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Thread: Union of Concerned Scientists

  1. #1
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    February 18, 2004

    [url=http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/rsi/rsirelease.html]http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/r...rsirelease.html[/url]

    Preeminent Scientists Protest Bush Administration's Misuse of Science
    Nobel Laureates, National Medal of Science Recipients, and Other Leading Researchers Call for End to Scientific Abuses


    Washington, D.C.—Today, more than 60 leading scientists—including Nobel laureates, leading medical experts, former federal agency directors and university chairs and presidents—issued a statement calling for regulatory and legislative action to restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. According to the scientists, the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels.
    “Across a broad range of issues, the administration has undermined the quality of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government’s outstanding scientific personnel,” said Dr. Kurt Gottfried, emeritus professor of physics at Cornell University and Chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “Whether the issue is lead paint, clean air or climate change, this behavior has serious consequences for all Americans.”

    “Science, to quote President Bush's father, the former president, relies on freedom of inquiry and objectivity,” said Russell Train, head of the Environmental Protection Agency under Nixon and Ford, who joined the scientists in calling for action. “But this administration has obstructed that freedom and distorted that objectivity in ways that were unheard of in any previous administration.”

    The statement notes that while scientific input to the government is rarely the only factor in public policy decisions, this input should be weighed from an objective and impartial perspective. However, the administration of George W. Bush has disregarded this principle.

    “The Earth system follows laws which scientists strive to understand,” said Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland a Nobel laureate in chemistry. “The public deserves rational decisionmaking based on the best scientific advice about what is likely to happen, not what political entities might wish to happen.”

    “We are not simply raising warning flags about an academic subject of interest only to scientists and doctors,” said Dr. Neal Lane, a former director of the National Science Foundation and a former Presidential Science Advisor. “In case after case, scientific input to policymaking is being censored and distorted. This will have serious consequences for public health.”

    In conjunction with the statement, the Union of Concerned Scientists today released a report Scientific Integrity in Policymaking that investigates numerous allegations in the scientists’ statement involving censorship and political interference with independent scientific inquiry at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Interior and Defense.

    One example cited in the statement and report involves the suppression of an EPA study that found the bipartisan Senate Clear Air bill would do more to reduce mercury contamination in fish and prevent more deaths than the administration's proposed Clear Skies Act. “This is akin to the White House directing the National Weather Service to alter a hurricane forecast because they want everyone to think we have clear skies ahead,” said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists “The hurricane is still coming, but without factual information no one will be ready for it.”

    Comparing President Bush with his father, George H.W. Bush and former president Richard M. Nixon, the statement warned that had these former presidents similarly dismissed science in favor of political ends, over 200,000 deaths and millions of respiratory and cardiovascular disease cases would not have been prevented with the signing of the original Clean Air Act and the 1990 amendments to that Act.

    The statement demands that the Bush administration’s “distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends must cease” and calls for Congressional oversight hearings, guaranteed public access to government scientific studies and other measures to prevent such abuses in the future. The statement further calls on the scientific, engineering and medical communities to work together to reestablish scientific integrity in the policymaking process.

    # # #
    Among the statement signers are:

    Philip W. Anderson*†
    David Baltimore*†
    Paul Berg*†
    Lewis Branscomb
    Thomas Eisner*
    Jerome Friedman†
    Richard Garwin*
    Walter Kohn*†
    Neal Lane
    Leon Lederman*†
    Mario Molina†
    W.K.H. Panofsky*
    F. Sherwood Rowland†
    J. Robert Schrieffer*†
    Richard Smalley†
    Harold E. Varmus*†
    Steven Weinberg*†
    E.O. Wilson*

    * National Medal of Science
    † Nobel laureate

  2. #2
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    [url=http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62339,00.html]http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,62339,00.html[/url]

    01:33 PM Feb. 18, 2004 PT


    The Bush administration has distorted scientific fact leading to policy decisions on the environment, health, biomedical research and nuclear weaponry, a group of about 60 scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates, said in a statement on Wednesday.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent organization, also issued a 37-page report, "Scientific Integrity in Policymaking," detailing the accusations. The statement and the report both accuse the Bush administration of distorting and suppressing findings that contradict administration policies, stacking panels with like-minded and underqualified scientists with ties to industry, and eliminating some advisory committees altogether.

    The scientists listed various policy issues as being unfairly influenced by the administration, including those concerning climate change, mercury emissions, reproductive health, lead poisoning in children, workplace safety and nuclear weapons. New regulations and laws are necessary to fix the situation, the statement says.

    "We found a serious pattern of undermining science by the Bush administration, and it crosses disciplines, whether it's global climate change or reproductive health or mercury in the food chain or forestry -- the list goes on and on," said Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    President Bush's science adviser, John Marburger, said he was disappointed in the report, and called it biased.

    He said he was troubled by the fact that some very prestigious scientists signed the statement.

    "We have to find a way to reach out to them and try to come to an understanding, because this administration has in fact been very supportive of science," Marburger said. He noted the administration has doubled the National Institutes of Health budget and increased the National Science Foundation budget.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists began investigating the Bush administration's scientific policy-making last summer in response to numerous complaints from members of the scientific community, Knobloch said. The report documents various instances of the administration undercutting science, scientists and the public welfare, he said.

