Bush's administration distorts scientific findings

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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"...Bush's administration distorts scientific findings"

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's administration distorts scientific findings and seeks to manipulate experts' advice to avoid information that runs counter to its political beliefs, a private organization of scientists asserted on Wednesday...

... the complaint was signed by a wide assortment of prominent scientists, including Nobel Prize winners and recipients of the National Medal of Science.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/02/19/scientists.bush.ap/index.html [Broken]
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
member 5645
Good, maybe some pressure will put Bush back on track of pressuring China (and others in the 'grey area') into the Kyoto. Fact is, Kyoto, or something like it, will be forced eventually. Might as well get it done the right way now, rather than have it forced when it's the right way for the Russians.
 
  • #3
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by phatmonky
...maybe some pressure will put Bush back
in the unemployment line.
 
  • #4
MacTech
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
in the unemployment line.
your too nice ivan ;) I was going to say something different dealing with texas ;) oh well. I'll be good too..

anyway i am not surprised by this at all, lets hope that something good comes out of it.
 
  • #5
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Politics makes for lousy science. "Social relevance" also makes for lousy science.

Should it be any surprise that "socially relevant science" and politics make for really lousy science?

UCS ain't exactly the world's best source for "uninterpreted" information. The story reads more along the lines of the usual funding gripes.
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Bystander
Politics makes for lousy science. "Social relevance" also makes for lousy science.

Should it be any surprise that "socially relevant science" and politics make for really lousy science?
Yes, unfortunately democracy and popular issues is not the nature of nature. Scientific facts are just that, facts; regardless of their popularity.

UCS ain't exactly the world's best source for "uninterpreted" information. The story reads more along the lines of the usual funding gripes.
The list of scientists looked pretty impressive to me. Also, I think funding gripes are part of the point. The problem with environmental issues is that the evidence often suggests that we don't have the time for an absolute consensus of scientific opinion. Consider the arguments for green house warming: According to much or what I have seen, by the time we have the definitive evidence needed it will be too late to recover.

I pose this question to all Bush supporters and to all those who argue against strict environmental policies: We have good evidence to support the most dire predictions of up and coming global, environmental disasters. That evidence is not proof beyond doubt, but there is good evidence to support the alarmist position; of which I'm a member. I’m not going to prove this point since I know that thousands of resources are available for you to satisfy yourself that I’ right. In fact, in part what concerns me most is the volume of information supporting this position.

Considering the consequences of inaction - the potential or near extinction of the human race - what good argument can be made for risking everything in the face of the evidence? The way I see it, anyone who oppose decisive action to eliminate fossil fuel dependency, to preserves the worlds oceans, lakes, and streams, and to act on global warming effectively gambles with the lives of all who might [hope to] follow.

Who has this right in the face of the evidence? Why is it not the most responsible position to assume that the evidence is good and correct, to take action as quickly as possible based on our best scientific consensus of the time, and then continue the research? I just can't understand why anyone would take such a gamble with other people’s lives; including perhaps the lives of their own children.

In the case of a runaway green house effect, one of the most likely scenarios is that billions of people will either starve to death, or they will die due to the many new diseases that will run wild…which we may now be seeing.

Nader on Meet the Press this morning: “Corporations now occupy Washington [DC]”. “Bush is a corporation masquerading as a person”.
 
  • #7
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"Evidence" includes increased atmospheric CO2, an operational definition for global mean temperature that could well have been written by the IRS, and an environmental track record in the U.S. that is very much less than enviable as far as "expert management" of environment and resources goes (dust bowl, flood control, forest management, etc.). Okay, let's put these pieces of evidence together in a "unique" picture --- there ain't just one. How many ways can the "evidence" be interpreted? Carbon dioxide levels are solid measurements, so let's stick with just that much --- 1) natural cycle, no data to support or exclude the idea; 2) human problems, excessive commercial fishing upsetting the hydrosphere's capacity to "sink" carbon, supported by reduced catches at lower trophic levels, and argued against on humanitarian reasons; 3) use of fossil fuels, supported by consumption records over the past one or two centuries, numerical coincidence of consumption and increase in atmospheric CO2 in some interpretations, and supported by the assumption that the environment is a precision tuned carbon metering system incapable of standing/withstanding surges or upset conditions in the fluxes among the various carbon reservoirs.


