interesting article in the Nation (3.00 / 13) (#24)
by leoaugust on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 09:31:07 AM EST

There are some more examples and allegations of misuse of Science in an article The Junk Science of George W. Bush. The examples here supplement the report that the UCS has released.

Excerpts:


Science, like theology, reveals transcendent truths about a changing world. At their best, scientists are moral individuals whose business is to seek the truth. Over the past two decades industry and conservative think tanks have invested millions of dollars to corrupt science. They distort the truth about tobacco, pesticides, ozone depletion, dioxin, acid rain and global warming. In their attempt to undermine the credible basis for public action (by positing that all opinions are politically driven and therefore any one is as true as any other), they also undermine belief in the integrity of the scientific process.

Now Congress and this White House have used federal power for the same purpose. Led by the President, the Republicans have gutted scientific research budgets and politicized science within the federal agencies. The very leaders who so often condemn the trend toward moral relativism are fostering and encouraging the trend toward scientific relativism. The very ideologues who derided Bill Clinton as a liar have now institutionalized dishonesty and made it the reigning culture of America's federal agencies.

The Bush Administration has so violated and corrupted the institutional culture of government agencies charged with scientific research that it could take a generation for them to recover their integrity even if Bush is defeated this fall. Says Princeton University scientist Michael Oppenheimer, "If you believe in a rational universe, in enlightenment, in knowledge and in a search for the truth, this White House is an absolute disaster."


The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[Resource] Discover Magazine Top Issues in 2003 (2.50 / 4) (#59)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:16:26 AM EST

Discover Magazine compiled a list of the Top 100 Science stories for 2003, and at least 4 in the Top 50 relate to Science and its Misuse:

Number 5
POLITICS: Bush vs. Science: Is the White House Credible?

At first it seemed like another broadside from frequent White House critic Representative Henry Waxman, a liberal Democrat from Los Angeles. Early this August, at his request, the minority staff of the House Committee on Government Reform issued a 40-page report charging the Bush administration with misusing science to advance a conservative agenda. . .

Number 27
POLITICS: Ties With Drug Companies Bias Biomedical Research

Pervasive financial ties between universities and the pharmaceutical industry are tainting biomedical research, according to a study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association last January. . .

Number 33
POLITICS: Physicists Question Feasibility of an American Missile Shield

If it's not one thing, it's another. In July an American Physical Society panel raised new doubts about Pentagon plans for a weapons system to shoot down enemy missiles. . .

Number 42
POLITICS: Terror Threats Prompt Scientists to Mull Self-Censorship

Everyone knows the story of the Princeton University undergrad who designed an atomic bomb using information he found in scientific journals. Since the post-9/11 anthrax attacks, researchers have become increasingly concerned that someone less savory--a bioterrorist, for example--could misuse critical details in scientific journals, publications that depend on the free flow of ideas. Last January a group of 32 editors and publishing officials, most from prominent life-science journals, met in Washington, D.C., to consider whether some scientific papers might be too dangerous to publish. . .


The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]
[Website] Waxman's Website Describing Issues (2.60 / 5) (#60)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:24:38 AM EST

There is a very comprehensive website from Rep. Henry A. Waxman at the www.house.gov address called Politics & Science - Investigating the State of Science Under the Bush Administration.

It has 3 areas of investigation


  1. Manipulation of Scientific Committees
  2. Distortion of Public Information
  3. Interference with Scientific Research

It also list a number of issues and provides updates on the status of them. If you are looking for examples of the alleged misdeeds, this is a good place to start. Politics & Science - Investigating the State of Science Under the Bush Administration.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

[Article] Anti-Science-Fiction Administration (2.80 / 5) (#61)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:31:25 AM EST

There is an interesting article in Slate called Why did Bush's bioethics czar order his colleagues to read Nathaniel Hawthorne? by Nick Gillespie (posted on Friday, Jan. 18, 2002) that discusses how the Bush Administration is looking into history to decide ethics for the future.

Excerpt:

The chief of the President's Council on Bioethics, University of Chicago's Leon Kass, made sure to give his fellow councilmembers a homework assignment. Before they met yesterday to discuss the thorny issues related to stem-cell research, human cloning, and the like, Kass told the council--which includes such prominent critics of cutting-edge human biotechnology as Johns Hopkins' Francis Fukuyama, UCLA's James Q. Wilson, Princeton's Robert P. George, and journalist/M.D. Charles Krauthammer--to read Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1843 short story, "The Birthmark."


The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]
[Article] Growing Divide between Scientists & (3.00 / 7) (#62)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:44:49 AM EST

"Science Friction: The growing--and dangerous--divide between scientists and the GOP." by Nicholas Thompson (in July/August 2003 issue) that provides a lot of examples and insight into the causes of why such misuse of science is taking place on such a mass scale.

Excerpt:

Not long ago, President Bush asked a federal agency for evidence to support a course of action that many believe he had already chosen to take on a matter of grave national importance that had divided the country. When the government experts didn't provide the information the president was looking for, the White House sent them back to hunt for more. The agency returned with additional raw and highly qualified information, which the president ran with, announcing his historic decision on national television. Yet the evidence soon turned out to be illusory, and the entire policy was called into question. Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, you say? Actually, the above scenario describes Bush's decision-making process on the issue of ... More at "Science Friction: The growing--and dangerous--divide between scientists and the GOP."

..... The administration's stem-cell stand is just one of many examples, from climate change to abstinence-only sex-education programs, in which the White House has made policies that defy widely accepted scientific opinion. Why this administration feels unbound by the consensus of academic scientists can be gleaned, in part, from a telling anecdote in Nicholas Lemann's recent New Yorker profile of Karl Rove. When asked by Lemann to define a Democrat, Bush's chief political strategist replied, "Somebody with a doctorate." Lemann noted, "This he said with perhaps the suggestion of a smirk." Fundamentally, much of today's GOP, like Rove, seems to smirkingly equate academics, including scientists, with liberals.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

[Resource] List of UCS Report Signatories (2.66 / 6) (#63)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:53:15 AM EST

Here is a list of the Prominent Statement Signatories to the UCS Report

There are currently 19 National Medal of Science signatories, 20 Nobel Laureates, and 3 Crafoord Prize winners.

National Medal of Science *
Nobel Laureate †
Crafoord Prize #

Philip W. Anderson * †
Condensed Matter Physics, Superconductivity, Princeton University

David Baltimore * †
Molecular Biology & Medicine, President, California Institute of Technology

Paul Berg * †
Molecular Biology & Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine

Rosina Bierbaum
Dean, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

Nicolaas Bloembergen * †
Nonlinear Optics, University of Arizona

Lewis M. Branscomb
Former Director, National Bureau of Standards, Chief Scientist IBM; Harvard University

Eric Chivian †
Environmental Health, Harvard Medical School

Joel E. Cohen
Human Population Studies, Rockefeller University

James Cronin * †
Experimental Particle Physics, University of Chicago

Margaret Davis
Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota

Paul M. Doty
Biochemistry, National Security Policy, Harvard University

Paul Ehrlich #
Population Biology, Stanford University

Thomas Eisner *
Chemical Ecology, Entomology, Cornell University

Christopher Field
Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington

Gerald D. Fischbach
Neurobiology, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Columbia University Former Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Val L. Fitch * †
Experimental Particle Physics, Princeton University

