Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Stern Editor Or How Government And Science Interact

The joke about us all now living in a faith-based world may be growing stale, but it's a very apt description of happenings like this one:

Democratic lawmakers released documents today that showed hundreds of instances in which a White House official who was previously an oil industry lobbyist edited government climate reports to play up uncertainty or to play down evidence of a human role in global warming.

In a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the official, Philip A. Cooney, who left government in 2005, defended the changes he made in government reports over several years, saying the editing was part of the normal White House review process and reflected findings in a climate report written for President Bush by the National Academy of Sciences in 2001.


"The documents show that Mr. Cooney and other Council on Environmental Quality officials made at least 181 edits to the Administration's Strategic Plan of the Climate Change Science Program to exaggerate or emphasize scientific uncertainties," the memo said. "They also made at least 113 edits to the plan to deemphasize or diminish the importance of the human role in global warming."

It tastes like those old stories about the Soviet stranglehold on its scientists. There may be something about all empires which makes them grow to look alike whatever the initial ideological base.

See how the faith-based ideology works? What doesn't match is altered, edited out and denied by accusing the opposition of blind partisanship. So much noise is made (of the he-said-she-said kind) that at the end of the day we all want to put a pillow over our heads and never hear a politician speak again. And that is what the system relies on.

The real problem is that we have an administration which equates the needs of the country with the needs of one political party.