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Old 2007-03-31, 15:47   #23
Prime95
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Cheesehead, I've not fundamentally opposed anything you've said. Many Republicans in leadership positions have abused the scientific method. My point of contention is that by framing the debate as the "Republican War on Science", it implies that most or all Republicans are of that mind-set and/or that the Democrats are the party of truth and logic. Neither implication is correct.

Zeta, I don't have the links handy, but the Bush administration has instituted a policy where scientific studies are reviewed by political appointees before being published or presented at conferences. These political types look for conclusions that are contrary to administration policy and then water down the conclusions - such as replacing "clearly shows" with "could be construed" and then suggesting further research. The global warming scientist cheesehead referred to is the most well-known victim of this policy.

Quote:
Remember Bush's assertion that "more than sixty genetically diverse" stem cell lines existed for researchers to work on when he forbade use of any others?
Nitpicking: He did not forbid their use. He forbid the use of Federal research dollars on stem cells that were not from these 60 lines. Since most research has some Federal backing, the result was about the same as an outright ban.


Cheesehead, you've left out one of my favorites: Star Wars. The science shows that the current systems will not be very effective, yet there is a strong push to build it based on one or two rather contrived test launches.
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Old 2007-03-31, 18:06   #24
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Which scientific studies? Which political appointees? Which conferences?
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Old 2007-03-31, 20:55   #25
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James Hansen is the NASA scientist (educated at the University of Iowa) who claimed that attempts were made to limit his contacts with the media:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/sc...pagewanted=all

The other prominent example is Philip Cooney, who admitted editing scientific reports on March 20 in testimony before a Congressional committee. "My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration," he is quoted as saying. This 2005 article gives more details on Cooney's activities when he served as chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/08/po...0731d8&ei=5090

A former oil industry lobbyist, Cooney resigned a few days after this article was published and has worked for Exxon-Mobil since then.
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Old 2007-04-04, 07:59   #26
cheesehead
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeta-Flux View Post
The only one I remember of these is Bush's position on stem cell research. If I recall correctly (which I might not) his justification was that it went against his belief (and those of his constituents) that life should be protected. From your previous answers, I think there is probably more to this story that you don't find palatable.
I wrote, "Remember Bush's assertion that 'more than sixty genetically diverse' stem cell lines existed for researchers to work on when he forbade use of any others?", not "Remember Bush's opposition to stem cell research based on moral objections?"

The "more than sixty" part is false, and any competent stem cell researcher would have told Bush that the actual number was insufficient for research, _if_ Bush were interested in the truth about it. He gave the false impression that there were enough cell lines for research already existing so that more (from embryos) were unnecessary, and it's anti-science whether he was ignorant (because he didn't bother getting correct advice) or not (and therefore he was deceptive).

Did Bush issue a correction, and reconsider the decision, after being informed of the discrepancy ... as one might expect in the case of simple ignorance?

This item is planned to appear in the grand amalgamated info I'm preparing for this thread.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2007-04-04 at 08:24
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Old 2007-04-04, 08:20   #27
cheesehead
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prime95 View Post
My point of contention is that by framing the debate as the "Republican War on Science",
During the Clinton administration, it was the Republican majority in Congress that did the deeds. During the Bush administration, it's been the Repubs in both branches. When I post the list I'm compiling, I think you'll see what I mean.

Meanwhile, peruse "The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science", the Union of Concerned Scientists' take at
http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_int...political.html. Let me know the ratio of Dems' misdeeds listed there compared to Repubs', if you wish. (I haven't counted.)

Quote:
it implies that most or all Republicans are of that mind-set
It doesn't have to be all Republicans -- just the ones in leadership plus the failure of others to try to stop them.

Or did I miss some anguished cry from the Republican party masses about this issue?

Quote:
that the Democrats are the party of truth and logic.
It's the Democrats that passed HR 985. See vote totals I posted above, and particularly my comments on amendments offered. If Republicans were concerned about political interference with science, they certainly chose a very peculiar way of showing it!

