Suppression of Dissent The Influence of Political Appointments on Science Policy
<ul><li>In its most general sense, the suppression of dissenting views is common within the scientific community; peer rev...
<ul><li>Historical Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Copernicius :  Self-censored  his  De revolutionibus orbium coelestium  ( On...
<ul><li>“ What we found is that researchers are very aware of controversy and decide what to study...in relation to what t...
<ul><li>“ Science is respected and protected and highly valued by the administration.” </li></ul><ul><li>Donald Tighe, of ...
<ul><li>Politicization of science policies within the Bush Administration started occurring even before the election… </li...
<ul><li>In 2002, an  adverse impact study  on the effects a proposed coal-fired power plant in western Kentucky would have...
<ul><li>“ In the past, scientists have written their reports, said, ‘This is what the science is,’ and the policymakers ma...
<ul><li>“ Specifically, the complainant alleged that [Julie MacDonald, Deputy Assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and P...
<ul><li>A policy was put in place at the US Geological Survey stating that the director (Mark Myers) and the communication...
<ul><li>“ A political appointee at my agency prevented my research on all-terrain-vehicle safety from reaching the public,...
<ul><li>“ I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approv...
<ul><li>“ The reality is that the nation’s doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent bu...
<ul><li>“ The latest government tests show that New Yorkers, including those returning to work in the Wall Street area, ar...
<ul><li>“ They were attempts to create a more moderate picture…No doubt some people did interpret their jobs as to reducin...
<ul><li>“ I speak today as myself and not as a spokesman for NASA.” </li></ul><ul><li>Jim Hansen, in the opening remarks t...
<ul><li>George Deutsch (a journalism graduate) was identified as one of the presidential appointees within the public affa...
<ul><li>“ It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe ...
<ul><li>“ It is not the job of public-affairs officers to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produ...
<ul><li>Responses from within the </li></ul><ul><li>scientific community </li></ul>
<ul><li>The 2006 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) included a session that ...
<ul><li>The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a number of reports while tracking political interference. </li></u...
<ul><li>Responses from within Congress </li></ul>
<ul><li>“ The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a ...
<ul><li>“ Science does not dictate policy – it informs the policy decisions we make. We rely upon federal scientists to pr...
<ul><li>While this was by no means an inclusive list of all suppressive activities during this administration, the snapsho...
<ul><li>“ Even if we succeed in lifting this heavy hand of censorship there is still the problem of getting the political ...
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The suppression of Scientific Dissent

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From across the spectrum of governmental agencies, a selection of suppressive activity is examined relying on quotes from the involved and affected participants themselves.

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  • The suppression of Scientific Dissent

    1. 1. Suppression of Dissent The Influence of Political Appointments on Science Policy
    2. 2. <ul><li>In its most general sense, the suppression of dissenting views is common within the scientific community; peer review is an example of one necessary suppression process. The downside to this method of suppression arises in the form of publication bias, where different types of results are systematically handled differently. Generally speaking, the author continues to be free to seek publication elsewhere. </li></ul><ul><li>When the dissenting scientific view threatens a group with the loss of power , that group may react with suppression that can be categorized into one of the following types of action: </li></ul><ul><li>Direct </li></ul><ul><li>Indirect </li></ul><ul><li>Self-censoring </li></ul>Suppression of Dissent. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suppression_of_dissent
    3. 3. <ul><li>Historical Examples </li></ul><ul><li>Copernicius : Self-censored his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium ( On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres ) for many years </li></ul><ul><li>Galileo : Indirect (philospohers’ refusal to peer through his telescope) and direct actions (banning of Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems ) </li></ul><ul><li>Giordino Bruno : Direct Action (burned at the stake after refusing to recant his belief in the principle of plenitude) </li></ul>De revolutionibus orbium coelestium . Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_revolutionibus_orbium_coelestium Galileo Affair . Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair Giordano Bruno . Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giordano_Bruno
