Everything’s Ideological–Even Science

More than 4000 scientists, 48 of them Nobel Prize winners, got together to blast the BA’s politicization of science for ideological reasons. 4000 of them.

WASHINGTON — More than 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel Prize winners and 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences, accused the Bush administration Thursday of distorting and suppressing science to suit its political goals.”Across a broad range of policy areas, the administration has undermined the quality and independence of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government’s outstanding scientific personnel,” the scientists said in a letter.

Admin spokesmen ‘completely reject’ the idea that they’re tampering with inconvenient scientific facts to bolster ideological dogma (which they’d better if they want to keep their jobs) but the evidence is piling up.

Dr. Gerald T. Keusch, who left his post as associate director for international research and director of the John E. Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, said the Department of Health and Human Services had rejected 19 of his 26 candidates for the center’s board over three years. Among the 19 was a Nobel laureate who, Keusch said he was told, was turned down because his name had appeared in newspaper ads accusing the administration of manipulating science.

Among the Keusch nominees rejected by the HHS was Jane Menken, a population expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder who had served on scientific advisory boards under President Reagan and the first President Bush. “I was being renominated and I was turned down,” she said. “No official ever gave me any reason.”Contrary to the Bush administration, Menken supports the availability of legal abortions. She said that given her qualifications and those of two colleagues rejected with her, one a Nobel laureate, “it’s very hard not to reach a conclusion that it was based on something different from scientific qualifications.”

Janet Rowley, a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics, said she had seen the misuse of science firsthand.”This administration distorts scientific knowledge on stem cell research, which makes it increasingly difficult to have an honest debate in a field that holds promise for treatment of many serious diseases like Parkinson’s and juvenile diabetes,” Rowley said. She added that the administration, which opposes research with most embryonic stem cells, had exaggerated the usefulness of adult stem cells.

Richard Myers, director of the Stanford Human Genome Center, said he was rejected for a seat on the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research after he told an administration official that it was inappropriate to ask him his opinion of Bush, according to the report compiled by the Union of Concerned Scientists. He later received the post after an NIH director interceded on his behalf.

They’ve altered websites that didn’t follow the Party Line, re-written reports to alter unacceptable conclusions, and fired scientists who thought facts were more important that radcon ideology. They’ve blocked appointments on the basis of a question they shouldn’t even be asking, and taken the decision about who goes to scientific conferences out of the hands of dept and agency heads and put it into the hands of a political operative who vets them based on their belief in Bush.

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that an Admin willing to lie about everything else wants to lie about science as well, but it is. There are some things you don’t mess with for the sake of larger issues. But then the BA has no larger issues. This is about ideology and always has been.

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