The current U.S. administration is involved in not-so-subtle attempts to spin, stifle, or ignore the results of scientific research. The ideology of
the man-at-the-top seems to be the motivator for many of these attempts.
Writing on npr.org, Don Gonyea states it clearly,
The basic complaint is that the Bush White House puts political ideology over science when
writing policy or when determining who sits on advisory panels set up to provide expert input into decision making.
The article is available
A perfect example is the debate surrounding a vaccine developed to protect women from HPV. HPV is human papillomavirus, the most common STD in the
United States. It is the primary cause for cervical cancer, which kills nearly 5000 American women every year. Hundreds of thousands of women in the
developing world succumb to cervical cancer. Trials and test of the vaccine appear to indicate it is an unqualified success. David Baltimore,
president of the California Institute of Technology, quoted in the March 2006 issue of The New Yorker
says, "This is a cancer
and an immensely effective one...It has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives every year." (2006, Specter, M.). Emphasis added.
Here's the fly in the ointment...The vaccine has to be administered before
girls become sexually active. The average
age for first
sexual intercourse in the United States is 16 (that's for both male and female). The science says that in order to get the most benefit, innoculate
early; preferably when vaccinations are given for contagious diseases like mumps or measles. That means vaccinating before girls enter public
Not gonna' happen, at least as long as the proponents of abstinence are at the helm. The administration's policy is to rely on programs that
promote abstinence as a means to prevent sexually transmitted disease. Also quoted in The New Yorker
article is Leslee J. Unruh, president of
the Abstinence Clearinghouse, "I personally object to vaccinating children when they don't need vaccinations, particularly against a disease that is
one hundred per cent preventable with proper
sexual behavior.", (italics added). I'm just some guy off the street (not an engineer), but I
don't think lust or passion is one hundred percent preventable; in fact, I know its not. The previously sited David Baltimore finishes this section,
"What moral precepts allow us to think that the risk of death is a price worth paying to encourage abstinence as the only approach to sex?".
It's not only the health sciences that are subject to the administration's tampering. Climatology and cosmology have come under the
administration's scrutiny as well. Don Gonyea's article on npr.org says,
Top NASA climate expert James Hansen was told not to talk to the media
about his findings... and ...the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.....has told its scientists not to do interviews about a
study linking increased water temperatures to hurricane intensity.
See 2nd paragraph for a link to this article.
Peter N. Spotts, writing for The Christian Science Monitor, points out in an online article;
In a recent NASA release about Greenland's melting glaciers, for example, "generally warmer climate" appeared instead of the more accepted
. This strategy is not surprising in light of the
Bush administration's refusal to support the Kyoto Protocol, a strategy to reduce world-wide carbon emissions and attempt to slow global warming.
The Big Bang isn't exempt from this sort of tom-foolery either. The washingtonpost.com reports that George C. Deutsch, a NASA spokesman;
instructed another NASA scientist to add the word "theory" after every written mention of the Big Bang, on the grounds that the accepted
scientific explanation of the origins of the universe "is an opinion" and that NASA should not discount the possibility of "intelligent design by a
By no means are these the only examples. Salmon, lead poisoning, coal mining, and farm waste are all issues that have been tampered with by the
Money is the primary leverage used by the administration in its efforts to alter or suppress the findings of researchers. Many of the research
programs running today rely on a substantial chunk of federal money to operate. Less subtle methods are also employed. Restrictive regulations and
oversight can also have a chilling effect. In 2004, the Dept. of Health and Human Services forbade researchers to travel to international science
conferences without their permission. And government scientists who wanted to act as consultants to the WHO (World Health Organization), had to agree
to advocate U.S. policy.
It is certainly my hope that these actions don't have a long-lasting effect on research and science in the United States. Our long-held position as
a leader in science is showing signs of slipping even now. U.S. universities don't graduate half the numbers of engineers and scientists Asian
countries do and our high school students are not showing any particular improvement in the sciences. And don't expect private corporations to pick
up more of the funding tab, their strategic outlook simply isn't far enough in the future for them to risk the long term commitment many research
In a thread here
However, proof would really only be the BEGINNING of UFOlogy as a science...not the end.
I'm not so sure I'm looking forward to that.