    4. 4. <ul><li>“ What we found is that researchers are very aware of controversy and decide what to study...in relation to what they think is appropriate. It's these silent rules that really guide what researchers do.” </li></ul><ul><li>Joanna Kempner, a sociologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor commenting on her study that analyzed the underpinnings of science research suppression. </li></ul><ul><li>These results infer that many acts of suppression will forever go undocumented. Even so, there is a complement of recent, highly visible cases at agencies all across the Federal Government. </li></ul><ul><li>The following slides present a selection of these suppressive events and the responsible political officials (many of whom have little science background). </li></ul><ul><li>Lovgren, S (2005) Self-censorship limits science more tha laws, study says. Available at http://news. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0210_050210_censorship.html </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>“ Science is respected and protected and highly valued by the administration.” </li></ul><ul><li>Donald Tighe, of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy responding to questions about the activities of a presidential appointee at NASA in 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Revkin, A. (2006). NASA chief backs openness . Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/science/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>04climate.html </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>Politicization of science policies within the Bush Administration started occurring even before the election… </li></ul><ul><li>“ I oppose federal funding for stem cell research that involves destroying living human embryos.” </li></ul><ul><li>George Bush, stating his position while campaigning as a Presidential Candidate in 2000 </li></ul>AAAS Policy Brief: Stem Cell Research . Available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/cstc/briefs/stemcells/#guidelines
    7. 7. <ul><li>In 2002, an adverse impact study on the effects a proposed coal-fired power plant in western Kentucky would have at the Mammoth Cave National Park was rescinded after a private meeting between the National Park Service Director (Fran Mainella), the Deputy Interior Secretary (Steven Griles), and the power plant company (Peabody Energy Corp). </li></ul><ul><li>Peabody Energy Corp is listed as having made large contributions to Republican efforts during the 2000 and 2002 campaigns. </li></ul><ul><li>Bush officials intervened to silence objections to coal plant near Mammoth Cave National Park . Available at </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nrdc.org/BushRecord/2002_11.asp </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Soft money donors found for Peabody . Available at http://www.opensecrets.org/softmoney/softcomp1.asp? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>xtName=Peabody </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>“ In the past, scientists have written their reports, said, ‘This is what the science is,’ and the policymakers made their decisions from it.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Decisions that come out of Fish and Wildlife ignore the science and fabricate evidence in the crudest, most unsophisticated way.” </li></ul><ul><li>Stuart Pimm, professor of conservation ecology at Duke University, protesting at Capital Hill in January, 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Williamson, E. (2008). Scientists take complaints about interference to hill . Available at http://www.washingtonpost. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/15/AR2008011503428.html </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>“ Specifically, the complainant alleged that [Julie MacDonald, Deputy Assistant secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks] had bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to change documents and alter biological reporting regarding the Endangered Species Program. As our investigation progressed, we also developed information that MacDonald had disclosed nonpublic information to private sector sources.” </li></ul><ul><li>Results of an investigation by the Office the Inspector General. </li></ul>Report of Investigation . Available at http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/swcbd/PROGRAMS/esa/pdfs/doi-ig-report_jm.pdf
    10. 10. <ul><li>A policy was put in place at the US Geological Survey stating that the director (Mark Myers) and the communication office would be informed of: </li></ul><ul><li>“ findings or data that may be especially newsworthy, have an impact on government policy, or contradict previous public understanding to ensure that proper officials are notified and that communication strategies are developed.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I feel as though we’ve got someone looking over our shoulder at every damn thing we do. And to me that’s a very scary thing. I worry that it borders on censorship.” </li></ul><ul><li>Jim Estes, from the USGS field station at Santa Cruz, CA </li></ul>Heilprin, J (2006) Available at http://lists.dep.state.fl.us/pipermail/pharmwaste/2006-December/000718.html
