T Nation

Why is this no surprise?

The only thing I’m not sure of is if they’re “deliberately” distorting science, or if they just don’t understand it. Maybe they just don’t trust “those” guys. You know, like … all them there physicists, mathematicians and other smarty-pants guys.

Scientists Accuse White House of Distorting Facts

Published: February 18, 2004

The Bush administration has deliberately and systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad, a group of about 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement issued today.

The sweeping charges were later discussed in a conference call with some of the scientists that was organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization that focuses on technical issues and has often taken stands at odds with administration policy. The organization also issued a 37-page report today that it said detailed the accusations.

Together, the two documents accuse the administration of repeatedly censoring and suppressing reports by its own scientists, stacking advisory committees with unqualified political appointees, disbanding government panels that provide unwanted advice, and refusing to seek any independent scientific expertise in some cases.

“Other administrations have, on occasion, engaged in such practices, but not so systematically nor on so wide a front,” the statement from the scientists said, adding that they believed the administration had “misrepresented scientific knowledge and misled the public about the implications of its policies.”

A White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said today he had not seen the text of the scientists’ accusations. “But I can assure you that this is an administration that makes decisions based on the best available science,” he said.

Dr. Kurt Gottfried, an emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University who signed the statement and spoke in the conference call, said the administration had “engaged in practices that are in conflict with the spirit of science and the scientific method.” Dr. Gottfried asserted that what he called “the cavalier attitude toward science” could place at risk the basis for the nation’s long-term prosperity, health and military prowess.

The scientists denied that they had political motives in releasing the documents as the 2004 presidential race began to take clear shape, a day after Senator John Kerry won the Wisconsin Democratic primary and solidified his position as President Bush’s likely opponent in the fall. The organization’s report, Dr. Gottfried said, had taken a year to prepare ? much longer than originally planned ? and had been released as soon as it was ready.

“I don’t see it as a partisan issue at all,” said Russell Train, who served as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford, and who spoke in the conference call in support of the statement. “If it becomes that way I think it’s because the White House chooses to make it a partisan issue,” Mr. Train said.

Yeah, but as was noted at The New Republic site:

“This new study from the National Research Council, a division of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that while air pollution is declining, the reduction could be accelerated by a “multi-state, multi-pollutant” approach that sets broad overall reduction targets, then allows industrial facilities to trade reduction permits with each other. (Current Clean Air Act rules generally require cumbersome site-by-site, pollutant-by-pollutant litigation.) It’s, um, a scientific study, and so perhaps The New York Times might have been forgiven for reporting it in a short article on page A11, while The Washington Post might have been forgiven for according the study but three grafs under “Washington in Brief.” Here’s what was missing from the coverage. The “multi-state, multi-pollutant” approach just endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences is exactly what the Bush administration has proposed to adopt under its Clear Skies initiative.


Interesting, but I should like to see the specific examples, rather than broad allegations.

I’m a big fan of market based pollution control. It turns the pollution problem, an externality that affects everyone but nobody owns, into a product with a market that uses supply and demand to improve air quality.

Thanks tme - beat me to it!

BB- do a google on the subject. Theres plenty out there concerning the Carbon Dioxide as a non-pollutant issue, asbestos levels following 9/11, etc…

the NRDC site has many particular examples of what the NYT article refers to: http://www.nrdc.org/bushrecord/default.asp

Both sides distort facts; and that’s a fact. ithink the best appoach is to see things as they really are. The kerry and friends camp are just as big a-liers as the bush camp. I tend to favor the republicans more than the dems, but I am friends of niether. I need something better. Politics should be named "Distortion of the truth to passify the news media and get reelected. I think I’ll vote for myself for president. I need to vote for somebody I trust.

What? What! Our government does not always tell us the truth or a balanced story about everything? Don’t “they” always know best? (tongue in cheeck)…

But facts are facts, Kerry has a much better record on the environment than Bush. I despise Kerry’s lack of convictions and feel that Bush would be better at this important juncture for foreign policy. That for me is the deciding factor this election, for our security, as well as for the long-term goal of securing human rights and democracy abroad, particularly those of women and homosexuals (even as the American consensus is to deny them marriage rights at home).

