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Old 08-14-2004, 10:55 PM #1
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It's a Fact: Scientists Hate Bush

With more than 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel Prize winners, having signed a statement opposing the Bush administration's use of scientific advice, this election year is seeing a new development in the uneasy relationship between science and politics.

In the past, individual scientists and science organizations have occasionally piped up to oppose specific federal policies such as Ronald Reagan's Star Wars missile defense plan. But this is the first time that a broad spectrum of the scientific community has expressed opposition to a president's overall science policy.

Last November, President Bush gave physicist Richard Garwin a medal for his "valuable scientific advice on important questions of national security." Just three months later, Garwin signed the statement condemning the administration for misusing, suppressing and distorting scientific advice.

Scientists' feud with the Bush administration, building for almost four years, has intensified this election year. The White House has sacked prominent scientists from presidential advisory committees, science advocacy groups have released lengthy catalogs of alleged scientific abuses by the administration and both sides have traded accusations at meetings and in the pages of research journals.

Administration officials dismiss the scientists' concerns as misguided and accuse them of playing politics -- of attempting to undermine Bush administration policies by claiming they are based on bad science.

"I don't like to see science exploited for political purposes, and I think that's happening here," presidential science adviser John H. Marburger III said.

Some scientists critical of the Bush administration make no secret that they would like to see the president defeated; four dozen Nobel laureates have endorsed John Kerry for president.

But signers of the declaration include scientists with ties to both Republican and Democratic administrations: Lewis Branscomb, a Harvard University professor, headed the federal Bureau of Standards in the Nixon administration. Russell Train was director of the Environmental Protection Agency under Presidents Nixon and Ford and supported George H. W. Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign. Physicists Neal Lane and John Gibbons were both science advisers to President Clinton.

Scientists' disapproval of Bush has not gone unnoticed by the Kerry campaign. This week the Democrats used the third anniversary of Bush's decision to limit federal funding for stem-cell research as an opportunity to question the president's commitment to science.

"At this very moment, some of our most pioneering cures and treatments are right at our fingertips, but because of the stem-cell ban, they remain beyond our reach," Kerry said in an Aug. 7 radio address, two days before the anniversary.

Incorporating science into government has always been a sensitive proposition, given the vast differences between them. Scientists collect evidence and conduct experiments to arrive at an objective description of reality -- to describe the world as it is rather than as we might want it to be.

Government, on the other hand, is about anything but objective truth. It deals with gray areas, competing values, the allocation of limited resources. It is conducted by debate and negotiation. Far from striving for ultimate truths, it seeks compromises that a majority can live with.

When these conflicting paradigms come together, disagreements are inevitable.

For example, when a panel of experts, by a 28-0 vote, declared a drug safe for over-the-counter sales in December, they expected the Food and Drug Administration to approve it for nonprescription use soon thereafter. But six months later the agency disagreed, citing a lack of data about the safety of the drug for 11- to 14-year-old girls.

Three physicians on the FDA advisory panel protested in an editorial published by the New England Journal of Medicine, claiming the agency was distorting the scientific evidence for political reasons. The drug in question: a morning-after contraceptive known as Plan B.

"A treatment for any other condition, from hangnail to headache to heart disease, with a similar record of safety and efficacy would be approved quickly," the protesting panel members wrote.

The federal government relies on hundreds of scientific and technical panels for advice on a wide range of policy issues. Advisers range from wildlife biologists who provide expertise on endangered species to physicists who help guide the development of new weaponry.

Incorporating scientific advice into policymaking involves an implied contract of trust between government officials and scientists. Scientists trust that their advice will be weighed honestly, without attempts to distort, deny or refute it. Government officials trust that scientists will not inject personal opinions or a political agenda into their advice.

From time to time, both sides are accused of breaking that trust. In July, for example, a panel of experts sharply lowered the recommended cholesterol level for patients at risk of heart disease. Consumer groups challenged the recommendation, pointing out that some panel members have financial ties to companies that make cholesterol-lowering drugs.

In the larger dispute, scientists charge that the Bush administration has violated its side of the bargain in two ways: By manipulating scientific information to suit political purposes and by applying a political litmus test to membership on scientific advisory committees. The conflict usually centers on scientific advice involving politically contentious subjects such as reproductive health, drug policy and the environment.

Climate scientists, for example, complain they have been frustrated in their attempts to include full and accurate information about global warming in official government reports -- a charge the administration denies.

The administration also finds itself at odds with many medical researchers over use of embryonic stem cells. President Bush, concerned that harvesting the cells requires the destruction of human embryos, decided in 2001 to restrict federally funded research to a few dozen existing cell lines. But medical researchers, believing stem cells offer a key to curing many debilitating diseases, say the decision severely hampers their work.

"I don't get the sense that science was particularly part of the decision making," said Elizabeth Blackburn, a University of California, San Francisco biologist.

Marburger, Bush's science adviser, sees it differently: "The really important questions here are ethical questions; they're not science questions."