Quote:
Nitpicking: He did not forbid their use.
I should have written "... in federally-funded research" or something like that, but, as I replied to Zeta-Flux, that wasn't my point.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2007-04-04 at 08:34
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Old 2009-03-11, 08:42   #28
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Default Obama memo - Subject: scientific integrity

"Obama Administration Follows UCS Recommendations to Protect Scientific Integrity"

("UCS" = Union of Concerned Scientists)

http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_rel...lows-0205.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by Francesca Grifo
WASHINGTON (March 9, 2009)—Today President Obama issued a memorandum that follows Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recommendations to prevent the abuse, manipulation and suppression of federal science.

The following is a statement by Dr. Francesca Grifo, director of the UCS's Scientific Integrity Program:

"Just a few years ago, almost 15,000 scientists across the country signed a UCS-sponsored statement denouncing the politicization of federal science, and today's memorandum is proof that the Obama administration heard their cry. Federal policy decisions that affect public health and the environment must be based on robust scientific analysis free of political interference and manipulation.

"UCS surveys at nine agencies have documented that, over the past eight years, federal scientists have been working in a climate of fear and intimidation. For example, 60 percent of the EPA scientists who filled out a 2007 survey said they personally experienced at least one instance of political interference in their work over the previous five years.

"We've reached an important milestone in restoring scientific integrity to federal decision making, but a lot of work remains to be done to ensure interference does not occur in the future. I'm hoping the administration works with Congress to adopt new laws, such as whistleblower protections, that will ensure future administrations cannot commit the kinds of abuses we've seen over the last eight years."

The memorandum:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Memorandum-for-the-Heads-of-Executive-Departments-and-Agencies-3-9-09/

Quote:
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

SUBJECT: Scientific Integrity

Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.

The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.

By this memorandum, I assign to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Director) the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch's involvement with scientific and technological processes. The Director shall confer, as appropriate, with the heads of executive departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget and offices and agencies within the Executive Office of the President (collectively, the "agencies"), and recommend a plan to achieve that goal throughout the executive branch.

Specifically, I direct the following:

1. Within 120 days from the date of this memorandum, the Director shall develop recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch, based on the following principles:

(a) The selection and retention of candidates for science and technology positions in the executive branch should be based on the candidate's knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity;

(b) Each agency should have appropriate rules and procedures to ensure the integrity of the scientific process within the agency;

(c) When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, the information should be subject to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where appropriate, and each agency should appropriately and accurately reflect that information in complying with and applying relevant statutory standards;

(d) Except for information that is properly restricted from disclosure under procedures established in accordance with statute, regulation, Executive Order, or Presidential Memorandum, each agency should make available to the public the scientific or technological findings or conclusions considered or relied on in policy decisions;

(e) Each agency should have in place procedures to identify and address instances in which the scientific process or the integrity of scientific and technological information may be compromised; and

(f) Each agency should adopt such additional procedures, including any appropriate whistleblower protections, as are necessary to ensure the integrity of scientific and technological information and processes on which the agency relies in its decisionmaking or otherwise uses or prepares.

2. Each agency shall make available any and all information deemed by the Director to be necessary to inform the Director in making recommendations to the President as requested by this memorandum. Each agency shall coordinate with the Director in the development of any interim procedures deemed necessary to ensure the integrity of scientific decisionmaking pending the Director's recommendations called for by this memorandum.

3. (a) Executive departments and agencies shall carry out the provisions of this memorandum to the extent permitted by law and consistent with their statutory and regulatory authorities and their enforcement mechanisms.

(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

4. The Director is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA


Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-03-11 at 08:43
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Old 2009-03-11, 08:53   #29
cheesehead
 
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For those who haven't followed the link in post #27 to "The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science", here's just one example (linked from the M box at right side of the "periodic table"'s second row) of a Bush administration policy (which Dr. Drew Shindell called “a measure unbefitting a democratic society.”)

http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_int...quired-at.html

Quote:
Press "Minders" Required at Scientists’ Interviews

A new development over the past five years is the use of “minders” by federal agency public affairs offices. The term is used by some scientists to describe public affairs officials who are assigned to listen in on scientists’ interviews with the media. With restrictive media policies selectively enforced, some climate change scientists have been more actively “minded” than others.

Dr. Pieter Tans, chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Global Monitoring Division (previously the Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory), was one scientist who was monitored very actively by NOAA. The press officer assigned to be Tans’ “minder” was Kent Laborde.

