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60 Top Scientists Accuse White House of Manipulating Scientific Reports

More than 60 top scientists - including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisors to past Republican presidents - accuse the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes.
Posted on Thu, Feb. 19, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C.

White House accused of suppressing science

More than 60 top scientists accuse the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes.

BY SETH BORENSTEIN

WASHINGTON - A group of more than 60 top U.S. scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and several science advisors to past Republican presidents, on Wednesday accused the Bush administration of manipulating and censoring science for political purposes.

In a 46-page report and an open letter, the scientists accused the administration of ''suppressing, distorting or manipulating the work done by scientists at federal agencies'' in several cases. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a liberal advocacy group based in Cambridge, Mass., organized the effort, but many of the critics aren't associated with it.

White House science advisor John Marburger III called the charges ''like a conspiracy theory report, and I just don't buy that.'' But he added that ``given the prestige of some of the individuals who have signed on to this, I think they deserve additional response, and we're coordinating something.''

The protesting scientists welcomed his response.

''If an administration of whatever political persuasion ignores scientific reality, they do so at great risk to the country,'' said Stanford University physicist W.H.K. Panofsky, who served on scientific advisory councils in the Eisenhower, Johnson and Carter administrations. ``There is no clear understanding in the [Bush] administration that you cannot bend science and technology to policy.''

The report charges that administration officials have:

Ordered massive changes to a section on global warming in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 2003 Report on the Environment. Eventually, the entire section was dropped.

Replaced a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet on proper condom use with a warning emphasizing condom failure rates.

Ignored advice from top Department of Energy nuclear materials experts who cautioned that aluminum tubes being imported by Iraq weren't suitable for use to make nuclear weapons.

Established political litmus tests for scientific advisory boards. In one case, public-health experts were removed from a CDC lead paint panel and replaced with researchers who had financial ties to the lead industry.

Suppressed a U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist's finding that potentially harmful bacteria float in the air surrounding large hog farms.

Excluded scientists who have received federal grants from regulatory advisory panels while permitting the appointment of scientists from regulated industries.

''I don't recall it ever being so blatant in the past,'' said Princeton physicist Val Fitch, a 1980 Nobel Prize winner who served on a Nixon administration science advisory committee.

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It is much worse than they admit 20.Feb.2004 08:30

someone

This is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. A friend of mine has worked as a scientist at the EPA for years and he says his future employment is threatened over the political thumb now pressing down on any scientific findings the politicos find inconvenient.
He says the twisting of the truth is so overwhelming that he is becoming emotionally distraught and physically ill over the pressures being exerted in this effort to change basic scientific findings and force employees to rubber stamp the lies.

Science for all the people 20.Feb.2004 14:20

1871

If US intellectuals and US scientists really cared, they would be all out in a general strike in the streets just like the French lawyers fed up with those who want to give more privileges to the rich and powerful - the so-called NEW WORLD ORDER. (Can you just imagine US lawyers doing a thing like ?!!!!)
The world knows of the nazi connections of the Bush family and the US import of nazis after the WWII...
THe world knows that elections in the States are a farce...The world knows that 9-11 was a coup... so, what is stopping the educated especially and the citizens - who all know that the planet is in danger from organizing a GENERAL STRIKE and a people's court to bring to justice those who are dictating the policies of death and distruction.

With Liberty an Justice for Sale! 20.Feb.2004 15:46

Bird dog

The words might as well reflect the truth!

O'Reilly Factor 21.Feb.2004 12:11

Robert Ted Hinds

This reminds me of a comment Bill O'Reilly made last week when discussing the efforts of a Univeristy of Texas conservative student group to make sure that the "conservative argument" gets included in the "liberal" pedogagy of college professors, who he claims warp or distort information based on their "liberal" agendae.

Said Bill in his infinite wisdom (paraphrasing), "If college professors and PhD's aren't trying to promote a liberal agenda, then why do 95% of college professors vote democratic?"

For a second I imagined myself as the obligatory, quasi-liberal, TV guest with glee at how Mr. O'Reilly had set himself up to be clobbered. I wondered how many of the O'Reilly Factor fanbase paused to ask themselves why the absolute majority of the nation's most highly educated people (who choose to work in education rather than private industry for much more money) vote against Republican candidates and policies. Could it be they vote Democratic, because they are extremely well educated and intelligent and therefore better able to see the error in Republican policies?

I waited for the "liberal" guest to send Bill down like Ali over Liston... But he let him off the ropes... The campus Republican got the last word, and another episode of the Propaganda Factor wrapped up as the streaming messages at the bottom of the screen led to commercial with optimistic data about Bush's economic recovery.