Saturday, February 21, 2004

Nobel laureates' Bush misuse of science report, and forseeable consequences

Tapped and Chris Mooney post on on the UCS Nobel Laureates' Bush admin anti-scientism report (here), with other good links, including Richard Florida's How the GOP's anti-elitism could ruin America's economy.

From this page of the report:
Political partisans have long disagreed over each administration’s politics and policy. But there is little disagreement about the need for elected and appointed officials to have access to rigorous, objective scientific research and analysis, and to fully understand its implications for addressing the problems they are trying to solve. To be sure, politics plays an unavoidable and, at times, valuable role in policymaking because many factors in addition to science and technology must be weighed in decision making....
There is, however, a crucial difference between political fights over policy and the manipulation of the scientific underpinnings of the policymaking process itself.

...the current administration has undermined the quality of the science that informs policy making by suppressing, distorting, or manipulating the work done by scientists at federal agencies.
Lots of examples, including this - June 2003, the White House tried to make a series of changes to the EPA’s draft Report on the Environment...demanded major amendments including:
  • The deletion of a temperature record covering 1,000 years in order to, according to the EPA memo, emphasize "a recent, limited analysis [which] supports the administration’s favored message." 10
  • The removal of any reference to the NAS review - requested by the White House itself - that confirmed human activity is contributing to climate change. 11
  • The insertion of a reference to a discredited study of temperature records funded in part by the American Petroleum Institute. 12
  • The elimination of the summary statement - noncontroversial within the science community that studies climate change - that "climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment." 13
From the previously referenced(Feb 4 post) Wired "jobs flight to India" article -
[what's left for Americans?]
Now that the rest of the world is acquiring knowledge, and we're moving to work that is high concept and high touch, where innovation is essential but the path from breakthrough to commodity is swift, the more appropriate slogan - of both admonition and possibility - might be this: AMERICA DISCOVERS. THE WORLD DELIVERS.
Or rather, South Korea Discovers. US researchers losing edge in stem cell work -
You are going to start picking up Nature and Science and all the great [research] journals, and you are going to read about how South Koreans and Chinese and Singaporeans are making advances that the rest of us can't even study."

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