Bush said science would guide his decisions, but those in the lab see ideology intruding on their workBy MARK THOMPSON, KAREN TUMULTY
Starting when he was a presidential candidate in 2000, George W. Bush has often assured voters that his policymaking would be guided by "sound science." Last week, in his State of the Union address, the President pointed to scientific research as the way to "lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come." Yet growing numbers of researchers, both in and out of government, say their findings--on pollution, climate change, reproductive health, stem-cell research and other areas in which science often finds itself at odds with religious, ideological or corporate interests--are being discounted, distorted or quashed by Bush Administration appointees.
White House officials don't see that pattern of interference. "This Administration has been very supportive of science," Bush's science adviser and respected physicist John Marburger told TIME. "The President wants us to do it right, and doesn't want us to do things that contradict the laws of nature." But in the past two years, the Union of Concerned Scientists has collected the signatures of more than 8,000 scientists--including 49 Nobel laureates, 63 National Medal of Science recipients and 171 members of the National Academies--who accuse the Administration of an unprecedented level of political intrusion into their world. "There have always been isolated incidents where people have played politics with science," says Francesca Grifo, director of the group's Scientific Integrity Program. "What's new is its pervasive and systemic nature. We get calls every week from federal scientists reporting stuff to us."
Trust the data? Or trust your agenda and go with the data that doesn't outright refute it.
It's a shame that his ideology mandates the latter. The nutter isn't completely evil by any stretch. But I think it's getting obvious to nearly everyone across the political spectrum that he is speaking out his, um, ... the side of his mouth.