Jerry Franklin
Ecosystem Analysis, University of Washington

Jerome Friedman †
Experimental Particle Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Richard L. Garwin *
Pure & Applied Physics, Military Technologies, National Security Policy; IBM

John H. Gibbons
Former Science Advisor to the President

Marvin L. Goldberger
Theoretical Physics, Former President of California Institute of Technology

Lynn R. Goldman
Environmental Health, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Kurt Gottfried
Theoretical Nuclear & Particle Physics, Cornell University

David Grimes
Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Roger Guillemin * †
Neurology & Endocrinology, Salk Institute

John P. Holdren
Environmental Science, National Security Policy, Harvard University

Anne Kapuscinski
Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota

Eric R. Kandel * †
Neurobiology & Behavior, Columbia University

Walter Kohn * †
Atomic & Solid State Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

Lawrence Krauss
Astrophysics, Case Western Reserve University

Neal F. Lane
Former Science Advisor to the President, Former Director, National Science Foundation; Physics & Astronomy, Rice University

Leon M. Lederman * †
Experimental Particle Physics, Director Emeritus, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory; Former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science

William Lipscomb †
Chemistry, Harvard University

Jane Lubchenco
Marine Biology, Zoology, Oregon State University; Former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Michael C. MacCracken
Former Executive Director of the Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

James J. McCarthy
Biological Oceanography, Harvard University

Jerry M. Melillo
Former Associate Director for Environment, Office of Science and Technology Policy; Co-director, The Ecosystems Center, Marine Biological Laboratory

Matthew S. Meselson
Molecular and Cell Biology, Harvard University

David Michaels
Former Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health, DOE Occupational and Environmental Health and Epidemiology, George Washington

Mario Molina †
Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Michael Oppenheimer
Geosciences, Princeton University

Gordon Orians
Zoology, University of Washington

W.K.H. Panofsky *
Experimental Particle Physics, National Security Policy, Stanford University

Stuart Pimm
Conservation Ecology, Duke University

Ron Pulliam
Ecology, University of Georgia

Norman F. Ramsey * †
Atomic, Molecular & Nuclear Physics

Anthony Robbins
Tufts University School of Medicine; Former Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Allan Rosenfield
Dean, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

F. Sherwood Rowland †
Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate Science, University of California, Irvine; Former President, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Edwin E. Salpeter #
Astrophysics, Cornell University

William Schlesinger
Dean, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University

J. Robert Schrieffer * †
Superconductivity, Chief Scientist, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Florida State University

Richard Smalley †
Director, Nanotechnology Laboratory, Rice University

Felicia Stewart
Reproductive Health Research and Policy, University of California, San Francisco

Kevin Trenberth
Head, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Harold E. Varmus * †
Behavior of Retroviruses; Former Director, National Institutes of Health; CEO Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Steven Weinberg * †
Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology, University of Texas, Austin

E.O. Wilson * #
Entomology, Harvard University

Edward Witten *
Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, Institute for Advanced Study

George M. Woodwell
President and Director, Woods Hole Research Center

Donald Wuebbles
Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois

Herbert F. York
First Director, Livermore National Laboratory

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

[Article] GWB: The Un-science Guy (3.00 / 4) (#65)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 06:04:44 AM EST

There was an interesting article GW: The Un-science Guy (dated June 19, 2001) which captured long ago the direction Science & the Scientific Process was going to take under the George W. Bush Administration.

Excerpts:

If Bush reached the last paragraph of the first page, he would have read, "The committee
generally agrees with the assessment of human-caused climate change presented in the IPCC...report."

It's instructive to compare the actual words of the NAS report to what Bush's press secretary Ari Fleischer said about the study that day. "It concludes," Fleischer asserted, "that the Earth is warming. But it is inconclusive on why - whether it's man-made causes or whether it's natural causes." That's not spinning. That is lying. Read those opening lines. They are not inconclusive.

The next day Fleischer fine-tuned his message. He now said that Bush welcomed the report and agreed that temperatures are on the rise. (The eleven top climate scientists who wrote the report, including the Nobel laureate in the group, must have felt reassured.) But Fleischer fixated on the fact that "uncertainties remain" as to how much of the rise in global temperatures can be directly attributed to human activity.

This was a more sophisticated exercise in spin. Focus on the question marks, not the exclamation points. Concede human-caused warming is underway, but dwell on the finding that scientists cannot precisely measure how much of the warming is the result of cars, power plants, and the like. It was a signal that the Bushies were going to stick to their know-nothing position - the science is still iffy - in order to justify their opposition to mandatory reductions in atmosphere-warming emissions.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

[Article] Does Science Matter? (NY Times) (2.75 / 4) (#66)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 06:11:33 AM EST

There was an interesting article in the New York Times dated November 11, 2003. It was (cached version) Does Science Matter? by William J. Broad and James Glanz.

Excerpt:

Whether the complex challenges of today generate a new era of scientific greatness, several scientists said, may depend on how a deeply conflicted public answers the question of whether science still matters. In many ways, it all boils down to "a schism between people who have accepted the modern scientific view of the world and the people who are fighting that," said Dr. David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist who is president of the California Institute of Technology. "Scientists are presenting a much more complicated, much less ethically grounded view of the world, and it's hard for people to take that in," he added.

Some experts warn that if support for science falters and if the American public loses interest in it, such apathy may foster an age in which scientific elites ignore the public weal and global imperatives for their own narrow interests, producing something like a dictatorship of the lab coats. "For any man to abdicate an interest in science," Jacob Bronowski, the science historian, wrote, "is to walk with open eyes towards slavery."

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Article on Un-Intelligent Design (2.80 / 5) (#67)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 06:16:30 AM EST

This is what the article Does Science Matter? had to say about Intelligent Design

The organized opposition to the mainstream theory of evolution has become vastly more sophisticated and influential than it was, say, 25 years ago. The leading foes of Darwin espouse a theory called "intelligent design," which holds that purely random natural processes could never have produced humans. These foes are led by a relatively small group of people with various academic and professional credentials, including some with advanced degrees in science and even university professorships.

Backers of intelligent design say they are simply pointing up shortcomings in Darwin's theory. Scientists have publicly rallied in response, last week staving off an effort at the Texas State Board of Education to have intelligent design taught alongside evolution.

"It just absolutely boggles the mind," said Dr. James Langer, a physicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara who is vice president of the National Academy of Sciences. "I wouldn't want my doctor thinking that intelligent design was an equally plausible hypothesis to evolution any more than I would want my airplane pilot believing in the flat Earth."

.

The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

So what? (none / 0) (#95)
by Kuranes on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 12:34:43 PM EST

In the quoted paragraphs, there is no counter-argument against "Intelligent Design" except the fact that it is different from the widely accepted Darwinian theory (which is still dependent on a weak theory of natural teleology) and a quote from a scientist with no reference to the rival theory at all printed in bold.

You know, everywhere modern materialist science can't explain the whole situation by an interaction of some Atoms, they talk of an "accident" or something that evolved "by chance". What's the difference from a good old-fashioned Wonder?*

I wouldn't advocate "Intelligent Design" myself either, but dismissing other theories as heresy is just a little bit too easy. Please bring details.

