Monday, June 29, 2009

 

Presidents Bush and Obama and Science

Jonathan Adler at VC has a good post with links on the "War on Science" idea that the Bush Administration was hostile to science and that Obama would be friendly to it. The exact opposite is true, of course.

Two weeks ago, Roger Pielke Jr. marshaled evidence that a government contractor with substantial industry ties may have been responsible for misrepresenting the relevant peer-reviewed scientific literature in an important government report on climate change. This past week, the EPA was accused of suppressing an agency's employee's comments on the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas "endangerment finding" (the official finding that greenhouse gas emissions may threaten public health and welfare). Here again, Pielke finds the parallel with the Bush Administration's conduct instructive.

From an earlier Adler post, reformatted by me: :

One of the best examples of the politicization of science by the "left" — and one of the few that Mooney acknowledges — is the treatment of agricultural biotechnology, and the decision to subject such products to more stringent regulatory review than those developed with other methods. This policy has no scientific basis, as the National Academy of Sciences has stated many times.

Another example would be claims by environmentalist groups that pesticide residues on foods pose a significant cancer risk, a claim which the NAS has also rejected.

A third would be seeking endangered species listings for the purpose of halting development.

A fourth would be efforts to claim asthma incidence (as opposed to asthma attacks) are related to outdoor air pollution, when there is no data to support such a claim.

A fifth would be the EPA's second-hand smoke study, which a federal court found was driven to reach a predetermined result.

A sixth would be claims that the "precautionary principle" is a "science-based" approach to risk, when it actually reflects a normative policy judgment about how to weigh and evaluate risks.

A seventh would be the compounded conservatisms that are embedded into many agency risk assessments, such as those conducted for the federal Superfund program.

An eighth would be molding "ecosystem management" to satisfy non-scientific normative preferences about how land should be managed.

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