Democrats further politicized stem-cell research when they invited Ron Reagan, son of the late president, to speak at their convention in Boston this summer.

"We can choose between the future and the past, between reason and ignorance, between true compassion and mere ideology," Reagan said in his speech, urging the audience to "cast a vote for embryonic stem-cell research."

In any argument people will emphasize information that supports their position and ignore contrary evidence, said Roger Pielke, Jr., a science policy expert at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He calls the strategy "cherrypicking" and considers it a legitimate debating tactic. "That is different than actually going out and manufacturing or altering the scientific process in a way that guarantees the result will agree with your point of view," Pielke said.

Bush's critics say his administration is doing just that when it screens scientific advisers based on their political views. They argue that when it comes to science, professional qualifications should trump party affiliation.

Blackburn became a cause célèbre for many scientists who felt her dismissal from the President's Council on Bioethics in February was retribution for her disagreements with the administration over stem cells and other issues.

Gerald T. Keusch, associate dean for global health at Boston University, says he resigned as director of the National Institute of Health's Fogarty International Center last year after the administration shot down 19 of his 26 picks for advisory positions.

He said one candidate was turned down because she had served on the board of a nonprofit organization dedicated to international reproductive health, another because she supported a woman's right to an abortion.

"I was hopping mad," Keusch said.

Dr. D.A. Henderson, a biological weapons expert, said when President Bush's father chose him for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, it didn't matter that he was a Democrat and that his wife was president of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. All that counted was his expertise.

"I can't imagine that happening today," said Henderson, although he has worked in the last three administrations and now advises the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Marburger dismisses such notions: "I can say from personal experience that the accusation of a litmus test that must be met before someone can serve on an advisory panel is preposterous," he said in an April response to the Union of Concerned Scientists statement.

As proof, he offered himself. He's a Democrat.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TL;DR -- 4,000 scientists, including 48 Nobel Prize winners, have signed a statement opposing the Bush administration's use of scientific advice.

Last edited by SlingerXL : 08-14-2004 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 08-14-2004, 10:57 PM #2
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No, Bush hates scientists.
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:28 AM #3
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i consider myself a 16 year old scientist prodegy and i conclude that bush is not fit for presidency, most of the unscripted confrontations with press have resulted in responses of bush, i cant even call them answers, where there is a mutual confusion in the press' attempt to understand his response, and of bush's attempt to try to understand and explain his own answer. my opinion is that bush is a simple puppet, used by the officials behind him to benefit the party that the majority are in. if there are no officials at the controls of bush, there is no president, there is no leader of america.
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:12 AM #4
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Everyone knows science and coke heads dont mix.
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Get a job? The **** you talking to kid? I worked five years in a row when i was in the joint! Pressing them mother ****ing licence plates! Im a licence plate pressing mother ****er! Wheres a ***** gonna get a job out here pressing licence plates?
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:14 AM #5
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no offense science prodigy but shouldn't you be able to spell it right?

I on the other hand consider my self a intergalactic grapefruit.

LoL im just playing with you...you left your self open for that one dude.

Gooo Kerry
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:47 AM #6
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I find that a tad ironic. Someone correcting spelling errors when in fact, thier grammar is all jacked up.

Just playin, but, you left yourself open for that one, dude.
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Old 08-15-2004, 09:17 AM #7
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You left yourselves all open to being retarded. There are 750,000 medical doctors in the United States. Thats a lot more than 4,000. The AMA has almost always supported a Republican canidate since Democrat's health system ideas are very hurtful to doctors with private practice and even moreso to private hospitals.

My 750,000 scientists > your 4,000.

It also seems that there are alot more than 4,000 scientists in the United States and your group is most likey a small majority. Also, I doubt all of those that signed the petition were even American or had any right to ***** since there arnt that many Nobel prize winning scientists in just the Unitied States. Also, scientists dont exactly work out of their garage these days. They are employed for the most part by large firms and pharmaceutical companies which are big businusses which (ba-dum!) vote Republican. Democrats seem to like to put restrictions on the companies (I, know, I know, stem cells) that limit their profits and in turn the scientitist's pay. I doubt many will be voting for Kerry.
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Old 08-15-2004, 12:59 PM #8
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hehe, prodgeries cann bee god at on thing bat buad at anouther
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:11 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by crucial_fiction
I find that a tad ironic. Someone correcting spelling errors when in fact, thier grammar is all jacked up.

