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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Inconvenient truths? We've got a million of 'em

America has become the country that hates honest science.

Here. Here. Read all about it.

Comments (1)

So Bush is stopping the gov't from putting any more money into a subset of stem-cell research that private companies refuse to support. It's the first time he's signed up to stop gov't waste. Go George!

Posted by: Andy-in-Korea at July 25, 2006 04:46 AM

Yeah, he's going to get NASA out of anything that might show what we're doing to our poor planet, too. A regular fiscal conservative, he is.

Posted by: Jack Bog at July 25, 2006 04:49 AM

Based on track record, I'd trust scientists over the President.

Posted by: kyle at July 25, 2006 05:30 AM

"A regular fiscal conservative, he is.

Tsk, tsk, Jack. You're putting words in my mouth.

Yeah, Bush sucks horribly at spending, but this veto of a subset of stem-cell research isn't a bad thing. Sure, the money-pinching won't last, but the thought was nice while it lasted.

Posted by: andy in korea at July 25, 2006 06:37 AM

Andy - must be North Korea . . . where they also make poor choices regarding their resources. Government support of broad-based basic science has been a massive pillar supporting the growth of this country since WWII and before. If Norquist had been in charge, we'd all be the poorer (all except the handful of fat cats that can afford whatever they want anyway). Basic science needs more support, not less.

Posted by: Elves at July 25, 2006 06:48 AM

OK, preface, NO I am not crazy about the way Bush and colleagues employ "science" to advance some initiatives, but he is not unique.

When I see Al Gore being trotted out as an "expert" on global warming (this after he invented the Internet) and a lot of law suites based on swaying a jury instead of scientific proof and even our own Randy Leonard becoming an expert on BioDiesel after what, 10 months of study on the Internet. I think a lot scientific method (I am an engineer by training) gets lost in the need to market a message which Bush is guilty of.

I don't nkow if it makes a difference on stem cell research, and I may be wrong, but I didn't think Germany allowed it either (not religion, think back to eugenics.)

Posted by: Steve at July 25, 2006 07:20 AM

Al Gore has said openly he isn't a scientific expert, but it has been an issue he has spent a great deal of time on over the years, and people really found his Powerpoint presentation to be well-done. Personally, I think it's great that a public figure of his stature is giving a face and a strong voice to the issue. An issue that conservatives and corporatists continue to frame as a partisan issue.

Plus... I'm still surprised people are repeating that Al-Gore-Invented-The-Internet BS. Is this all the public will know the guy for? I've heard so many ignorant and disengaged people completely dismiss Gore for that misunderstanding. Likely the same people who voted for Bush because they wanted to have a Coors Light with the guy.

Posted by: TKrueg at July 25, 2006 09:31 AM

"Government support of broad-based basic science has been a massive pillar supporting the growth of this country since WWII and before.

Ignoring your misplaced vitriol, yes, gov't spending is the only way to solve big problems with little monetary payback (like AIDS). The private drug companies only make money in createing a treatment, not a cure. Stem-cells come from many places, and fetal cells just don't cut it.

Private companies aren't put money into fetal stem-cell research because there is little or no potential there.

Posted by: andy in korea at July 25, 2006 11:46 AM

Bush *finally* vetoed something but the real story is the veto. If you think Outlawing Stem-Cell Research is the issue, you're letting the Religious Right™ yank your chain, suckers.

Posted by: andy in korea at July 25, 2006 11:47 AM


You've falsely bought the line that fetal stem cells are somehow less important or fruitful than adult stem cells. This falsehood, spread by the media and pundits after Bush's veto sideshow, was quickly rebuked by the scientific community... the ones actually working in the field. Even those who personally have reservations about using fetal stem cells. They were all incredulous that people with no actual understanding of this research would act as drive-by experts on this complex matter.

Posted by: TKrueg at July 25, 2006 12:25 PM

Where was AlGore during the "Global Cooling Crisis" 30 years ago? Oh. Right. He was busy inventing the Internet.

Posted by: Max at July 25, 2006 12:43 PM

I thought Gore's movie was great. Many of the Fox News Channel types who spend a lot of hot air dissing it probably haven't watched it. Gore has a great deal of credibility on a personal level, and that really pisses off the neo-con "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" fans. Bush is an impetuous coward and a wannabe cowboy who can't chew with his mouth closed. I think part of NASA's mission in saving our planet should involve making Bush the Emporer of Mars and blasting all of his born-again bible thumping buddies off into outer space along with him.

Posted by: Kevin at July 25, 2006 01:40 PM

Max: thank you for remembering the cooling scare of 30 years ago.

Kevin: Thank you for your tolerance. Blasting people you disagree with into space. Just reminds me why I am politically independant.

Posted by: gl at July 25, 2006 06:17 PM

Believe it or not, I am not picking on Gore since politicians of all parties seem to selectively choose facts to fit their arguments. That's just the way they are.

Of course, when you have a place like the CoP that would rather build a lot of condos than fund a world-class engineering school (sorry PSU, you're not Stanford), what do you expect.

Posted by: Steve at July 25, 2006 07:50 PM

For the past three decades, going back to some time in the early to mid-70s, there has been an anti-science dialectic developing in this country, probably as a reaction to the dominance of science and technology in the 50s and 60s. It started vaguely on the Left, with woo-woo New Agers swinging crystals and blending religions in places like Topanga Canyon, but somehow, it spread across all spectrums and merged with the proud know-nothing yokels who generally resent the gummint telling them they can't marry their daughters or crank out meth in their 5th wheel.

In 1976, we elected a president who had a strong science and technology background and who stuck to his guns on the need for energy conservation. In 1980, we elected a guy whose wife consulted astrologers.

There has been a steady decline from rationality to intuition. While it makes some sense on a personal level to trust one's intuition, on a national or global level, we need to consult the facts and go with them. But we now have a president who goes by his "gut feelings" on almost any issue, swayed by the Lysenkos of industry and politics.

Al Gore made a great political pitch for the presidency in his recent movie, and I'm inclined to vote for him again. But the issue isn't Gore. It's the Bush Administration's total disdain for science in virtually every field. It's not just gobal warming or stem cell research, but a vast swath of environmental and public health issues where the scientific findings differ from the policies that Bush is pursuing.

I'm truly amazed that it too so long for someone to point out the parallels between Soviet pseudo-science of the 1930s and the Bush agenda today.

Posted by: Gil Johnson at July 25, 2006 10:50 PM

I'm knee-deep in a fascinating book called "Hard Green". The premise is that true conservation calls for things like nuclear power and extracing as much of our energy needs as possible from places where life doesn't exist (underground), that conservation Teddy Roosevelt style is good, and conservation liberal style (bio-mass, ethanol, solar cells, bricks in your toilet, fear of using technology to increase production and shelf life, etc.) is bad for the planet. It's a compelling read. There's an article here -
that boils down the thrust of the book.

I would urge anyone who's seen the Truth to take a look. He's not arguing global warming doesn't exist or any of that sort of thing. What he argues is that, for example, organic strawberries are far worse for the environment than irradiated bio-engineered pest-resistant (high-tech) ones. Organic requires more soil, more energy to produce, and results in a higher spoilage, therefore more waste. He argues quite convincingly that should biomass become the fuel of the future (be it corn for Randy's gas, or switchgrass, or whatever), that biodiversity would be destroyed because in order to produce enough of that fuel base, vast tracts of land would need to be razed and planted in monoculture fields rather than forests or biodiverse prairies.

A little off topic, but if you're green, you owe it to yourself to explore the arguments, because they are compelling.

Posted by: Don Smith at July 26, 2006 09:33 AM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]


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