This should scare the hell out of you. If you have the courage, read the full report outlining the Bush Administration’s pattern of distorting and suppressing science to further their political agenda. I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising that fundamentalist Christians are trying to invalidate science. And I had read about many of these things in microcosm before. But putting it all together like this makes it seem more than sad. It seems criminal. Further, you should note that this report is signed by 20 Nobel laureates and a number of Republican scientists, several of who have held science posts with previous Republican administrations.

But don’t reach a conclusion just yet. The water gets muddier. This is the government’s response to the accusations. Now to be fair, I haven’t done the research, nor have I read about anyone else who has independently investigated the point and counterpoint arguments of each side. It is interesting that the OSTP took the time to go through the UCS’s accusations point by point, and it is disconcerting that each rebuttal starts with a flat out assertion that the UCS position is false. It seems inconceivable that the UCS would publish a completely fictional document, and they make many references to publications, research, and speeches which are easily verifiable. For scientists, the barrier to publish is high. I can’t accept that this many scientists with international reputations would be duped into signing or would willfully publish a patently false document.

It is likely that there are lots of shades of grey in here. Undoubtedly everyone stresses the facts and data supporting their points. But this should have led to the OSTP producing a document which had much more of a flavor of concession and clarification. Saying more often that while “this” happened it was taken out of context or exaggerated, or citing additional data which takes the wind out of the argument. However, it doesn’t read that way. It sounds very defensive. Of course, Bush’s habit of attacking his detractors also makes this rebuttal suspicious.

This debate is clearly not over. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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