Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cleaning up George’s Mess—Part 5: Science

Chris Mooney’s section of the Harper’s Magazine article “Undoing Bush” brings to mind the new Al Gore book, Assault on Reason. “Under the Bush Administration we have seen scientists suppressed, scientific reports forcefully edited or censored, scientific advisory committees politically tilted, and widespread distortion and misrepresentation of scientific knowledge.” This is nothing less than a “war on science” designed to pander to the Republican base and to “manage inconvenient scientific information.” And all of this shady public relations and misinformation has wasted time that we could have spent working to solve important problems. Mooney suggests that cleaning up George’s mess could begin with the appointment of a distinguished science adviser to the next President, but of course it will be up to the President to listen to him or her and not marginalize the position as Bush has done. Mooney also thinks the scientific reputation of federal agencies needs to be restored after the damage Bush has done.

It continues to amaze me that conservatives would rather argue with scientific data than consider the consequences of ignoring the data. The problem, I suppose, is that the truth is inconvenient and gets in the way of the right-wing agenda. The next President has an opportunity to involve the public in the discussion of scientific evidence in a way that could introduce a new Enlightenment, or at least bring us out of the Bush dark ages.

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