In December of 2006, some 10,000 US researchers signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process. In other words, the politicians were manipulating the scientific outcomes of research in order to sell their own agenda to the people. The statement, which included the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demanded a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy. These scientists were tired of being forced to have their research line up with the outcome that the government wanted. According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, their research data is being misrepresented for political reasons. The statement claims that scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives. Basically, these scientists are whistle blowers, who stand to lose their funding because they won’t play ball anymore, but science whose outcome is manipulated by politics isn’t science anymore anyway, is it.
In the statement the Union released, it included an “A to Z” guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education. When Congress won’t stand up for scientific integrity, it left the door open for the White House to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security said, “It’s very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it’s even harder to make good public policy with bad science. In the last several years, we’ve seen an increase in both the misuse of science, and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources.”
The statement released at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting…the annual gathering of Earth scientists, triggered a major row when a discussion resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen claimed that he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues. Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views. Halpern said, “This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop.” With the statement of objection, the Union expressed a hopefulness that the new Congress taking office that January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process. Unfortunately, I don’t think that has been the case with that Congress, nor with any others. Manipulating science to control the population seems to be the political way of doing things.