"Option 3" includes a concatenation of "ifs" that's a bit long to swallow, "2" is tough to support without a lot more data on carbon cycles, and "1" is so damned humiliating to the human conceit that we dominate this planet that it's not an allowable possibility.

Energy conservation? Hell, yes! For the simple reason that it's expensive, and improved efficiencies and use policies make sense. Fisheries management? Hell, yes! For the same obvious reasons. Ban whaling? Hell, yes! Capital punishment for poachers? Hell, yes! Wildlife preserves? Hell, yes! Jump off the Kyoto, guaranteed worldwide recession/depression leading to widespread major warfare, deepend? Na --- don't think so.
 
  • #8
Ivan Seeking
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The root cause of global warming may or may not be important. The real question is: What action should be taken?

I remember being impressed by the evidence that the incident solar radiation has coincidentally increased as did the global production of CO2. The sun's output is traditionally treated as a constant. The statement made by one researcher from Harvard [a CSPAN live at the House of Representitives diddy] was that if this is true as her evidence indicates, the impact from human activities is negligible.

So the point is that not only do I agree with you on many levels, I also have real questions about the role of CO2 as factor in global warming. Nonetheless, we are likely facing a global crisis unlike any in modern history. We now may have the capacity to effect a change in this process; be it natural or human made.

Energy conservation? Hell, yes! For the simple reason that it's expensive, and improved efficiencies and use policies make sense. Fisheries management? Hell, yes! For the same obvious reasons. Ban whaling? Hell, yes! Capital punishment for poachers? Hell, yes! Wildlife preserves? Hell, yes! Jump off the Kyoto, guaranteed worldwide recession/depression leading to widespread major warfare, deepend? Na --- don't think so.
Still, turning his back on the world's many valid concerns as Bush did does no good for our national security either. This only enforces the perception of the fat greedy America that subjugates the world at its leisure. The responsible position was to refuse to leave, and then to refuse to concede to unreasonable demands. Of course, whom one listens to has a large bearing on what is and is not considered reasonable. If one chooses to believe whatever they want, as I think Bush does, then reasonable is whatever best funds his next campaign.

So here is the problem as I see it. Science has no recognized judges. Any administration or special interest group can pick and choose whatever scientific position they wish regardless of the popular opinions of most experts in the field. As long as some small group of scientist will make the desired argument the issue becomes political, and without making a career of science, there is no way for the average person or politician to know the best answer. From time to time we see various panels of experts assembled to answer some particular question e.g. why did the Challenger explode, but we don't see any generally accepted scientific group or organization that acts as a watch dog, tell all, nonpartisan group – the place to go for THE best answers based on the best evidence. I tend to see the UCS as such a group but obviously you don't agree.

Historically, a scientific consensus on any issue may require a century or more before everyone effectively becomes a disciple of the new paradigm. This does no good for political decisions and problems such as global warming that might require an immediate, expensive, and large scale response. On this level it seems that science utterly fails. Then to compound the problem the media does a fantastically miserable job of reporting on real science and real issues. Clearly the networks are more concerned about where the sex and the city girls landed than they are about how to manage rising ocean levels. Poor Monique.

So as you pointed out, we find a diverse range of opinions on global warming but we also find no mandate or process for good science as a function of the decision making process in Washington. Perhaps we should kick the lawyers out of Washington and replace them with scientists. Finally, and I hope this is not true, but it is possible global economic collapse and war are preferable to a runaway greenhouse scenario. Again, the real questions are what and how much do we dare intervene in the natural processes of the biosphere. Your fears of meddling are surely justified…however I would sell any ocean front property that you may own
 
