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Back to Reality (undoing Bushco's damage to science)

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:08 AM
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Back to Reality (undoing Bushco's damage to science)

December 2, 2008, 10:00 PM
Back to Reality

President-elect Obama already has a long to-do list. But heres another item for it: to restore science in government.

The most notable characteristic of the Bush administrations science policy has been the repeated distortion and suppression of scientific evidence in order to fit ideological preferences about how the world should be, rather than how it is.

In his disturbing book Undermining Science: Suppression and Distortion in the Bush Administration, the journalist Seth Shulman describes case after case of intimidation of scientists in government posts, the suppression of scientific evidence and the perpetuation of misinformation.

The fields affected range from climate change to public health. Although some incidents are small in and of themselves, the cumulative effect is horrifying. Shulman also catalogs a long list of established government scientists who, during the course of the Bush administration, resigned their posts in despair.

more: /


However, the beauty of the scientific approach is that even when individuals do succumb to bias or partiality, others can correct them using a framework of evidence that everyone broadly agrees on. (Admittedly, this can sometimes be a slow process.) But arguing over data is different from suppressing it. Or changing it. Or ignoring it. For these activities debase the whole enterprise and threaten its credibility. When data cant be accessed or trusted, when facts are actually illusions well, this threatens the nature of knowledge itself. And a society without knowledge is steering blind.
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