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Friday, July 09, 2004

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 New Cases of Scientific Abuse by Administration Emerge

In the mid twentieth century advances in Soviet biology and genetics were set back decades by Lysenko's state-sponsored theories on evolution. Under Lysenko's guidance, science was guided not by the most likely theories, backed by appropriately controlled experiments, but by the desired ideology. Science was practiced in the service of the State, or more precisely, in the service of ideology. The results were predictable: the steady deterioration of Soviet biology. Lysenko's methods were not condemned by the Soviet scientific community until 1965, more than a decade after Stalin's death.

Today the Union of Concerned Scientists released new evidence that the Bush Administration continues to suppress and distort scientific knowledge and undermine scientific advisory panels in a manner that would make Stalin and Lysenko smile.

The new cases released by the Union of Concerned Scientists detail incidents of suppression and distortion of scientific knowledge on a range of policy issues. These new incidents have been corroborated through in-depth interviews and internal government documents, including some documents released through the Freedom of Information Act. Examples of scientific malfeasance include:
  • Egregious disregard of scientific study, across several agencies, regarding the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal mining;
  • Censorship and distortion of scientific analysis, and manipulation of the scientific process, across several issues and agencies in regard to the Endangered Species Act;
  • Distortion of scientific knowledge in decisions about emergency contraception; and
  • New evidence about the use of political litmus tests for scientific advisory panel appointees.
  • The number of scientists calling for an end to these practices and restoration of scientific integrity in federal policymaking now totals more than 4,000, including 48 Nobel laureates, 62 National Medal of Science recipients, and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences. A number of these scientists have served in multiple administrations, both Democratic and Republican't, underscoring the unprecedented nature of the Bush administration’s practices and demonstrating that the issues of scientific integrity transcend partisan politics.

    This cartoon would be funny, if it didn't cut so close to the bone.

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