*you guessed it: It's the conscious act.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
I was just highlighting .. (none / 1) (#101)
by leoaugust on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:12:45 PM EST

My aim was not to provide provide arguements for/against "intelligent Design," but just to highlight what the quoted article said about it.

If you are looking for a discussion on "Intelligent Design" there are many comments in the current story, and in Kuro5hin.org: Bush administration distorting science to support political agendas story that dissect the ID issue.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

So just what did you provide? (none / 0) (#112)
by Kuranes on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 04:31:13 PM EST

"It just absolutely boggles the mind," said Dr. James Langer, a physicist at the University of California at Santa Barbara who is vice president of the National Academy of Sciences. "I wouldn't want my doctor thinking that intelligent design was an equally plausible hypothesis to evolution any more than I would want my airplane pilot believing in the flat Earth."
Sorry, but I can't see why this is an arguement.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Clarify? (none / 1) (#107)
by kmcrober on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 02:37:53 PM EST

[W]idely accepted Darwinian theory [is dependent on] a weak theory of natural teleology.

That's a questionable claim, to me.  Would you elaborate?

[ Parent ]

Teleology (none / 0) (#111)
by Kuranes on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 04:27:29 PM EST

Most (at least the popular versions) of Darwinian theory have the background assumption that for nature, it is a good thing, or a success for a lifeform to survive (thus "natural selection"). This is a very human concept. If you look at the current DNA discussion, all that talk about the "function" of a certain genome sequence repeats this error. So it's not a very big step from Darwinism to "Intelligent Design"; only in the later one a benevolent Creator is included (some sort of biological Theodicee ;))

Come to think of it, since this theory was devised in the 19th century, the competition model was probably also a good ideology in favor of competitive capitalism. It's not a big surprise that Cognitive Scientists currently "rediscover" market structures as "natural expansions" of our biology.


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
Ok. But... (none / 1) (#117)
by gabban on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 10:56:58 AM EST

could that assumption have anything to with that we're discussing lifeforms and not ... deathforms?

Hard to be a lifeform if you're not alive...

[ Parent ]
I don't get it... (none / 0) (#129)
by thejeff on Tue Mar 02, 2004 at 04:44:08 PM EST

I don't see your objection, or agree with the background assumption.
Evolutionary theory, or specifically "natural selection", doesn't make any good/bad assumptions about survival, or even reproduction. It just says that the lifeforms we see today are descended from ones that were better at surviving, or more accurately reproducing than others, and that those "successful" genes were passed down to those descendants.

It's sloppy, but natural, to talk about that as "good" or "success", but it doesn't change the actual theory. Likewise genome sequence have functions in the descriptive sense that they code for certain things, but nothing more is meant by it.

[ Parent ]

[Web] HTML Version of the UCS Report (none / 3) (#68)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 06:22:47 AM EST

If you are hesitant to download the pdf version of the report from the Union of Concerned Scientists , you can see the HTML version at Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: Bush Administration's Misuse of Science

It has a good navigation to go from one part to another.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

[Article] Misuse of Medical Science (2.66 / 6) (#69)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 06:28:34 AM EST

An article Science Under Attack By The Bush Administration by Arthur A. Levin(dated November & December 2002) describes the Misuse of Science in Medicine.

Excerpts:

... The Administration reportedly wants W. David Hager MD, appointed chair of FDA's important Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. Dr Hager not only recommends that women read biblical scripture to treat their gynecological conditions, but he reportedly doesn't prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women and wants the FDA to ban the abortion pill RU-486.

... Banner's nomination seriously threatens the health of children. Consider this: in his deposition during a lead paint lawsuit brought by Rhode Island against paint maker Sherman Williams, Dr. Banner opined that lead levels ten times current CDC guidelines were safe in children. Never mind that considerable scientific evidence and the overwhelming majority of experts in the field support the CDC guidelines.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

[Article] Misuse of the Internet (none / 1) (#93)
by Skywise on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 11:46:39 AM EST

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/h/hager.htm

Dr. David Hager is a part of the teaching staff of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and has developed a reputation as an expert on gynecologic infections.
This eRumor was circulated before Dr. Hager actually became a member of the committee.
He is now a part of the panel, although he did not become the chairman of it.
He is a conservatively oriented physician and is a speaker and author in the Christian community who describes himself as pro-life.
He objected to this eRumor saying that he does not know who wrote it and that no one had interviewed him for it and that some of it is not accurate.
He says that he does not refuse to prescribe birth control for unmarried patients.
He is an advocate of abstinence but for patients who do not make that choice, he is not opposed to birth control prescription.
He also says that his opposition to RU-486 was based on his concerns about the safety of the drug.
He says RU-486 was approved under an "Accelerated Approval Process" reserved exclusively for anti-AIDS and anti-cancer drugs and an antihypertensive agent.  He says that normally the FDA requires one or more than one randomized, controlled trials before approving a drug, which was not done for RU-486.
He also says that he does not believe that standard birth control pills are abortifacient and has never written it.
He says he co-edited a book that referenced various views about birth control pills but that not all of those views were his own.
Regarding his views of how to deal with stress-related disorders in women, he says "I have always offered a holistic approach to therapy.  I suggest diet/exercise changes, medications as needed, counseling when required, and meditation/prayer."


[ Parent ]

Go to the actual source .. (none / 1) (#96)
by leoaugust on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 12:38:36 PM EST

Read the books and judge for yourself. You think Dr. Hager will say anything different. You can accost anyone in the Bush Administration, and even faced with the evidence, do you think ANYONE will say "Yes, we are misusing science."

Amazon.com: Books: As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now

Amazon.com: Books: Stress and the Woman's Body

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Ah, so... (none / 1) (#99)
by Skywise on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:05:03 PM EST

even faced with the evidence, did I think you would say "Gosh, I was wrong?"

Hmmm... Jesus Cared for Women:  3 reviews.  All 1 star.  All reviews highly rated.  All anti-Bush with little to no discussion of the contents of the book.

Stress and the Woman's Body:  1 review, 4 stars. Review talks about the content.  Review rated low (13 of 42 like the review).

He's not misusing science.  He, himself, said he believes in homeopathic remedies IN ADDITION to science.  Before medical science, many medical conditions were solved via homeopathic remedies.  To that end, it's somewhat understandable that he believes in a spiritual answer to stress and simple depression OVER medication.  He doesn't present it as scientific evidence.

He's a TEACHING doctor at the University of Kentucky and considered an expert at gynelogical infections.  What part of science does he not understand?

Oh, he's republican AND religious.  So he must be a witch-doctor... even in face of the evidence of a smear campaign.

[ Parent ]

the book not the reviews ... (none / 1) (#102)
by leoaugust on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:21:28 PM EST

No, no, no. I didn't mean to ask you to read the reviews. I wanted you to read the books. Then the discussion could be about what he is saying, rather than what others are saying that he is saying ...

Darn, that is the problem with linking to Amazon.com - people just read the reviews ...

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

So I can assume that you've read his books? (nt) (none / 0) (#104)
by Skywise on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:25:04 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Misuse of Medical Science (none / 1) (#100)
by wbr on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:11:14 PM EST

On the topic of possible misuse of medical science, senior medical experts suggested that the results of a recent major medical study supervised by government agency (ALLHAT trial for comparing anti-hypertension drugs), were reported in a way that skewed what was scientifically justifiable, and it seems the skew may have been influenced by representatives of government agency.  (The scientifically supportable conclusion was that all of the three drugs that made it through the trial could not be distinguished for their effectiveness in relation to the primary objective of the trial, but the different conclusion, as announced, was that one of the three, generally the cheapest of the drugs, was preferable.)