Tans had been accustomed for many years to making his own appointments for press interviews under NOAA’s previous “notification and recap” policy. Under the previous policy, scientists were expected to keep the NOAA press office informed when they planned to give interviews, and brief the office about interviews after they took place.

But by 2004, media policies at NOAA had tightened. In October 2004, BBC science correspondent David Shukman contacted Tans to request a series of broadcast interviews. Tans complied with NOAA’s new regulations and asked his agency’s public affairs office to approve the interview request. According to Tans, it took four months, until February 2005, for NOAA’s public affairs office to grant permission for him to give the BBC interviews. Event then, approval was granted only on the condition that Kent Laborde be physically present at the interview.

Kent Laborde flew from NOAA’s headquarters in Washington, DC, to Boulder, Colorado and then to Mauna Loa, Hawaii, in order to be present for Shukman’s two BBC interviews with Dr. Tans on March 22 and 24, 2005. When Shukman again requested an interview with Tans a year later, on February 1, 2006, the interview was again approved only on the condition that Laborde be present.

Dr. Tans asked Laborde if he was required to report to anyone about the interviews. Laborde replied that he did not report the proceedings to anyone. Tans found it unusual that the NOAA public affairs office would allocate funds for such extensive travel, at taxpayer expense, for a press officer simply to sit in on a media interview and not report on the proceedings.

At least three other scientists at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory had media requests approved by NOAA only on the condition that press officer Laborde be present at or listen in on their interviews.

Monitoring requirements were not limited to NOAA. NASA climatologist Dr. Drew Shindell testified before Congress that in the fall of 2004 NASA began requiring press officers to monitor all interviews, either in person or on the phone. Dr. Shindell called the policy “a measure unbefitting a democratic society.”
If you did look at the "A to Z Guide" back when this thread was active in 2007, you still might be interested in seeing what's been added since then. There's a timeline at http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_int...-timeline.html

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2009-03-11 at 09:03
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Old 2010-10-06, 18:29   #30
cheesehead
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
"Obama Administration Follows UCS Recommendations to Protect Scientific Integrity"

("UCS" = Union of Concerned Scientists)

http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_rel...lows-0205.html


The memorandum:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Memorandum-for-the-Heads-of-Executive-Departments-and-Agencies-3-9-09/

And now we have one of the results (though this was in the works before the memorandum):

U.S. Department of the Interior

Press Release

"Salazar Issues Secretarial Order to Ensure Integrity of Scientific Process in Departmental Decision-Making"

http://www.doi.gov/news/pressrelease...ion-Making.cfm

Quote:
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today issued a Secretarial Order establishing a policy to ensure the integrity of the science and scientific products used in the Department’s decision-making and policy development.

“The American people must have confidence that the Department of the Interior is basing its decisions on the best available science and that the scientific process is free of misconduct or improper influence,” Salazar said. “This policy clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all department employees, including career staff and political appointees, in upholding principles of scientific integrity and conduct.”

The new policy, which will be codified in the Departmental Manual to ensure compliance by all employees, clearly affirms that Interior employees, political and career, will never suppress scientific or technological findings or conclusions. Further, it ensures scientists will not be coerced to alter or censure scientific findings, and employees will be protected if they uncover and report scientific misconduct by career or political staff.

The new policy is consistent with the Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity, dated March, 9, 2009, and will conform with the expected 2010 guidance and recommendations of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The Department has been working on a policy on scientific integrity for a number of years. The Department put out a draft for public comment in 2010, and many commenters noted that it did not sufficiently address scientific conduct by political appointees or use of scientific information in decision-making.
(This commenter response was the result of an appeal by the Union of Concerned Scientists.)

Quote:
The policy directive issued by Secretary Salazar today clearly applies the same standards of conduct to both political appointees and career appointees and forbids the alteration of scientific findings in policy-making activities.

The policy covers all departmental employees when they engage in, supervise or manage scientific activities, analyze and/or publicly communicate information resulting from scientific activities, or use this information or analyses in making agency policy, management or regulatory decisions. It also covers all contractors, cooperators, partners, volunteers, and permitees who assist with scientific activities.

