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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The A-Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

OK, it's cold. My hands are cracked and bleeding, which is something they do when it gets really cold. I'm worried about how much damage is being inflicted on the unheated side of my house, and how much money I'm spending heating the heated side. So I'm too distracted to think of a post today.

I came across this post earlier today on Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy. Political interference in science, including suppression and censorship of language or even entire reports that do not mesh with official administration positions, has been a hallmark of the Bush Administration. The Union of Concerned Scientists has put together The A-Z Guide to Political Interference in Science. It's done up in a cutesy manner - each item is presented as an "element" on a Periodical Table - that may serve to alienate the report from the general public. (It's also presented in several alternate arrangements, including by issue area, which is probably the most intuitive way to go through these items.) But the message is important:
In 2004, 62 renowned scientists and science advisors signed a scientist statement on scientific integrity, denouncing political interference in science and calling for reform. On December 9, 2006, UCS released the names of more than 10,000 scientists of all backgrounds from all 50 states—including 52 Nobel Laureates—who have since joined their colleagues on this statement.
Go browse through a bit and see how your government - the government that was voted for by more than 62,000,000 voters in 2004 - deals with science. See why those 62,000,000+ voters should be hanging their heads in shame at what they've done. And see why the rest of us should be hanging our heads in shame for not being able to steer the country in a better direction. Get angry. And do something about it.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I used to subscribe to a science magazine. Every December they would do the top 100 stories in science for the year. The last year I had a subscription one of the stories was about how terrible the Bush administration was for the scientific community in this country. This was two or three years ago. It took a while but I'm glad that stories of the White House's meddlings has finally gone mainstream.

Anonymous said...

Just last week Bush acted to try to get political appointees to screen appointees to screen all decisions made by federal agencies. It isn't just science, but the White House continues to work on subverting all of branches and services to their will. There was also the changing how government attorneys are fired/hired in order to purge potentially free thinking attorneys.

These actions are both power grabs by Bush and acts to cement GOP influence even after they have been voted out of office.

It is a sad commentary on the Bush/Cheney White House and our government/society as a whole. But cynicism towards democracy seems to run deepest in the White House: Bush Decides, We Pay.

Super G