[ Parent ]
Union of Crazed Socialists is more like it! (1.00 / 25) (#33)
by sellison on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:13:20 PM EST

this same "union" has said nothing about the concerted attempt by those claiming to be scientists to push the religious belief that Man is related to apes on our children, with the tax dollars of Christians, in public schools we are coerced by law to pay for!

When the UCS demands that evolution be named the guess that it is, when they demand that it be taught alongside if not replaced by the much more logical and more evidence rich Theory of Intelligent Design, then they might have something to say about science.

As it is scientists can't even decide whether the earth is getting hotter or colder, they sure as heck can't say whether Bush's decisions are based on better science than Clinton's!

The real fact is that all science is biased. We have been treated since "Soilent Spring" to leftist theories supported by cherry-picked scence. Now the UCS is upset that the Bush administration is correcting the more extreme examples of leftward biased science, and bringing us closer to a balanced view of the world.

The only one who knows the Truth, is God, scientists of all stripes would do to be more humble, and check their theories against the book He gave us, wherin all truths are revealed.

(You liberals just keep on trying to censor my opinions, just like the leftist scientists have for so long tried to censor any science that didn't fit with their political pogram against Christianity. Shows you what liberals like these wackos from teh UCS do when they have a little power, they censor, they suppress, they try to make opposing views disapear.

The Bush administration is the first in years to listen to the other side of the science, and that is what has all the lelftie pHds in such a grand tizzy!)

"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

what the fuck is this? Trolling 101? (none / 1) (#36)
by Nigga on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:44:05 PM EST

c'mon can't we get something less tired than this shit? If you're gonna troll, you best step provokative nigga.

--------
The fuck happened to Nigga?
[ Parent ]

Many Christian Churchs sponsor programs (none / 2) (#39)
by sellison on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:15:53 PM EST

where you can learn to read and write for free.

I suggest you head over to one of them soon.

God will help you get out of your rut and learn other solutions your problems, ones that are more productive for both you and society than blaming the "man".

"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 ]

If you are so against science ... (none / 0) (#37)
by wastl on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:57:14 PM EST

... please stop using a computer. You know, if scientists would have thought like you want them to think, there would never have been computers. The world would still be flat, America not discovered, only monks could read and write, democracy would not exist (it is, after all, un-christian), etc ...

Sebastian

[ Parent ]

I'm not against science at all (none / 2) (#41)
by sellison on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 07:24:07 PM EST

just like my fellows in the Bush administration, I think science is much too important to be made a tool of the leftists.

So I'm against leftists like the UCS who use science to further their political beliefs.

Science itself is fine, and there are great scientists like Michael Behe and William Demski, who have seen their careers destroyed because their research has discovered that the scientific truth of evolution is much different from the fantasies being pushed as science by the atheists who have taken over so many scientific institutions.

"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 ]

Stupid scientists. (1.08 / 12) (#34)
by Liger Zero on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 05:14:54 PM EST

If they don't want their findings distorted by politicians, they shouldn't be getting involved in politics.

Facts? Where? (1.41 / 12) (#46)
by jasonthomasfrance on Sat Feb 21, 2004 at 08:52:46 PM EST

Now, granted I didn't read the linked report.  Only your snippets.  But...  Where are your facts?

"Scientists no longer have the freedom of inquiry" ??  Really, then scientists can't be scientists?  I'm pretty sure nobody is at their lab door saying: "Now, stop messing with that...  Or else.  I'm from GW.  I'm warning you.  Put down that monkey!!"

In Part I you don't list any reports that were suppressed.  "There is strong documentation"  Where?  In the report you linked?  Or just floating around on the internet?

In Part II you hammer the admission process.  Well, there is strong documentation to support the GW appoints people differently.  He "gets to know them" and does not rely on their resume.  So?  In fact, in a new book published by someone dismissed (or they left the administration) they say time and time again that Bush just talks to people.  He doesn't seem to want to talk technical.  He wants to "chat" and ask questions about there lives.

Sounds fine by me.  Getting to know "the person" behind the work is important too.  But even that is one sided.  How do we know that he doesn't sit around late at night poring over their reports and resume trying to decide?  And it's the talks with them that help?  Hmm?

In Part III you again state things were suppressed.  Like what?  Where are you examples of reports?  Like Report A mention 1, 2, 3.  But the Bush displayed it with only parts 2 & 3!!

Okay, so are you just telling us about the report's highlights?  That's it?  Well, thanks for linking to it...  I guess instead of reading your snippets I'll jump right to the report...

Please do jump to the report ... (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 02:05:22 AM EST

Okay, so are you just telling us about the report's highlights?  That's it?  Well, thanks for linking to it...  I guess instead of reading your snippets I'll jump right to the report...

Yes, the UCS report does catalog the major examples of the misdeeds that you are looking for. The intention of this article was to get more people to read the actual report whose intensity and alarm can only be appreciated in their own words.

Also do a search on Google on "Bush Science" (misuse, distortion, etc. are optional keywords) and you will see more examples to support the conclusions drawn in the report.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Personal/Professional lives (none / 3) (#75)
by Handyman on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 07:30:44 PM EST

In fact, in a new book published by someone dismissed (or they left the administration) they say time and time again that Bush just talks to people.  He doesn't seem to want to talk technical.  He wants to "chat" and ask questions about there lives.

Sounds fine by me.  Getting to know "the person" behind the work is important too.

Not to start a flame war, but no, it really isn't. The quality of a man's work and that of his social interactions are, if anything, often inversely proportional.

Take, for example, Isaac Newton. Newton was not a very likable person, and he did not get along well with other people. Does that mean that President Bush would, if given the opportunity, reject Newton's Calculus because Newton himself was not very sociable?

--
Never be afraid to be the first one on the dance floor.
[ Parent ]

Freedom of inquiry (none / 2) (#90)
by Valdrax on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 10:35:19 AM EST

"Scientists no longer have the freedom of inquiry" ??  Really, then scientists can't be scientists?  I'm pretty sure nobody is at their lab door saying: "Now, stop messing with that...  Or else.  I'm from GW.  I'm warning you.  Put down that monkey!!"

What it means is that they are no longer free to research whatever they want on federal research grants.  If their research would be uncomfortible to the administration, then their funding gets pulled unless they doctor their results to be favorable.  Try researching anything important without money.  The federal government used to give out grants to researchers solely based on the scientific merit of their proposal instead of the political merit thereof.

[ Parent ]

Stem Cell research for starters, and Marijuana (none / 0) (#110)
by mmuskratt on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 03:43:25 PM EST

cloning technology, alternative energy sources (oh, wait, we're looking into hydrogen fuel cells, he promised us that in his state of the union once)... Bush's religious fundamentalist view of stem cell research limits freedom of inquiry. As does his blanket stance on cloning. As does his (and previous administrations, granted) use of the Drug War to misinform or misrepresent the scientific findings related to illicit drugs.

[ Parent ]
Yeah yeah. (1.57 / 7) (#48)
by Armada on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 12:43:45 AM EST

Only on K5 can you have someone accuse Bush of being too much like his father and another accuse Bush of being too little like his father, and yet both draw the exact same conclusions.

