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Old 2010-10-06, 22:47   #34
cheesehead
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garo View Post
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.
Straw man. I never said the Dems are without sin.

But they have never exhibited the broad, concerted effort to interfere with science that the Republicans did after 2000. When you or anyone else can document as many instances of Democratic interference in science as the UCS has of Republican interference (http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_int...political.html), then come back with that rejoinder. Little onesie-twosie instances are not the same.

- - -

Once again -- if Democrats had ever been anywhere near as bad as Republicans about political interference in science then why, oh why have we not seen any conservative compilation of such case documentation to match the UCS one, and why haven't we ever seen a Republican-led effort to legislatively and executively protect government scientists from political interference? At the very least, if such behavior were actually spread evenly between the two sides, the one-sidedness of documentation and counteraction would imply that Republicans don't care as much as Democrats about integrity in science!

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-10-06 at 23:03
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Old 2010-10-06, 23:14   #35
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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? 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.
Perhaps because such an order was not needed twelve or twenty years ago?

Thirty years ago - after Reagan appointed James "species don't matter" Watt as his interior secretary, and made a big show of removing the Carter-era solar panels from the White House roof (presumably because solar power was "socialist" and un-American) - yeah, we could have used such an order then.

Here is a snip from the above Wikipage on the anti-environmental, anti-science, religious-dogma-addled nightmare that was Reagan's appointee Watt - Notice under whom the interesting "record" set by Watt for non-conservation of species was broken:
Quote:
According to the environmental advocacy group Center for Biological Diversity, for over two decades, Watt held the record for protecting the fewest species under the Endangered Species Act in United States history. The record was broken by Dirk Kempthorne, a George W. Bush appointee who, as of August 27, 2007, had not listed a single species in the 15 months since his confirmation.[2]

Greg Wetstone, who was the chief environment council at the House Energy and Commerce Committee during the Reagan administration and later served as director of advocacy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Watt was one of the two most "intensely controversial and blatantly anti-environmental political appointees" in American history. (The other was Anne Gorsuch, head of the EPA at that time.)[3] According to the environmental groups, Watt decreased funding for environmental programs,[4] restructured the department to decrease federal regulatory power,[4] wished to eliminate the Land and Water Conservation Fund (which had been designed to increase the size of National Wildlife Refuges and other protected land),[4] eased regulations on oil[4] and mining[5][4] companies, and favored opening wilderness areas and shorelands for oil and gas leases.[4]

Watt resisted accepting donations of private land to be used for conservation purposes.[6] He suggested that all 80 million acres (320,000 km²) of undeveloped land in the United States be opened for drilling and mining in the year 2000.[6] The area leased to coal mining companies quintupled during his term as Secretary of the Interior.[6] Watt proudly boasted that he leased "a billion acres" (4 million km²) of U.S. coastal waters, even though only a small portion of that area would ever be drilled.[6] Watt once stated, "We will mine more, drill more, cut more timber."[7]

Watt periodically mentioned his Christian faith when discussing his approach to environmental management. Speaking before Congress, he once said, "I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."[8]
The last quote seems like a Freudian slip - he in effect says he believes as many extreme-right Christians do that the second coming is nigh ... which would explain his "Since it's all gonna burn in the purifyin' fire of Judgment Day, who cares? Drill, baby, drill!" attitude. The second part of the sentence is a non sequitur, it's as if an aide whispered in his ear "remember your job description, sir, and say some nice-sounding words about stewardship and such nonsense."

Jeez, what a douche.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2010-10-06 at 23:26
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Old 2010-10-06, 23:51   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Because before 2000, we never saw such a concerted comprehensive program of political interference.

Because back then, there had not yet been an example as gross as we saw after 2000.

... except that in this case, there's a simpler and stronger explanation: there had not been such an example before 2000.
Your arguments presuppose that which you seek to prove.
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Old 2010-10-06, 23:58   #37
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Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Perhaps because such an order was not needed twelve or twenty years ago?

Thirty years ago - after Reagan appointed James "species don't matter" Watt as his interior secretary, and made a big show of removing the Carter-era solar panels from the White House roof (presumably because solar power was "socialist" and un-American) - yeah, we could have used such an order then.
So the question remains, then. Why didn't any of the intervening administrations pass it? The mundane explanations I gave make much more sense than the sensationalistic ones discussed above.


Unrelated to the main point: I have serious misgivings about the value of listing species as endangered. There have been studies (including one recently; I'll Google for it if someone cares) showing that listing species has a statistically significant effect -- a decline! (Regression to the mean would have us expect an increase, ceteris paribus, if the list meant nothing...) This follows fairly readily from the strong private incentive to drive off endangered species from one's land, since if they're found the value of the land drops dramatically.