    For example, the panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on lead poisoning was recently planning to strengthen the lead poisoning regulations, in response to science showing that smaller amounts than previously understood could cause brain damage in children, Knobloch said.

    Before the panel could act, Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson rejected the recommendation and replaced two members of the panel with individuals tied to the lead industry, Knobloch said.

    Marburger said he wasn't familiar with the details of the panel changes, "but I'm pretty sure there were other reasons for making changes on the panel," he said. "I think there are reasonable explanations for nearly all the things in the report, and rather than look for what those explanations might be, I think the (researchers were) somewhat biased in favor of a sweeping opinion of what this administration is all about, and I just don't think that's justified."

    The researchers also took issue with a White House Office of Management and Budget bulletin regarding peer review, a process fundamental to science by which researchers check each other's work for accuracy and balance before it's published. The bulletin (PDF), drafted in August 2003, would allow the government to hand-pick scientists to second-guess scientific research, opponents say.

    The text of the bulletin says its purpose would be to ensure that all research affecting federal regulations, such as environmental or health advisories, would be thoroughly peer-reviewed by unbiased researchers. But opponents say the bulletin's guidelines would scrutinize only academic researchers for bias, not industry scientists.

  3. #3
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    i saw this too... watch as the right wingers dismiss it as "crunchy hippie nonsense"

    in defense of this organization there are MANY nobel lauriates among the group - these are very smart people...

    bush has been pandering to the energy industry - this latest weakening of the clean air act to allow coal and electric power plants to emit mercury without consequence isn't just bad for the environment its SOCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE... kids will die from too much mercury

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    Just to clarify for anyone too lazy to read the articles and follow the relavent links. Basically, this group of scientists is complaining that when policies are being made, the best scientific research is not being used. Essentially, the Bush Administration is "cherrypicking" (hmm sounds familiar,) and only allowing research which supports their agenda. Get ready for Creationism in schools.

    You may also want to read the comments on slashdot [url=http://science.slashdot.org/science/04/02/19/1717201.shtml]http://science.slashdot.org/science/04/02/...9/1717201.shtml[/url]
    there are a lot of good insights from people directly involved with this such as NASA scientists.

    Anyway, this goes along with an article on the front page of the Washington Post telling me that I should run my water for 10 minutes before drinking it because of lead levels being so high.

    [url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A53170-2004Feb18.html]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...-2004Feb18.html[/url]

  5. #5
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    Peeance Freeance!

  6. #6
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Section109Row15[/i]@Feb 19 2004, 04:26 PM
    [b] Just to clarify for anyone too lazy to read the articles and follow the relavent links. Basically, this group of scientists is complaining that when policies are being made, the best scientific research is not being used. Essentially, the Bush Administration is "cherrypicking" (hmm sounds familiar,) and only allowing research which supports their agenda. Get ready for Creationism in schools.

    [/b][/quote]
    I'm gonna be honest and raise my hand as one of the lazy ones :P . But if your summation is accurate, do you really think this only goes on with the Bush admin?? This is something that every party, and every President does.

    It like a court case. The prosecution will get an accredited psychologist to make out the defendant to be as sane as you or me. The defense will find an accredited psychologist to say the defendant is more nuts than a can of Planters to get him off on an insanity plea.


    And Bitonti, the only 'crunchy hippie nonsense' I've ever had was a veggie burrito at a Phish concert. Nasty nasty stuff :lol: :lol:

  7. #7
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by Boozer76[/i]@Feb 19 2004, 06:51 PM
    [b] But if your summation is accurate, do you really think this only goes on with the Bush admin?? This is something that every party, and every President does.
    [/b][/quote]
    maybe i missed it when 20 nobel lauriates banded together against the policy of every US president

    when it comes to generally pissing on good/responsible science Bush II is in a class all by himself...

  8. #8
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    Wasn't this that movie with the guy landing his flying saucer in Washington with the giant metal guy with the raygun in his head? It kinda sucked. And how come space guys always speak perfect English?

  9. #9
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    [quote][i]Originally posted by bitonti+Feb 19 2004, 07:08 PM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>[b]QUOTE[/b] (bitonti @ Feb 19 2004, 07:08 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--Boozer76[/i]@Feb 19 2004, 06:51 PM
    [b] But if your summation is accurate, do you really think this only goes on with the Bush admin?? This is something that every party, and every President does.
    [/b][/quote]
    maybe i missed it when 20 nobel lauriates banded together against the policy of every US president

    when it comes to generally pissing on good/responsible science Bush II is in a class all by himself... [/b][/quote]
    Bitonti, you must have missed the part where I said I didn&#39;t read it. I just wen&#39;t off section&#39;s summary stating Bush cherrypicks for scientists that support his claims. You can&#39;t honestly believe that this doesn&#39;t go on with every presidency that holds office regardless of whether they are REP or DEM, could you??

  10. #10
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    misunderstanding i thought you were talking RE: the union of scientists not the cherry picking :D my busta B)

  11. #11
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