Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 26, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

BUSH'S WAR ON THE TRUTH CONTINUES....The Health and Human Services department has decided to prohibit its scientists from participating in UN meetings unless they are approved by the secretary. Apparently this has been going on since April:

The Bush administration has ordered that government scientists must be approved by a senior political appointee before they can participate in meetings convened by the World Health Organization, the leading international health and science agency.

...."No one knows better than HHS who the experts are and who can provide the most up-to-date and expert advice," [HHS spokesman Tony] Jewell said. "The World Health Organization does not know the best people to talk to, but HHS knows."

Um, yeah. This is just an innocent desire to make sure WHO talks to only the very best scientists. And, um, being a group of mere scientists themselves, they might not be aware of who these people are unless Tommy Thompson tells them.

Farther down in the article we get a glimpse of what might have caused this fear of letting scientists actually present scientific results free of political guidance:

WHO panels sometimes have disagreed with positions taken by the administration. A WHO panel met in Lyons, France, this month and declared formaldehyde a known carcinogen relying on studies that Bush administration political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency had rejected as inconclusive.

Voting members of the panel included scientists from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health who had been authors of the studies.

In other words, it's dangerous for scientists to be representatives of actual scientific judgment. They should be confined to quarters until they agree that the political desires of Bush appointees and their campaign contributors represent the truth. Eventually they'll come around, right?

And here we thought Galileo had won that battle four centuries ago. Guess again.

Kevin Drum 12:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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