Yes but consider that (none / 0) (#109)
by vyruss on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 03:13:05 PM EST

he's too much like the bad bits of his father and too much unlike his father's good bits.

  • PRINT CHR$(147)

[ Parent ]
Nothing to see here, move along... (1.10 / 20) (#51)
by trimethyl on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 01:50:35 AM EST

by the distortion of scientific process, addition and deletion of facts that manage to distort conclusions, detrimental influence of campaign donors to the federal bodies that are supposed to stand up for the public, subjection of scientists not to peers but to people without sufficient credentials, use of bogus science to justify the Iraq war, and injection of bogus facts into controversial issues like teen pregnancy.

As if this is any different from what creation scientists, evolutionary biologists, and atheists have been doing for years? Evolution, at least in its early form, has already been thoroughly debunked. The early theories were an embarassment to science - they weren't testable, contained numerous logical flaws, and just didn't make sense.

Perhaps the President is trying to keep political agendas from influencing science? When it comes down to it, science doesn't prove anything. It has been wrong more often than not, and even the most unscrupulous scientists will admit that our best theories are tentative explanations at best.

Yet lawmakers have the tendency to treat science as Gospel truth, and Bush knows this. In light of the fickle nature of scientific opinion, it isn't wise to make decisions affecting the lives and employment of millions of people on advice that is at best, only possibly correct.

Bush isn't as stupid as some would like to believe. He understands that politicians often parade as scientists for the sake of pushing a political agenda. Science really lost its credibility when it started addressing political, rather than purely scientific, issues.



Wow, tell us more (none / 3) (#53)
by leoaugust on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 02:14:08 AM EST

Science really lost its credibility when it started addressing political, rather than purely scientific, issues.

Wow, this is a bombshell. Could you tell us more. Perhaps some mainstream examples, not fringe conspiracies.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Well, (none / 2) (#78)
by rodgerd on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 07:48:55 PM EST

...while I generally think the parent you're replying to is worthless, he does have a point here.  Think of the huge damage done to the credibility of scientists in the mind of the public when paid corporate shills have stood up to say, "Why no, smoking has no harmful effects", for example, knowing it simply isn't true.

Now, on the one hand, those people are not really scientists, in as much as they've discarded the scientific method in favour of saying (and finding) what they're paid to.  But sadly, in the minds of the general public, corporate scientist willing to "find" whatever their masters want for PR and legal purposes have eroded the credibilityof actual scientists.

[ Parent ]

Not just corporate shills (none / 2) (#124)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:30:17 PM EST

For instance, look at what happaned with the whole second hand smoke fiasco. Researchers fabricating evidence because they wanted and expected second hand smoke to be more dangerous then the facts actualy showed it to be.... or the FDA lowering the threshold of what it takes to be considered a carcinogen (by something like 75% if I recall) for second hand smoke only, just so they could classify it as a carcinogen.

It would be well to remember that corporations aren't the only special interest groups who have doctored up science in order to promote a specific agenda.

[ Parent ]

Creation 'Scientists'? (2.75 / 8) (#57)
by Nipsu on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 04:07:42 AM EST

From the scandinavian viewpoint it's starting to look like as if the Fundamentalist Iran and the Fundamentalist U.S.A. differ only by their religion.

[ Parent ]
A Little Unfair (none / 3) (#88)
by Valdrax on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 10:08:06 AM EST

The difference between us and Iran is whether or not the fundamentalist wackos are on the fringe or entrenched in the highest offices in our governm...

Well, #$%*.

[ Parent ]

LOL =) (none / 0) (#89)
by Nipsu on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 10:29:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Cool, evolution debunked (none / 2) (#58)
by SlashDread on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:10:22 AM EST

I always thought evolution was crap, I mean, come'on, monkeys?!?

"/Dread"

[ Parent ]

no, it will LOSE its credibility... (2.75 / 4) (#70)
by mikelist on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 06:58:46 AM EST

...if it doesn't recommend actions based on its findings, or perhaps more accurately,give the populace some idea how to mitigate or exploit those findings. This is your 'political' dynamic. The original theory of evolution was not penned by Darwin, it has NOT been debunked, merely made more fine grained, which has pointed out some blanket errors along the way. Any advance in research is likely to refute 'some' earlier results or analyses. The scientific view of evolution, like it or not, is a physical description of how we came to be the dominant mammal. The rest of your scathing expert testimony on the foolhardiness of science, is similar tripe and bellywash. BTW, George DOES know about industry advocates who pose as scientists, and makes very efficient use of that knowledge.

[ Parent ]
Sigh (2.85 / 7) (#74)
by Zork the Almighty on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 05:38:27 PM EST

Yet another "science doesn't prove anything" retort. Science may not give us immutable, absolute truth, but it does produce correct answers. I don't see Newton's theory being totally refuted, it still applies to the conditions for which it was formulated. You seem to demand absolute certainty about your ideas. I would suggest that there is a relation between certainty and correctness somewhat akin to Heisenburg's principle. You can be entirely certain of something, but don't expect to also be correct. The converse seems to hold also.

[ Parent ]
One point... (none / 2) (#91)
by trimethyl on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 10:38:12 AM EST

You seem to demand absolute certainty about your ideas..

Well, GWB didn't demand absolute certainty about the existence of WMD's in Iraq, and look where that got him.... Perhaps he wants to avoid another embarassment?

There probably exists a substantial portion of Congress unable to understand the difference between a tentative, best-explanation-given-the-facts scientific theory, and a well established law of science. Some fields, such as the environmental sciences, have simply not been around long enough to give the same degree of certainty that is possessed by the familiar basic physical laws... And Congress makes life and death decisions.



[ Parent ]
He was absolutely certain... (none / 2) (#108)
by dwhitman on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 03:10:39 PM EST

Well, GWB didn't demand absolute certainty about the existence of WMD's in Iraq, and look where that got him.... Perhaps he wants to avoid another embarassment?

Actually, Bush asserted that he had absolute certainty about the existence of WMD's in Iraq. He was just either mistaken or lying.

[ Parent ]

Interesting (2.62 / 8) (#84)
by fenix down on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 12:04:58 AM EST

I mean this whole anti-rennaisance thing we've had in the last ~10 years.  I mean, normally I'd assume this is a troll, since somebody who's honestly operating under this whole Wahabiist "revelation over experimentation" policy should never be able to function in modern society, but in the past few years I've actually met people in real life who work this way.

My boy Sellison pretty much makes my point satirically down there aways.

The only one who knows the Truth, is God, scientists of all stripes would do to be more humble...

That actually used to be a valid point, back in pre-Christian times, even without bringing up God.  People used to fear knowledge.  And I mean really fear the knowledge itself, I don't mean the residual cultural bias against "things man was not meant to know" like in Frankenstein.  You have Trees of Knowledge, Towers of Babel, it's not some religious conspiracy to keep you dumb, it's genuine concern from 5000 years ago.  You look at Judaism now and it's all about learning shit, but if you go back far enough to get to where Rabbis are doing magic and crap, then you run into things right and left where learning certain bits of information will trigger the Apocolypse, kill your wife, make your head explode, whatever.

