Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 18, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

"PEER" REVIEW....More on the Bush administration's new "peer review" proposals in the Baltimore Sun today:

The peer review process, routinely employed by academic journals and some government agencies, invites knowledgeable scientists to comment on research findings to confirm their credibility. But the administration proposal would expand peer review far beyond current boundaries, critics say.

"It's an incredibly terrible proposal. It will ossify the entire regulatory system. This would stop virtually all environmental and public health regulation," said David Michaels, a professor of occupational and environmental health at George Washington University.

....Critics accuse the OMB of solving a problem that doesn't exist. "They haven't shown that the government produces bad science. Where is the evidence?" asked University of Kansas law professor Sidney Shapiro, an expert on federal regulation.

He and others argue that the Bush plan seems designed to gum up the process of converting scientific knowledge into regulation by trapping legitimate studies in a limbo of time-consuming evaluation.

"You'll create a debating society over the science. That's good if you don't want anything to happen," Shapiro said.

What's really impressive to me is how damn clever the Bushies are on this kind of stuff. Instead of declaring war on environmental regulation by suggesting that industry should be in charge of approving all scientific research, which is obviously an electoral loser, they figure out a way to use an arcane area like peer review to accomplish the same thing. There's a real diabolical genius at work here, that's for sure.

Kevin Drum 9:28 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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