But of course I'm not arguing that Watt was acting in anything but mala fides, even if it turns out that not listing animals was in their benefit.
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Old 2010-10-07, 01:21   #38
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Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
So the question remains, then. Why didn't any of the intervening administrations pass it? The mundane explanations I gave make much more sense than the sensationalistic ones discussed above.
How many intervening administrations were there? Reagan was almost as anti-science as W. Bush ... Bush the Elder was actually (IMO) a decent, thoughtful Republican model, but being a Republican was not in a position to differ too loudly with his GOP-worshipped predecessor ... Clinton was good to science ... W. Bush was a disaster ... now you have an Obama-admin official in effect explicitly saying "we will not allow political interference with science of the kind that occurred in the previous administration."

In other words, starting with Reagan, this is the first occurrence of an extreme "make the science fit our agenda or suppress it" administration being followed by one of both a different attitude *and* of the other party.

Quote:
Unrelated to the main point: I have serious misgivings about the value of listing species as endangered. There have been studies (including one recently; I'll Google for it if someone cares) showing that listing species has a statistically significant effect -- a decline!
If those data you cite prove true, that would be an endangered-species analog of the counterintuitive effect established by a recent study, that cyclist who wear helmets may be at greater risk of serious injury than those who do not, apparently because motorists feel more comfortable driving riskily around the former.
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Old 2010-10-07, 06:42   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
Your arguments presuppose that which you seek to prove.
No, they don't.

I'm not seeking to prove anything.

The Republican anti-science actions are a matter of record. I don't have to "prove" them, though I do have to point them out to people who haven't previously noticed them.

Have you noticed that no one has "disproved" the Republican War on Science by offering data of equivalently broad Democratic political interference in science? (Again, occasional isolated examples do not match up to the broad concerted anti-science actions by the latest Bush administration.) That's because it's not "disprovable". Such an occurrence did not exist before 2000.
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Old 2010-10-07, 06:54   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
The mundane explanations I gave make much more sense than the sensationalistic ones discussed above.
Here's the challenge: present evidence that anything comparable in scope to the Republican War on Science occurred before 2000. Until you or someone else can, there's no "sensationalism" in stating that it's been Republicans who've conducted a systematic campaign of suppressing, and acting against, scientific evidence that went against their ideology when they've been in power.

Merely repeating a claim that Democrats were just as bad, or griping about a few isolated incidents without connection to an overall coordinated campaign, doesn't cut the mustard. Show us some documentation of a wide ideological campaign of suppression and denial, comparable in scope to the UCS documentation of Republican anti-science efforts, or quit whining when Republican malfeasance with regard to science is pointed out.

Also, remember: I'm talking about science, not the pseudoscience that so many Republicans are fond of. If you present pseudoscientific arguments against real scientific instances, I will point them out for what they are. Democrats aren't trying to get creationism into science classes.

Again: IF (1) Republicans actually cared as much about the integrity of science as Democrats (even if, in the Democrats' case, it's only because scientific reality happens not to contradict liberal ideology/worldview as much as it contradicts conservative ideology/worldview, not because of any intrinsically greater respect for integrity!) and (2) Democrats actually have conducted as much anti-science political activity as Republicans, then why haven't any Republicans bothered to document such a campaign of sweeping systematic ideologically-driven abuses?

Why would Republicans pass up such a juicy chance to slam Democrats with factual evidence of a comparably systematic "Democratic War on Science"?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-10-07 at 07:13
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Old 2010-10-07, 07:22   #41
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I've frequently complained about the conservative abandonment of fiscal responsibility since the late 1970s being a principle reason I say that the Republican party left me, rather than the reverse. That is, I favor fiscal conservatism, and the party that featured that when I was young has stopped doing so.

Well, Republican embracing of pseudoscience and anti-science is the other big party change I see since my youth, and it's my other big complaint about the deleterious change in Republican party principles that has left me out. I used to be proud of Republican principles, and vote Republican, when I was young, but I value reality more than I value party affiliation.
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Old 2010-10-07, 13:44   #42
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Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Here's the challenge
You're arguing against something I didn't say.
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Old 2010-10-07, 15:07   #43
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Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
You're arguing against something I didn't say.
Whoops. I left out the intermediate steps between what I thought when I read your statement and what I wrote in post #40.

So, here is the transition:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CRGreathouse View Post
So the question remains, then. Why didn't any of the intervening administrations pass it? The mundane explanations I gave make much more sense than the sensationalistic ones discussed above.
This seems to be in line with the general argument that the antiscience behaviors of the latest Bush administration were not out of the ordinary, that such behaviors had been seen in previous administrations, and that there was no special reason for the recent Democrat-led actions to protect scientists from political interference; that they could just as well have been taken by previous administrations if only it weren't for the mundane reasons.

As I've already claimed, the anti-science efforts of the recent Bush administration went significantly beyond what previous Republican (or Democratic) administrations did. This has, therefore, provided an impetus for corrective/protective actions that was not present before 2000.

To anyone who doesn't agree with my argument, I issue this challenge:

[ insert text from my post #40 here ]

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2010-10-07 at 15:10
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Old 2010-10-07, 15:56   #44
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That's a plausible explanation. I gave other plausible explanations. My claim is that mine, in total, are more likely. Of course yours is possible as well.
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