Thursday, February 19, 2004

Scientists Say Bush Distorts Science

There has been quite a bit of discussion in Confined Space about the Republicans' misuse of science, labeling as "junk science" everything that doesn't fit in with their pro-business, anti-regulatory, anti-worker, anti-environment message. The Bush administration and its Office of Management and Budget has been leading the charge lately with its so-called Data Quality (sic) and Peer Review Initiatives.

Now scientists have begun to organize and fight back.
More than 60 influential scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, issued a statement yesterday asserting that the Bush administration had systematically distorted scientific fact in the service of policy goals on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry at home and abroad.

The sweeping accusations were later discussed in a conference call 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. On Wednesday, the organization also issued a 38-page report detailing its accusations.

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.
The report can be found here (although it's hard to get to as traffic has been high.) Excellent commentary's by science blogger Chris Mooney can be found here. And there was a good NPR story last night that quoted former Republican Cabinet officials as saying that they had never seen anything -- under Reagan or Bush I -- like the politicization of science that is ocurring under this Administration.