The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Anti-science Saturday

This is a lengthy article that attempts to catalogue the Bush administration's aggressive efforts to squelch hard science while limiting the discourse to corporate-funded "experts," or as Al Franken refers to them, biostitutes.

Global warming and reproductive health are the most obvious targets of their wrath, with a strong third front aimed at biologists/hydrologists/geologists who criticize the results of stripmining and mountaintop removal. It's just one more area in which the GOP is committed to shaping policy on corporate interests rather than the welfare of the nation. As the following excerpt demonstrates, the corporatist ideology of the administration extends right down the line to child lead poisoning. Great bunch o' guys.

A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, titled Scientific Integrity in Policymaking, identifies policy issues being unfairly influenced by the administration: including climate change, mercury emissions, reproductive health, lead poisoning in children, workplace safety, and nuclear weapons.

“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.

Knobloch says that the panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on lead poisoning planned to strengthen the lead poisoning regulations in early 2004, in response to science showing that smaller amounts than previously understood could cause brain damage in children. Before the panel could act, former 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.

The Bush administration also influences policy debates by editing scientific reports to censor information that disagrees with its ideology, as was the case with two major reports from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2002 and 2003.