Besides that, there's a bias against learning things yourself.  Even more recently, (A.D. in some places) you have people who trust information they copied from somebody else over something they verified themselves.  Revelation over experimentation.  You don't even have to learn it from God, it's enough to know that science doesn't "prove" anything.  You did it yourself, you know how many places you might have screwed up.  So when a traveling madman shows up who provides nothing on his methods you figure, "hey, he only maybe has places where he might have screwed up" and suddenly "the monkey-demon ate your seeds" trumps "the soil's too acidic".

It feels like something in our society (world society, not just US) is actually encouraging this kind of pre-logical thought, because you really do see way, way more of this from everywhere then you did even 5 years ago.

[ Parent ]

Sociological shift... (none / 1) (#103)
by Skywise on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:24:22 PM EST

You almost get the sense that its biological in nature...

That makes a bit of sense... Consider that you're always going to trust experience over experimentation.

Eventually, as you get old enough, your brain forms the general axiom:  New, unknown, events have a 50-50 chance of failure.

So, statistically, you have a better chance of relying on your and trusted others' experiences (copied data) over figuring it out yourself.

Science, while bringing great technological strides and solving many medical conditions... Still hasn't solved the basic human problems such as poverty, famine and war.  There are many on here who want to blame religion for these problems... implying that they block the scientific application of solutions to the political/religious arena.  (Oh, if only we were all Vulcan...or maybe Spartan...)  In reality, humans don't want to be bound.  We want the freedom to make mistakes.  So you have this cyclical nature of indepedenance and discovery, followed by running to the comfort of tradition when things get to overwhelming, then back to discovery when we work up the courage again.

What we as humans HAVE managed to do over the last several hundred years, is to minimize the magnitude of the cycle.

The reason you're taught NOT to think for yourself (IE memorization over learning how to think), is to protect society.  You're educated (engineered?) to "fit" society, not to grow beyond it.

[ Parent ]

Define "purely scientifical issue" (none / 0) (#98)
by Kuranes on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 12:50:41 PM EST

You know, like, enlightenment was also a political project, right?


Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot.
[ Parent ]
What (none / 1) (#115)
by Cackmobile on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 07:01:45 AM EST

Evolution, at least in its early form, has already been thoroughly debunked

So origin of the species has been debunked. Evolution has been pretty much shown to be 100% correct.

[ Parent ]
Science is all just made up? (none / 1) (#121)
by flg72 on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 08:22:53 AM EST

Well we all know that the bible was not just made up? I think it is actually. So things like Thermodynamics - just a random guess - only that it happened to be spot on so that we could work out how to create a car engine by compressing the fuel with air and igniting it to make efficient enough to be practical. Or relativity - another good random guess, that happened to allow us to make use of nuclear fission and fusion by converting mass directly to energy. Any scientist will admit these theory's are approximations, but science putting a figure on the age of the earth of 4 billion years rather than 4000 years with the bible is far more acurate than yours or nayone elses religion has come up with. Your clearly a biggoted religious twat, ignorant of the true nature of the world around them. I know though that there will always be people like you, but thankfully your children will probably shake of your brainwashing and wake up to the truth, hopefully to let you die lonely in your old age. Nice.

[ Parent ]
An interesting new twist (none / 1) (#83)
by thankyougustad on Sun Feb 22, 2004 at 11:57:44 PM EST

This article made me think immdeaditly of kuro5shin: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1521&e=1&u=/afp/brit ain_us_environment

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

The details from the article .... (none / 1) (#92)
by leoaugust on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 11:39:14 AM EST

Here, for the record, are excerpts of the article you mention ...

Yahoo! News - Leaked Pentagon report warns climate change may bring famine, war: report
Feburary 22, 2004

A secret report prepared by the Pentagon warns that climate change may lead to global catastrophe costing millions of lives and is a far greater threat than terrorism.

The report was ordered by an influential US Pentagon advisor but was covered up by "US defense chiefs" for four months, until it was "obtained" by the British weekly The Observer. The person behind the leaked Pentagon report, Andrew Marsall, cannot be accused of the same partisan politicking. Marsall, 82, has been an advisor for the defense department for decades, and was described by The Observer as the author of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's plans for a major transformation of the US military.

The Pentagon report, commissioned by Andrew Marshall, predicts that "abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies," The Observer reported.

The report, quoted in the paper, concluded: "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.... Once again, warfare would define human life."

Its authors -- Peter Schwartz, a CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of Global Business Network based in California -- said climate change should be considered "immediately" as a top political and military issue. It "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern", they were quoted as saying. Randall, one of the authors, called his findings "depressing stuff" and warned that it might even be too late to prevent future disasters.

Experts familiar with the report told the newspaper that the threat to global stability "vastly eclipses that of terrorism". Taking environmental pollution and climate change into account in political and military strategy is a new, complicated and necessary challenge for leaders, Randall said. "It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat," he said.

Some examples given of probable scenarios in the dramatic report include:


  • Britain will have winters similar to those in current-day Siberia as European temperatures drop off radically by 2020.
  • by 2007 violent storms will make large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable and lead to a breach in the acqueduct system in California that supplies all water to densely populated southern California
  • Europe and the United States become "virtual fortresses" trying to keep out millions of migrants whose homelands have been wiped out by rising sea levels or made unfarmable by drought.
  • "catastrophic" shortages of potable water and energy will lead to widespread war by 2020.


The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]
The Link below (none / 1) (#87)
by brain in a jar on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 07:25:01 AM EST

Leaked pentagon report describes climate change dangers.


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.

[Article] Bush Admin - Spinning a Bad Med Report (2.75 / 4) (#105)
by leoaugust on Mon Feb 23, 2004 at 01:39:39 PM EST

There is an article in the New York Times (Feburary 22, 2004) by Robert Pear that shows how spin works. Taking Spin Out of Report That Made Bad Into Good Health

Excerpts:

The Bush administration says it improperly altered a report documenting large racial and ethnic disparities in health care, but it will soon publish the full, unexpurgated document. "There was a mistake made," Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, told Congress last week. "It's going to be rectified." Mr. Thompson said that "some individuals took it upon themselves" to make the report sound more positive than was justified by the data.

The theme of the original report was that members of minorities "tend to be in poorer health than other Americans" and that "disparities are pervasive in our health care system," contributing to higher rates of disease and disability.

By contrast, the final report has an upbeat tone, beginning, "The overall health of Americans has improved dramatically over the last century."

A close reading of the evolving report shows that some entries in statistical tables were deleted from the final version.

Prof. M. Gregg Bloche of Georgetown University, a member of the committee, said: "The administration's report does not fabricate data, but misrepresents the findings. It submerges evidence of profound disparities in an optimistic message about the overall excellence of the health care system."

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.

The Bushawol gang are in denial (none / 3) (#116)
by Ksec on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 07:56:01 AM EST

You cant defend a charge like this. A whole trainload of respected scientists show us what and how he distorts real science to fit his political agenda and then these RWers go into denial mode and try to excuse what he does . Shame on you for letting your politics get in the way of your credibility. Shame on you .

My problem with the report (none / 2) (#123)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Feb 27, 2004 at 04:12:55 PM EST

My basic problem with the report is that it relies on appeal to authority syndrome.

It essentialy boils down to saying "Bush Administration experts say X which contradict respected scientific consensus which says Y. Therefore views represented by the Administration experts are clearly politicaly motivated and wrong."