Just playin, but, you left yourself open for that one, dude.
I suppose it'd be different if you were talking about his Russian.
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:16 PM #10
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I suppose it'd be different if you were talking about his Russian.
lol good save
i hope you meen slinger
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:34 PM #11
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What?
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Old 08-15-2004, 01:52 PM #12
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Slinger do you look for these useless articles on some liberal website and post them on pbn? Who cares if a couple scientists don't like Bush? 4,000 people is a number Bush pisses on...
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:50 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by KingmanSpyderTL
Slinger do you look for these useless articles on some liberal website and post them on pbn? Who cares if a couple scientists don't like Bush? 4,000 people is a number Bush pisses on...
How often is it you get 4,000 let alone 4,000 of the smarter people, to sign ANYTHING? Not to mention this is from Wired News. Hardly liberal by any stretch.
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:54 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Dread Pirate
You left yourselves all open to being retarded. There are 750,000 medical doctors in the United States. Thats a lot more than 4,000. The AMA has almost always supported a Republican canidate since Democrat's health system ideas are very hurtful to doctors with private practice and even moreso to private hospitals.

My 750,000 scientists > your 4,000.

It also seems that there are alot more than 4,000 scientists in the United States and your group is most likey a small majority. Also, I doubt all of those that signed the petition were even American or had any right to ***** since there arnt that many Nobel prize winning scientists in just the Unitied States. Also, scientists dont exactly work out of their garage these days. They are employed for the most part by large firms and pharmaceutical companies which are big businusses which (ba-dum!) vote Republican. Democrats seem to like to put restrictions on the companies (I, know, I know, stem cells) that limit their profits and in turn the scientitist's pay. I doubt many will be voting for Kerry.
NP* dude

NP = Nice post
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:05 PM #15
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Originally posted by The Dread Pirate
You left yourselves all open to being retarded. There are 750,000 medical doctors in the United States. Thats a lot more than 4,000.

My 750,000 scientists > your 4,000.
I never knew doctors were considered scientists. Slinger and the rest of us Democrats apologize for being so "retarded"!
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:27 PM #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Dread Pirate
They are employed for the most part by large firms and pharmaceutical companies which are big businusses which (ba-dum!) vote Republican. Democrats seem to like to put restrictions on the companies (I, know, I know, stem cells) that limit their profits and in turn the scientitist's pay. I doubt many will be voting for Kerry.
Except a lot of scientists' pay is from federal grants...
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:27 PM #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mugatu__
I never knew doctors were considered scientists. Slinger and the rest of us Democrats apologize for being so "retarded"!
I seriously hope you are kidding.

Quote:
sci·en·tist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sn-tst)
n.
A person having expert knowledge of one or more sciences, especially a natural or physical science



med·i·cine ( P ) Pronunciation Key (md-sn)
n.

The science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind.
The branch of this science encompassing treatment by drugs, diet, exercise, and other nonsurgical means


phy·si·cian ( P ) Pronunciation Key (f-zshn)
n.
A person licensed to practice medicine; a medical doctor.
A person who practices general medicine as distinct from surgery
Quote:
Originally posted by SlingerXL
Except a lot of scientists' pay is from federal grants...
Not their pay, their research funding. Most federal grants are for a few million. Thats a drop in a bucket in terms of serious research. Viagra (ya know, the boner pill) cost over $800 MILLION dollars to develop.
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:35 PM #18
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The point is that physicians aren't appointed on science advisory committees unless it has to do with disease like AIDS. When they say scientists they're not referring to M.D.'s.
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Old 08-15-2004, 04:43 PM #19
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Are you on crack? Please define "scientists" to me. Just because someone doesnt wear a white lab coat and says "beeeery interesting" while holding a beaker does not make them not a scientist.

So are geologists not scientists because they arnt on the AIDS committies? Of course you wouldnt put a physician on a committee for tetonic plate movements, either. There are no general "scientists" anymore. Stop thinking like a third grader and acknowledge that the sciences are so diverse and so broad that there are no general "scientists" as you would think. There are geologists, physicists, MDs, chemists, botanists, etc. Maybe you have some wierd thoughts that all "scientists" are little lab rats that run experiments on the atomic structure of lawn chairs or wierd stuff like that, but in the real world the term "scientist" is a VERY broad term.

Either way its a moot point since 4,000 of these people are a VERY small part of the scientific community as a whole. Slinger, it is ok to admit you are wrong. Its not the end of the world.

*Waits for SlingerXL to get his last word in*
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Old 08-15-2004, 05:20 PM #20
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Dread: In my opinion I'd go out on a limb and say a person who studies the sciences and tries to come up with answers to questions in the natural world...

I wouldn't say that someone who uses the works of other people in order to diagnose something that is already known isn't so much a scientist. I think at that point I'd call them a doctor or something a long those lines. Then again... that's just me...

Scientist IS a broad word, I'll grant you that... However, I don't think it's as broad as you would hope to make it...
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Old 08-15-2004, 05:51 PM #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by JLothrop
Dread: In my opinion I'd go out on a limb and say a person who studies the sciences and tries to come up with answers to questions in the natural world...

I wouldn't say that someone who uses the works of other people in order to diagnose something that is already known isn't so much a scientist. I think at that point I'd call them a doctor or something a long those lines. Then again... that's just me...
First part, good. Second part, I give up, there are just too many kids on this forum. Open one of your science textbooks from school and look to see the author's credentials. If its above a 10th grade textbook atleast one or two will be MDs.
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