Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Bush and Science Have a look at this news brief from the editors of Scientific American. It addresses the repeated instances of the Bush administration's abuse of science:


In February his White House received failing marks in a statement signed by 62 leading scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, 19 recipients of the National Medal of Science, and advisers to the Eisenhower and Nixon administrations. It begins, "Successful application of science has played a large part in the policies that have made the United States of America the world's most powerful nation and its citizens increasingly prosperous and healthy. Although scientific input to the government is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should always be weighed from an objective and impartial perspective to avoid perilous consequences.... The administration of George W. Bush has, however, disregarded this principle."


The editors go on to provide several examples:


Doubters of that judgment should read the report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) that accompanies the statement, "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making" (available at www.ucsusa.org). Among the affronts that it details: The administration misrepresented the findings of the National Academy of Sciences and other experts on climate change. It meddled with the discussion of climate change in an Environmental Protection Agency report until the EPA eliminated that section. It suppressed another EPA study that showed that the administration's proposed Clear Skies Act would do less than current law to reduce air pollution and mercury contamination of fish. It even dropped independent scientists from advisory committees on lead poisoning and drug abuse in favor of ones with ties to industry.

Let us offer more examples of our own. The Department of Health and Human Services deleted information from its Web sites that runs contrary to the president's preference for "abstinence only" sex education programs. The Office of Foreign Assets Control made it much more difficult for anyone from "hostile nations" to be published in the U.S., so some scientific journals will no longer consider submissions from them. The Office of Management and Budget has proposed overhauling peer review for funding of science that bears on environmental and health regulations--in effect, industry scientists would get to approve what research is conducted by the EPA.


As many recent examples make clear, the truth counts for nothing with the present administration and its fawning, talk-radio lickspittles. These are the same people who, just a few short years ago, told us that Bill Clinton's lies about his sexual affairs constituted impeachable offenses.

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