[Marxism] They Blinded Us With Science

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 4 12:32:14 MST 2006


(The Cuban media frequently uses material from the U.S. media.)
================================================================

POLITICS-US:
They Blinded Us With Science
Stephen Leahy
http://www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2006/03/04/interna/artic06.html
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32201

BROOKLIN, Canada, Feb 17 (IPS) - Evidence is mounting that U.S.
scientists have been prevented by the George W. Bush administration
from telling the truth about global warming and other environmental
and health issues.

In January, one of the United States' leading scientists, James
Hansen, accused the administration of keeping scientific information
about climate change from reaching the public.

Hansen, director of the National Aeronautics and Space
Administration's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said scientists
researching climate change at NASA and the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are being gagged.

"It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United
States," Hansen was reported as saying at a public panel about
science and the environment Feb. 10 in New York City.

Last fall, administration officials ordered Hansen to remove data
from the Internet that suggested 2005 could be the warmest year on
record. A few months later, 2005 was confirmed as the warmest ever by
several scientific institutions. Officials have also prevented
journalists from interviewing the scientist about his research.

"Things are even worse at NOAA and the Environmental Protection
Agency," Hansen said in a television interview.

NOAA has consistently discounted any connection to global warming in
its scientific summaries about the record number and destructiveness
of hurricanes in 2005, despite ample evidence of a likely connection
from other leading climate scientists. On Wednesday, NOAA announced
that several of its scientists disagreed with that official position.

"The Bush administration rejects the scientific method," said Lewis
Lapham, the editor of Harper's Magazine and author of the recent book
"Gag Rule", which looks at how the U.S. government suppresses dissent
and stifles democracy.

"Global warming doesn't fit into their current belief structure,"
Lapham told IPS.

The United States is entering into an era where faith is more
important than fact and dissent is considered betrayal, he said. When
it comes to research, the current administration has gone well beyond
the traditional practice of politicians fudging the numbers to get
the results they want, Lapham noted.

"If science doesn't prove what it's been told to prove, then they
(the Bush administration) believe it has been tampered with by Satan
or the Democratic Party," he said.

Two years ago, 60 prominent scientists signed a petition stating that
unless their views or evidence complied with the ideology of the Bush
administration, their testimony was ignored or dismissed. Since then
more than 8,500 scientists have also signed that petition.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a U.S.-based alliance of
scientists and citizens, has said that Pres. Bush has consistently
misrepresented the findings of the National Academy of Sciences,
government scientists, and the expert community on climate change.

The UCS has compiled a compelling list of instances of political
interference in research, including the removal of highly qualified
scientists from advisory committees dealing with childhood lead
poisoning, environmental and reproductive health, and drug abuse.
Those scientists were then replaced by individuals associated with or
working for industries subject to regulation.

Funding has also been withheld from scientists who have been
outspoken or pursue research that may contradict White House policy.

Scientists investigating the environmental impact of hydrogen fuel
cells lost their funding from NASA after their preliminary research
indicated a potential to cause serious environmental damage. The Bush
administration has heavily promoted and financed research into
hydrogen fuel cells as a future replacement for gasoline-powered
vehicles.

Early this month, the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency,
refused to continue to fund an Oregon State University study that
suggested that logging was not the best way to restore national
forests burned by wildfires. The Bush administration has strongly
supported the logging industry's contention that this so-called
"salvage logging" was good for forest ecology and to prevent future
fires.

"Science has always been influenced by the politics of the day,"
noted Stephen Bocking, an associate professor of Environmental
Studies at Canada's Trent University.

In the 1950s and 1960s, chemical companies persuaded governments to
fund research into the use of chemicals in agriculture. In the 1980s
and 1990s, many of the same companies used their influence to get
public monies to do research on genetically engineered (GE) crops,
Bocking said in an interview.

Corporate influence over government has always been present, but
Bocking acknowledges that influence is stronger than ever. For
example, much of the public research carried out in areas like
agriculture only meets the needs of large corporations.

Although it would serve the public good, neither the Canadian nor the
U.S. governments have spent adequate research dollars on the
environmental impacts of GE organisms, critics say.

Outright attempts by governments to muzzle scientists doing public
research is not that common, Bocking said. "There are much more
subtle ways to direct research."

Decisions about what projects are funded, for how long, the
methodology used, and the assumptions made all influence the eventual
outcome, he says: "Research results tends to reflect who's paying for
it."

This has nothing to do with scientists' personal integrity, he
insists. The ample proof is that credible scientists financed by
pharmaceutical companies have produced results that were later
overturned by publicly-funded scientists.

Publicly-funded research is critical to counterbalance
corporate-financed research, he said. And much more of the former is
needed.

"Decisions about publicly-funded research should also be made in
collaboration with scientists and the public," Bocking concluded.
(END/2006)





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