Big Problem, the report never provides us with the raw data which "Respected Scientific Consensus" and the Administration experts use to base thier differing views on. It simply relies on the fact that the opinions of the "respected scientists" must be the factualy correct views just because they are held by "respected scientists" while the opinions represented by the Administration must be factualy incorrect because they are held by "fringe scientists", "non-scientists" and "industry insiders".

That kind of appeal to self-referential authority simply doesn't cut it. It's bad science, one should expect better from a body which purports to represent concerned scientists. The report itself essentialy engages in much the same sort of practices that it decries the Bush Administration for. In other words it comes off as a political hack job not a legitimate critique.

That is not to say that the report might not be accurate. It MAY well be, the problem is that I can't tell because it doesn't present any of the RAW data on which the opinions of the scientists who disagree with the Administration are based...it merely presents the opinions themselves and expects us to accept them by fiat.

Being in a techincal field myself, I know how much utter crap gets accepted as gospel fact  simply because it is stated by some-one with alot of letters behind thier name. I also know how "consensus" can get manufactured among "experts" based upon factors that are completely tangential to the reliability of the data or theories in question.

[ Parent ]

simple mental exercise.. (none / 2) (#118)
by Nipsu on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 11:07:56 AM EST

Scenario from the near future: (A little OT)

A small asteroid is found that is going to hit earth within one year. The location it's going to hit is central africa. A plan to destroy the asteroid is developed (involving nukes) but before it's put to action the U.S. goverment comes up with a research that says it's too dangerous to go ahead.

The report describes that the risk caused by the nukes is too high and that it's better for the mankind to let the asteroid hit - after all it's only africa and those people can get a place to stay from somewhere else.

Meanwhile the fundamentalistic christians in U.S.A think that it's the will of the GOD to destroy africa for it's sins and it's sinful to even try to prevent that from happening.

The mental exercise is this:
What if the asteroid hit location was central U.S.A? Would it still be sinful to try to prevent hit from happening.. Would it still be too risky to use nukes..

P.S.
Excuse my english..

Strawman (none / 0) (#128)
by ajs on Tue Mar 02, 2004 at 08:26:08 AM EST

You have constructed a fine example of a strawman, but that's all it is. Don't invent your own bone-headed theories, there are just too many good bone-headed theories out there to start with.
-- Aaron Sherman <ajs@ajs.com>
[ Parent ]
Sooo... (none / 1) (#119)
by ShiftyStoner on Tue Feb 24, 2004 at 10:40:23 PM EST

 Bush is actively dooming the world. Whats new?
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
Thank $DEITY he's not like Clinton (none / 3) (#120)
by weirdling on Wed Feb 25, 2004 at 12:56:26 PM EST

Oh, wait, Clinton did all that, too.

I've got a news flash: if you use government sources for your scientific enquiry, you're going to be hosed.

Besides, the report, itself, is crap:

<quote>
The report calls for immediate action. To call for something like this, in defiance of the Whitehouse, especially in an election year, shows that that the authors and endorsers of the report have either gone nuts to take on the President, or they feel so strongly about it that they believe immediate action must be taken to avoid the impending disasters if the current road is not changed.
</quote>

Yeah, right.  Did anyone bother to check the affilliation of the writers of this report?  Sounds like sour grapes to me: 'honest, we're looking out for the country.  Please, oh please, don't elect Bush who will skew facts to rightist wishes; elect a Democrat who will skew facts to his favorite position'.

Under Clinton, the gravest frauds were perpetrated, many of them now considered gospel truth by the idiots^H^H^H^H^H^Hexperts who write reports like this.  Nevermind that not only is the opposition persecuted in exactly the same manner the report denigrates, the gospel itself is based on bad science, which is not allowed to be questioned.
I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.

The bais to elections is completely yours. (none / 2) (#122)
by leoaugust on Thu Feb 26, 2004 at 09:34:47 AM EST

Please, oh please, don't elect Bush who will skew facts to rightist wishes; elect a Democrat who will skew facts to his favorite position'.

Nobody, and nothing in the report said anything about Bush's election, or whether he should be re-elected to not. Read it again, for the first time.

All they are telling Bush is to stop corrupting the scientific advice and scientific process, and do it NOW. But it seems Bush and his Administration aren't listening, that is why they are asking for help from the public, scientists, and the Congress. If someone else in the Whitehouse had been doing the same misuse of science, I don't think the report would have been any different.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[ Parent ]

Its a long road to the abuse of science (none / 2) (#125)
by turtleshadow on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 12:38:12 AM EST

To infer that Science can be misused is the weaker argument than say.
A politican abused his power over the particular scientific community in question and they are angry.
A politician misrepresented, misconstrued, or ignored the facts as investigated and documented by the scientific community in order to improve that politicians political objectives.

For an excellent diagnosis of the situation read "The Technological Society" by Jacues Ellul and "Technopoly" by Neil Postman
Scientists are just another pawn in the political landscape. Their posturing about being ignored and abused for someone elses political gain is reminicent to social cause leaders of days gone by.

To document that a single administration has such power for stearing the "misuse of Science" is utterly absurd.
This has been occuring for quite some time -- as in before since scientific method was founded.
The call to action for Congress to apply pressure is ironic as Legislators have a more frequent need for scientific study AND means to pay for enabling factual and valid legislation, than the executive branch who enforces the laws, treaties, etc. I say that with the Congress is the bed in which Science truely becomes a whore to political interests. Anyone that's written and responded to grant proposals knows this.

The POTUS has every right to hand pick advisors based on how the POTUS believes they are beneficial to the executive process and the issues involved.
Presidential Advisors are not elected nor appointed by Congress. If the President is making error in appointing advisors, the People and Electorial College made an error in the election of the President.

The argument by credentials in Part II that a PHd is better qualitfied to govern or advise than a seasoned community leader or concerned citizen is to be Academically Elitist and wrong. To do otherwise is to be willing to support a Dr. Strangelove mentality of rule. It doesn't take genuis to advise Nukes are horrible weapons and shouldn't ever be used. However it takes a skilled confidant to work with the POTUS to determine what level to restrict stem cell research.

Unrestricted science is not a good idea for any society -- despite that the scientists say it will lead to new discoveries. Discoveries are neither good nor bad but have a continum of social costs from postive to negative thats where the advisor earns his/her keep.
The strangest thing about this report is the end conclusion of the report. That Science did not offer a "We can build a better President" statement was thankfully not there. The revelation from the scientific community it's the social puzzle is refreshing.

[News] Bush Replaces Advisers on Medical Issues (none / 2) (#126)
by leoaugust on Sat Feb 28, 2004 at 01:40:57 AM EST

Yahoo! News - Bush Replaces Advisers on Cloning, Medical Issues
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
Feburary  27, 2004

Excerpts:

President Bush reshuffled his advisory council on cloning and related medical issues on Friday, adding a prominent neurosurgeon known for his work on conjoined twins and two conservatives who have spoken out strongly against cloning.

He replaced one of the most prominent scientists on his Council on Bioethics, cell biology expert Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California San Francisco. The Australian- born Blackburn has spoken in favor of so-called therapeutic cloning in which cloning technology is used for medical and biological research.

He also replaced William May, a prominent Christian bioethicist and a former president of the American Academy of Religion, now at the University of Virginia.

