What's Truth Got to Do with It?

What's Truth Got to Do with It?

A Story by David Kent

George W's Assault on Science


By James Cotter



"There is a measure of denial of scientific evidence going on within our administration," says Nobel Prize winner Roy J. Glauber, "and there are many scientists who are not happy about that."


According to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a survey by PEER and the Union of Concerned Scientists "concluded that nearly one-quarter of respondents had at some time been 'directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information from a....scientific document.' More than half were aware of cases in which 'commercial interests have inappropriately induced the reversal or withdrawal of....scientific conclusions or decisions through political intervention.'"

Reiterating his vow to veto legislation that would advance stem-cell research, President Bush drew this criticism from Tony Hileman, executive director of the American Humanist Association: "Bush's comment that his stem cell decision strikes a 'balance between science and ethics' indicates that he thinks the two are somehow diametrically opposed."

A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists claims that the administration has allowed politics to subvert "the traditionally objective, bipartisan mechanisms through which the government uses specific knowledge in forming and implementing public policy." A petition appended to the report and signed by more than 60 eminent scientists, accused the administration of the systematic manipulation of scientific findings. The scientists called for regulations and legislation to restore integrity to federal policymaking. Said Dr. Kurt Gottfried, emeritus professor of physics at Cornell, "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."

Elizabeth Blackburn, a member of the President's Council on Bioethics, was fired from the council shortly after publicly criticizing the scientific basis of some council reports. She and another pro-s


tem cell research member were dismissed and replaced by three opponents of stem cell research. And in the Environmental Protection Agency, supervisors have been ignoring the input of staff members. In the view of Niel Lane, President Clinton's science advisor, "If you want to destroy an agency, that's a really good way to do it."

According to the editors of Scientific American, "The administration misrepresented the findings of the National Academy of Sciences and other experts on climate change. It meddled with the discussion of climate change in an Environmental Protection Agency report until the EPA eliminated that section. It suppressed another EPA study that showed that the administration's proposed Clear Skies Act would do less than current law to reduce air pollution....It even dropped independent scientists from advisory committees on lead poisoning and drug abuse in favor of ones with ties to industry....The Department of Health and Human Services deleted information from its Web sites that runs contrary to the president's preference for "abstinence only" sex education programs."

"When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact," says Howard Dean, "the science is not refuted, it is simply discarded or ignored....Health risks of mercury were discounted....A National Cancer Institute fact sheet was doctored to suggest that abortion increases breast-cancer risk....The National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control quietly removed information on the benefits of condoms and safe-sex education."

And from the Boston Globe: "For years the World Health Organization...enlisted U.S. Government scientists to attend WHO meetings or serve on its panels without first getting the approval of the federal government." No longer. "The Bush administration decreed that WHO must first clear appointees with the Department of Health and Human Services." The new policy, the Globe says, is "a textbook example of...the politicization of science by the Bush administration."

James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, warns of potential catastrophe. "In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching


the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now." Hansen, one of the first government scientists to brief congressional committees on the dangers of global warming, says the administration dismisses evidence of the greenhouse effect because it does not "fit predetermined, inflexible notions." This attitude, he believes, "is a recipe for environmental disaster."

Richard Carmona was Bush's Surgeon General for four years. "Anything that doesn't fit into the ideological, theological, or political agenda is often ignored, marginalized, or simply buried," he says of his experiences with the administration. On expanding stem cell research: "I was ignored at every turn. I was told a decision had already been made. 'Stand down, don't talk about it.'" His speeches were censored, his ideas cold-shouldered, on every subject from second-hand smoke to AIDS to sex education and birth control. C. Everett Koop and David Satcher, Surgeons General under Presidents Reagan and Clinton, respectively, say they also met with political interference, but all three men say the situation is worse than ever now. "We have never seen it as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as mean-spirited as it is today," says Carmona.

Perhaps a statement from President Bush provides some insight into his motivations: "This administration looks at the facts and reviews the best available science based on what's right for the American people."

Why not based on the truth?

Robert Kennedy, Jr., one of the nation's most prominent environmental attorneys, believes that scientific integrity—among other things—has been sacrificed to corporate greed. Kennedy represents people of all political persuasions in lawsuits against polluters. "Without exception," he writes in his book Crimes Against Nature, "these people see the current administration as the greatest threat not just to their livelihoods but to their values, their sense of community, and their idea of what it means to be American."

This article brought to you By BreadStreet Investors' Union at http://BreadStreet.com

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© 2009 David Kent

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You write well, but you are yet another sheep believing anything someone writes as categorically true. Nobel peace prize...you mean the same prize awarded to Al Gore over other candidates a million times more deserving. Wanna talk about politics. You obviously know nothing about DNA or stem cell research. Talk to someone in the field.....Live embryo's provide little or nothing different than placenta cultures and Stem cells from other donor's. It's all politics. Nice plagarism though.

Posted 15 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well said. We can all agree that President Bush was an ignorant man, though he graduated from one the nation's premier schools. In many instances he was quite reactionary, a simple redneck from Texas, a few generations removed. But then again, what would you have expected from a "C" student. He is gone! The ship of state has been righted again. Hopefully, we will have a more balanced view in the world of science.

Posted 15 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Conscience of which science was created to prove or disprove deity exists. We are talking government here isn't it you scratch my back i'll scratch yours, what has conscience have to do with it. Big business spends millions maybe billions of dollars lobbying government officials to see things their way. Where is the conscience in that. In what is referred to as a civilized world, we are not very civil at all we could do so much more for all of humanity not just ourselves.

Posted 15 Years Ago

0 of 1 people found this review constructive.

The only critique I can offer is that it seems that in a few places there are ' when you may have meant to use ". Other than that I think it is a well written deice of journalism. Peace&Love be with you...~M~

Posted 15 Years Ago

this is absolutely true. the first paragraph. I also said this in some essay, that science is politcs. Everything is politics, absolutely everything, religion, too anyway. but of course everything you write here, is true. and yes, "scientific integrity—among other things—has been sacrificed to corporate greed." this is so, and and not only in U.S. Everywhere! I get frustrated with their choices for me, and I do not want to be entertained with meaningless TV or DVDs, I want honest information that makes me being critical, I want not conformity, I want individuality.. The whole science emerged from military science, things have been developed to use them in a war and to demonstarte power, yeah, we all know it. later during cold war - to demonstrate power, and we will see what is going to be now. Scientists desire their salaries and publication in nature, well what for we have CERN? we need altruism and compassion, not more science. We need to go back to the stone age to save this earth. Well, let's see what is going to be different during Obama administration. I have faith! I just think, he did wrong - not letting pay for this world-wide misery those, who comminted the crime of deceit and manipulation of middle class (also here in Europe) they put all their savings into a deposit account for some derivates that didn't exist and everything was pushed up artificially, no such values how they stated... that is the misery. I hope Obama won't print new dollars like Brown does.. great informative article. very well written, but u already know it. yeah.

Posted 15 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on March 12, 2009
Last Updated on March 13, 2009


David Kent
David Kent

Las Vegas, NV

With 5 years in the business, and close to 10,000 Private Investors & lending Firms. Breadstreet seeks to bring small business back into the forefront of free living. We just seek to have fun,.. more..


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