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  • #9
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
The root cause of global warming may or may not be important. The real question is: What action should be taken?
Okay, long as we tuck a great big bold-face "IF" in here, as in, "If there is in fact a global warming trend...."
Still, turning his back on the world's many valid concerns as
Children have "valid" concerns about monsters under beds, in closets, in the basement, etc. --- these concerns are based on world pictures which are every bit as complete and correct as the existing climate models generating the global warming concerns. The "validity" of children's concerns is probably greater --- they are honestly afraid. The scientific community's ethics was significantly corrupted by the funding cornucopia of WWII and the Cold War --- "scare the hell out of people and watch the money roll in."
So here is the problem as I see it. Science has no recognized judges. Any administration or special interest group can pick and choose whatever scientific position they wish regardless of the popular opinions of most experts in the field. As long as some small group of scientist will make the desired argument the issue becomes political, and without making a career of science, there is no way for the average person or politician to know the best answer. From time to time we see various panels of experts assembled to answer some particular question e.g. why did the Challenger explode, but we don't see any generally accepted scientific group or organization that acts as a watch dog, tell all, nonpartisan group – the place to go for THE best answers based on the best evidence. I tend to see the UCS as such a group but obviously you don't agree.
The UCS is working off a guilty conscience over the Manhattan Project, among other things. Of all groups, this should be the one to recognize the hazards involved in stampeding the public with scare tactics intended to generate funding --- J H Xist! We actually dropped the product from the Manhattan Project on people! And here they go again "Runaway warming!" Were the world's climate such an unstable system that "runaway" is possible, it woulda happened long ago. The "runaway" argument is pure male bovine waste product --- cut it 10 or 20 to 1 before applying to your front yard, or you'll burn the grass.
Historically, a scientific consensus on any issue may require a century or more before everyone effectively becomes a disciple of the new paradigm. This does no good for political decisions and problems such as global warming that might require an immediate, expensive, and large scale response. On this level it seems that science utterly fails. Then to compound the problem the media does a fantastically miserable job of reporting on real science and real issues. Clearly the networks are more concerned about where the sex and the city girls landed than they are about how to manage rising ocean levels. Poor Monique.

So as you pointed out, we find a diverse range of opinions on global warming but we also find no mandate or process for good science as a function of the decision making process in Washington. Perhaps we should kick the lawyers out of Washington and replace them with scientists.
I promote this concept myself from time to time --- then the reality of the scientific community's qualifications to govern raises its ugly head, and I have to stick with leaving the thieves, thugs, mopes, and dopes in office to handle the dirty chores.
Finally, and I hope this is not true, but it is possible global economic collapse and war are preferable to a runaway greenhouse scenario. Again, the real questions are what and how much do we dare intervene in the natural processes of the biosphere. Your fears of meddling are surely justified…however I would sell any ocean front property that you may own
Ahh, come on, Ivan --- no one with an ounce of sense has ever owned OFP as an investment --- it's discretionary recreational income disposal --- you know it's going to get washed or blown away on a fairly regular timeframe. Just like building in floodplains --- the gamble is that you get your money's worth in recreational benefits, or agricultural productivity, between disasters.
 
  • #10
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So, apparently now even the Pentagon is convinced that global warming poses a threat so grave to national security that it eclipses terrorism.

Have you all read this?
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4864237-102275,00.html [Broken]
 
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  • #11
kat
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Originally posted by skywise
So, apparently now even the Pentagon is convinced that global warming poses a threat so grave to national security that it eclipses terrorism.

Have you all read this?
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4864237-102275,00.html [Broken]
Hi. 2 words.
1.contingency.....2.plan....put them together? what do you get?


the pentagon....doing it's job.
 
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  • #12
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yes and my point was that even the Pentagon thinks this contingency is worth taking a serious look at and planning for. Then you have the rest of the Bush administration continuing to stick it's head in the sand and pretend it's not any kind of serious threat, judgging by the actions they've taken. (loosening pollution laws, tax breaks for SUV owners, dumping Kyoto)

What will it take for serious change to happen regarding our enviromental policies? New York sinking beneath the waves?
 
  • #13
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With Bush's Kyoto stance, we won't have to travel to Mars to witness a lifeless planet.
 
  • #14
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Originally posted by Loren Booda
With Bush's Kyoto stance, we won't have to travel to Mars to witness a lifeless planet.
I do not think we need to be quite so melodramatic - this sort of thing plays directly into the hands of the industrialists. Life will probably survive, though the ecosystem will be changed, and probably not in a way we see as "better".
 
  • #15
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Originally posted by FZ+
Life will probably survive, though the ecosystem will be changed, and probably not in a way we see as "better".
Heh. Likely we won't be here to see or judge it at all. The cockroaches will probably be enjoying it.
 
  • #16
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Bystander
Children have "valid" concerns about monsters under beds, in closets, in the basement, etc. --- these concerns are based on world pictures which are every bit as complete and correct as the existing climate models generating the global warming concerns. The "validity" of children's concerns is probably greater --- they are honestly afraid. The scientific community's ethics was significantly corrupted by the funding cornucopia of WWII and the Cold War --- "scare the hell out of people and watch the money roll in."