The new members of the panel are Dr. Benjamin Carson of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a pediatric neurologist; Peter Lawler, a government professor at Berry College in George; and Diana Schaub, a political scientist at Loyola College of Maryland.

A White House spokeswoman said Blackburn's and May's terms had expired. "We decided to appoint other individuals at this point with different experience and expertise," she said.

But supporters of therapeutic cloning said they were stunned by the move and said it showed the White House was not interested in hearing neutral scientific advice.

"The American people deserve the right science, not right-wing ideology, on critical issues facing their health," Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Democrat, said in a statement.

"By firing two of the committee's most distinguished members, the administration is choosing once again the most divisive and ideological course, instead of seeking consensus."

FRIDAY NIGHT DECISIONS

Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research and president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research, also expressed reservations.

"We are concerned with this sort of Friday night late decision to replace what we know is at least one of the stronger voices on behalf of moving the research forward and replacing her with what appear to be more ideological soulmates who would reflexively oppose this research," Perry said in a telephone interview.


The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.
[Article] 2 of Bush's science advisers say (none / 1) (#130)
by leoaugust on Sat Mar 06, 2004 at 11:05:34 AM EST

2 of Bush's science advisers say their board distorted facts / Report criticized for ignoring stem cell research
Gareth Cook, Boston Globe
March 06, 2004

Two scientists from President Bush's top advisory board on cutting- edge medical research published a detailed criticism Friday of the board's own reports, and said the board skewed scientific facts in service of a political and ideological cause.

The authors -- one is a member of the president's Council on Bioethics and the other a renowned UCSF biologist fired from the council last week -- have accused the council's chairman, Leon Kass, of ignoring their scientific advice and refusing to include in the board's last report some information that would challenge Bush's restrictions on stem cell research.

Their allegations mark the sharpest public split yet within the council, formed in 2001 to guide U.S. policy through the increasingly difficult ethical terrain of such fields as cloning, in-vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem- cell research.

The authors of the critique published Friday were two of only three full- time scientists on the council. They said the council's last report, "Monitoring Stem Cell Research," did not make clear that a wave of recent scientific research has cast doubt on the potential of adult stem cells -- a type of cell that Bush held up as a promising alternative when he announced his restrictions on the use of embryonic cells.

Although the council is supposed to provide impartial advice to Bush, one of the scientists said Friday that its reports seemed to be driven by a preexisting agenda and did not accurately portray the scientific underpinnings of the ethical issues the council was grappling with.

"There is always this strong implication (in the reports) that medical research is not what God intended, that there is something unnatural about it, " said Elizabeth Blackburn, a UCSF biologist who was fired from the panel last Friday. "We had a great many comments on the report, and they would just make little changes that didn't fully address them."

A spokesperson for Kass said that he had no comment on the allegations and that the scientific comments of Blackburn and Janet Rowley, a University of Chicago biologist who co-wrote the critique, are adequately represented in the council's reports.

Their critique was published online Friday by the journal PLoS Biology. It adds to growing criticism from scientists that the Bush administration is manipulating the scientific advice it receives on politically charged issues, ranging from climate change to mercury contamination.

The critique published Friday focuses on two council reports, "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness," issued in October, and "Monitoring Stem Cell Research," issued in January.

The two scientists' critique alleges that the "Beyond Therapy" report unfairly characterizes research into prolonging healthy life as being dominated by scientists who are driven by the goal of immortality. The report, they write, "falls short of explaining the serious challenge of preventing and curing age-related disease to extend health -- very different from attempting immortality."

Blackburn said that she had submitted a letter to the journal Science, outlining the problems with that report, but that Kass ordered her to withdraw the letter, which she did.

In another section of their critique, Blackburn and Rowley list a series of problems with the stem cell report. The cumulative effect of the problems, Blackburn said, is to overstate the current research promise of adult stem cells and play down the potential of embryonic stem cells, which are created by destroying a human embryo.

To its critics, embryonic stem-cell research amounts to taking a human life -- an objection that does not apply to the adult cells, which can be extracted from a person's body without harm.

.
The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.

[Article] 2 of Bush's science advisers say (none / 0) (#131)
by leoaugust on Sat Mar 06, 2004 at 11:08:39 AM EST

2 of Bush's science advisers say their board distorted facts / Report criticized for ignoring stem cell research
Gareth Cook, Boston Globe
March 06, 2004

Two scientists from President Bush's top advisory board on cutting- edge medical research published a detailed criticism Friday of the board's own reports, and said the board skewed scientific facts in service of a political and ideological cause.

The authors -- one is a member of the president's Council on Bioethics and the other a renowned UCSF biologist fired from the council last week -- have accused the council's chairman, Leon Kass, of ignoring their scientific advice and refusing to include in the board's last report some information that would challenge Bush's restrictions on stem cell research.

Their allegations mark the sharpest public split yet within the council, formed in 2001 to guide U.S. policy through the increasingly difficult ethical terrain of such fields as cloning, in-vitro fertilization, and embryonic stem- cell research.

The authors of the critique published Friday were two of only three full- time scientists on the council. They said the council's last report, "Monitoring Stem Cell Research," did not make clear that a wave of recent scientific research has cast doubt on the potential of adult stem cells -- a type of cell that Bush held up as a promising alternative when he announced his restrictions on the use of embryonic cells.

Although the council is supposed to provide impartial advice to Bush, one of the scientists said Friday that its reports seemed to be driven by a preexisting agenda and did not accurately portray the scientific underpinnings of the ethical issues the council was grappling with.

"There is always this strong implication (in the reports) that medical research is not what God intended, that there is something unnatural about it, " said Elizabeth Blackburn, a UCSF biologist who was fired from the panel last Friday. "We had a great many comments on the report, and they would just make little changes that didn't fully address them."

A spokesperson for Kass said that he had no comment on the allegations and that the scientific comments of Blackburn and Janet Rowley, a University of Chicago biologist who co-wrote the critique, are adequately represented in the council's reports.

Their critique was published online Friday by the journal PLoS Biology. It adds to growing criticism from scientists that the Bush administration is manipulating the scientific advice it receives on politically charged issues, ranging from climate change to mercury contamination.

The critique published Friday focuses on two council reports, "Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness," issued in October, and "Monitoring Stem Cell Research," issued in January.

The two scientists' critique alleges that the "Beyond Therapy" report unfairly characterizes research into prolonging healthy life as being dominated by scientists who are driven by the goal of immortality. The report, they write, "falls short of explaining the serious challenge of preventing and curing age-related disease to extend health -- very different from attempting immortality."

Blackburn said that she had submitted a letter to the journal Science, outlining the problems with that report, but that Kass ordered her to withdraw the letter, which she did.

In another section of their critique, Blackburn and Rowley list a series of problems with the stem cell report. The cumulative effect of the problems, Blackburn said, is to overstate the current research promise of adult stem cells and play down the potential of embryonic stem cells, which are created by destroying a human embryo.

To its critics, embryonic stem-cell research amounts to taking a human life -- an objection that does not apply to the adult cells, which can be extracted from a person's body without harm.

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The eyes cannot see what the mind cannot see.

Report: An Investigation into the Bush Administration's Misuse of Science | 131 comments (118 topical, 13 editorial, 4 hidden)
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