The secretarial order, whose implementation will be overseen by Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes, incorporates the following principles:
  • The Interior Department values science and science plays a vital role in helping us meet the department’s mission. As such, when scientific or technological information is considered in decision making, the information will be as robust, of the highest quality, and the result of rigorous scientific processes as can be achieved within the available decision time-frame.
  • Interior Bureaus and Offices will document and make available to the public the scientific or technological findings or conclusions considered or relied on in decision making, except for information that is properly restricted from disclosure under procedures established in accordance with statute, regulation, Executive Order, or Presidential Memorandum.
  • The selection and retention of candidates for science and technology positions and positions that are decision making in nature where those decisions rely on scientific information to inform the process, shall be based on the candidate's knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.
  • Clear and unambiguous codes of conduct for scientific activities and use of science in decision making will establish expectations of employees with regard to scientific integrity. Misconduct will not be tolerated. Allegations of misconduct will be investigated and disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.
  • Interior will identify, address, track, and resolve instances in which the scientific process or the integrity of scientific and technological information may be compromised.
  • Interior will establish procedures and as appropriate, clarify whistleblower protections to ensure the integrity of scientific and technological information and processes on which the agency relies in its decision making or otherwise uses or prepares.
  • Interior scientists have rights as citizens and responsibilities as government employees. These rights and responsibilities with regard to communication with the public will be clearly delineated.
  • Interior encourages the enhancement of scientific integrity through engagement with the communities of practice represented by professional societies. Interior scientists, scholars and other professionals are encouraged to engage in scientific, scholarly and other activities with these professional networks. These Interior employees will recuse themselves when appropriate and avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest.
Click here to view the signed Secretarial Order and here to view a text version of the Secretarial Order.
To those of you objecting to the characterization of "The Republican War on Science": Why weren't this memorandum and order, or something in the same spirit, issued eight years earlier, during the Bush administration?

If Democrat really and truly had previously been just as abusive of science as Republicans, as you seem desperately to want to claim, then why didn't Republicans issue such orders to stop political interference in scientific matters when they were in power? If the Democratic abuses really and truly existed so significantly as you claim, why in the world would Republicans refrain from ordering a clear and comprehensive stop to political interference with science -- if Republicans understood and defended the basic principles of science, that is?

The evidence is clear; it was -- and still is -- overwhelmingly the Republican side of the aisle that tries to deny and distort science for political purposes. The current Republican wall of universal AGW denials by candidates running for election this fall is just the latest demonstration of mass ignorance, and willing distortion, of science (not to mention susceptibility to fossil-fuel company propaganda) by so many people who have a conservative worldview.

Let me explain that I'm not saying the conservative worldview is false; I'm saying that the conservative worldview starts out okay, but has the unfortunate weakness of lending itself to purveyors of mass delusions such as that the conservative worldview is the only valid worldview, that non-conservatives are morally inferior to conservatives, and that science must bow to religion or to political goals when there's a conflict. The conservative side has a valid place in society, but needs to rid itself of such delusions.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-10-06 at 18:54
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Old 2010-10-06, 19:42   #31
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Well, to be fair, one of the news stories today is how the Obama administration blocked scientists from reporting worst-case figures for the spill. So they are not as saintly as you are making them out. But still they are a lot lot better than Bush 2.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101006/...gulf_oil_spill
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Old 2010-10-06, 21:31   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
To those of you objecting to the characterization of "The Republican War on Science": Why weren't this memorandum and order, or something in the same spirit, issued eight years earlier, during the Bush administration?
I don't understand the argument here. Why wasn't it proposed twelve years earlier, during the Clinton administration? Why not twenty years earlier, or thirty? The same can be said for any bill or proposal. "We didn't get around to it", "we didn't have the political capital", and "we hadn't thought of it" are pretty usual occurrences.

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Old 2010-10-06, 22:40   #33
cheesehead
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
I don't understand the argument here. Why wasn't it proposed twelve years earlier, during the Clinton administration?
Because before 2000, we never saw such a concerted comprehensive program of political interference.

Quote:
Why not twenty years earlier, or thirty?
Because back then, there had not yet been an example as gross as we saw after 2000.

Quote:
The same can be said for any bill or proposal. "We didn't get around to it", "we didn't have the political capital", and "we hadn't thought of it" are pretty usual occurrences.
... except that in this case, there's a simpler and stronger explanation: there had not been such an example before 2000.
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