The UCS is working off a guilty conscience over the Manhattan Project, among other things. Of all groups, this should be the one to recognize the hazards involved in stampeding the public with scare tactics intended to generate funding --- J H Xist! We actually dropped the product from the Manhattan Project on people! And here they go again "Runaway warming!" Were the world's climate such an unstable system that "runaway" is possible, it woulda happened long ago. The "runaway" argument is pure male bovine waste product --- cut it 10 or 20 to 1 before applying to your front yard, or you'll burn the grass.

I promote this concept myself from time to time --- then the reality of the scientific community's qualifications to govern raises its ugly head, and I have to stick with leaving the thieves, thugs, mopes, and dopes in office to handle the dirty chores.

Ahh, come on, Ivan --- no one with an ounce of sense has ever owned OFP as an investment --- it's discretionary recreational income disposal --- you know it's going to get washed or blown away on a fairly regular timeframe. Just like building in floodplains --- the gamble is that you get your money's worth in recreational benefits, or agricultural productivity, between disasters.
In a nutshell, your position is generally anti-science. Thanks.
 
  • #17
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
In a nutshell, your position is generally anti-science. Thanks.
You got it backward --- my position is that scientists should stick to science rather than politics, and that politicians should stick to politics rather than science. Tain't been the case since the end of the second world war --- and will probably never be the case again --- money is extremely addictive --- but, one can try now and again to remind the scientific community of the pre-war ethical standards which earned the high public regard now being traded for cash.
 
  • #18
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The fact is that as WWII showed, politicians CAN'T ignore science. Therefore scientists can't ignore politics either.
 
  • #19
If scientists should stay out of politics, should carpenters, teachers, restaurants owners, bricklayers, and navigators stay out of politics?
 
  • #20
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
The fact is that as WWII showed, politicians CAN'T ignore science. Therefore scientists can't ignore politics either.
Unfortunately, it didn't convince politicians they need to listen to scientists.
 
  • #21
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Politicians have one way to look at and cope with the universe. It's mostly dependent on people. Scientists have another way, and it mostly ignores people. The two groups have to interact, but it is next to impossible for them to communicate, and not all the fault is on the politicians' side. Look at the hash the scientists made of trying to defend the super collider. Whenever they try to do something political they come off as arrogant and stubborn.
 
  • #22
Zero
Originally posted by selfAdjoint
Politicians have one way to look at and cope with the universe. It's mostly dependent on people. Scientists have another way, and it mostly ignores people. The two groups have to interact, but it is next to impossible for them to communicate, and not all the fault is on the politicians' side. Look at the hash the scientists made of trying to defend the super collider. Whenever they try to do something political they come off as arrogant and stubborn.
Well, politicians have to depend on votes, and financial contributions. Pure science is a far distant concern for them, especially science that either doesn't resonate with their constituancy, or has long term effects that can be delayed until after the next election.
 
  • #23
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As reported: Scientist 'gagged'

Downing Street tried to muzzle the Government's top scientific adviser after he warned that global warming was a more serious threat than international terrorism.

Ivan Rogers, Mr Blair's principal private secretary, told Sir David King, the Prime Minister's chief scientist, to limit his contact with the media after he made outspoken comments about President George Bush's policy on climate change.

In January, Sir David wrote a scathing article in the American journal Science attacking Washington for failing to take climate change seriously. "In my view, climate change is the most severe problem we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism," he wrote.

Support for Sir David's view came yesterday from Hans Blix, the former United Nations chief weapons inspector, who said the environment was at least as important a threat as global terrorism. He told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost: "I think we still overestimate the danger of terror. There are other things that are of equal, if not greater, magnitude, like the environmental global risks."[continued]
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=499013 [Broken]
 
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  • #24
kat
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Originally posted by Zero
Well, politicians have to depend on votes, and financial contributions. Pure science is a far distant concern for them, especially science that either doesn't resonate with their constituancy, or has long term effects that can be delayed until after the next election.
Could you do me a small favor and give a points list (a,b,c, or 1,2,3) on what constitutes "pure" science in your opinion?
 
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  • #25
FZ+
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Science that is hard to justify in terms of technological application. Eg. the supercollider. Science for the sake of knowledge, rather than practical application.
 

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