Republicans (Christian Conservatives) also want to teach Creationism in the schools, in addition to evolution.

Creationism (the idea that God created all the species, rather than higher life forms evolving from lower life forms) hasn’t been considered a credible theory for 100 years.

Science and right wing conservatives often do not make for a good mix.

For years the right wing has been calling the documented loss of our ozone layer from pollution “junk science”.

“How much clean air do we need?”

It just doesn’t stop with Kerry. According to a recent exchange on HARDBALL, he’s making promises which throw aside his pledge to protect the environment:

MATTHEWS: How about ANWR? You guys want to see ANWR because you want to see guys working in your business. I guess there‘s a lot of Teamsters jobs up there lined up and organized, if you could put a pipeline up to the Alaska wilderness. He is against that.

HOFFA: Well, we talked about that.

He says, look, I am against ANWR, but I am going to put that pipeline in and we‘re going to drill like never before. . . .

MATTHEWS: But he is against drilling up there. What are they going to run through the pipeline?

HOFFA: Well, they are going to drill all over, according to him. And he says, we‘re going to be drilling all over the United States. And he says that is going to create more jobs. . . .

MATTHEWS: It just seems amazing that he has turned around on NAFTA, turned around on WTO, turned around on ANWR, anything to get the Teamsters.


Please Democrats, choose John Edwards.

Brian Smith,

“Please Democrats, choose John Edwards”

Sorry, democrats prefer their hypocrites to be transparent. If they weren’t, they couldn’t understand them.

hillary/johnkerry/terrymcauliffe in 2004!!! The triumverate straight out of legend!!!

hey US=mod,
your handle is blacked out- in case you didn’t catch it :slight_smile:

United States = Good Guys has been barred from the forum. We’ve put up with his trollish behavior long enough and get tired of deleting 50% of his daily posts/attacks.

50% of US=GG’s posts were getting deleted? Wow. I can now go back to appreciating people like Boston Barrister, whose posts are well thought-out and intelligible.

Lumpy, Try not to make decrees about science. And extend some religious courtesy. The Bush administration has said nothing about wanting to promote Creationism. It is the right of Fundamentalist Christians in our government to believe whatever they want. From the POV of an agnostic/atheist (me), “the theory of evolution” has been discredited. Of course, it should still be taught, as this is what people believed for a very long time, but right now the scientific community is in a crisis. They can’t honestly back “evolution” but they want to back a theory that can compete in the minds of the students with Biblical creationism.

Done nothing to promote creationism?

Are you joking?

This administration has replaced actual scientists to WHO conferences with representatives of anti-abortion Evangelical groups who certainly DO push creationist agendas (such as the one founded by Tim LaHaye). See Molly Ivin’s Bushwhacked for actual names and dates. Can’t remember them offhand.

What does WHO have to do with science curricula?

Molly Ivin’s Bushwhacked

credible source as always.

Ivins cites actual WHO & UN documents I believe.

She also has gone after Democrats as well as neo-cons, and is really more of a true conservative so don’t bother with the “mushy liberal” branding bullshit.

The World Health Organisation does implement programs obviously relying on science. I am not saying they influence education in the US, but it is an example of what tme’s original post outlines.

Brian –

I think there is a gap of understanding concerning your point. A lot of people have a very limited understanding of the debate; to them, it is either a strict-construction “it’s exactly the way it is described in the Bible, 7-days and there it all is” Creationism or a completely random-chance theory of evolution.

As I’m certain you read it, you should go back and pull up that Gregg Easterbrook post from his Easterblogg on the subject, the one about how some modern physicists are putting their faith in ideas of an unlimited number of dimensions. There is also an interesting John Derbyshire column (his website is www.olimu.com) on the origins of the universe that others might wish to check out. These just scratch the surface, but would be useful nonetheless.

I would pull them myself, but I’ve really got to get back to work. Maybe this weekend…