    11. 11. <ul><li>“ A political appointee at my agency prevented my research on all-terrain-vehicle safety from reaching the public, even when deaths and injuries occurred.” </li></ul><ul><li>Robin Ingle, a former statistician at the Consumer Product Safety Commission commenting on the delayed release - and attempted rewording - of CPSC’s annual ATV report. </li></ul><ul><li>Appel, A. (2008). Top scientists want research free from politics. Available at http://ipsnews.net/news.asp? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>idnews=41205 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ingle, R. (2007) Which toys are okay? Don’t ask the safety police . Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>dyn/content/article/2007/12/21/AR2007122101555_pf.html </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>“ I can no longer serve as staff when scientific and clinical evidence, fully evaluated and recommended for approval by the professional staff here, has been overruled.” </li></ul><ul><li>Susan F. Wood, Assistant FDA Commissioner responding to FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford’s decision to further delay approving over-the-counter emergency contraception. </li></ul><ul><li>Kaufman, M. (2005). FDA official quits over delay on Plan B. Available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>dyn/content/article/2005/08/31/AR2005083101271.html </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>“ The reality is that the nation’s doctor has been marginalized and relegated to a position with no independent budget and with supervisors who are political appointees with partisan agendas. Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried.” </li></ul><ul><li>Former surgeon General Richard Carmona testifying to the House Government Reform Committee in July, 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Rovner, J. (2007) Ex-Surgeon General says administration interfered. Available at http://www.npr.org/templates/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>story/story.php?storyId=11854247 </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. <ul><li>“ The latest government tests show that New Yorkers, including those returning to work in the Wall Street area, are not being exposed to dangerous levels of contaminants, like asbestos, said Christie Whitman, who oversees the Environmental Protection Agency.” </li></ul><ul><li>Reported in the New York Times, September 2001 </li></ul><ul><li>“ A comprehensive 2003 report by the E.P.A.’s own inspector general that concluded that Mrs. Whitman did not have sufficient scientific information to warrant stating, on Sept. 18, 2001, that the air in New York was ‘safe to breathe.’ The report also detailed how the White House had altered her press releases.” </li></ul><ul><li>Reported in the New Times, June 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Tests find air safe near ground zero . (2001) Available at http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>res=9B0DE5DA143AF937A1575AC0A9679C8B63 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>DePalma, A. (2007). Ex-EPA chief defends role in 9/11 response . Available at </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/nyregion/26whitman.html </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. <ul><li>“ They were attempts to create a more moderate picture…No doubt some people did interpret their jobs as to reducing the fear factor.” </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. James Mahoney, former director of Climate Change Science Program explaining Philip Cooney’s edits to a 2003 EPA report on Global Warming. These edits deleted links to man-made causes and weakened the discussion of potential consequences . </li></ul><ul><li>Pegg, J. (2007). Effects of Bush climate science censorship linger. Available at http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>feb2007/2007-02-07-10.asp </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. <ul><li>“ I speak today as myself and not as a spokesman for NASA.” </li></ul><ul><li>Jim Hansen, in the opening remarks to his presentation, Communicating the Dangers and Opportunities in Global Warming, at the 2006 meeting of the American Geophysical Union. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Hansen had been threatened with “dire consequences” should he continue his public appeals for action to limit the emissions of gases that are implicated in global warming. </li></ul><ul><li>Hart, I. (2006) Jim Hansen and Goreticipation . Available at http://scienceblogs.com/integrityofscience/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>2006/12/agu_day_4_jim_hansen_and_goret.php </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. <ul><li>George Deutsch (a journalism graduate) was identified as one of the presidential appointees within the public affairs office at NASA who had passed along such warnings. </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Deutsch also began reviewing (and rejecting) requests for interviews with Dr. Hansen. </li></ul><ul><li>Additionally, Mr. Deutsch offered his input during the creation of NASA scholastic materials… </li></ul><ul><li>Revkin, C. (2006). NASA chief backs agency opnness. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/science/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>04climate.html </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Associated Press Stylebook . (2000). Available at http://alumni.imsa.edu/org/hadron/ap.pdf </li></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>“ It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most.” </li></ul><ul><li>George Deutsch, in emails directing a NASA contractor (Flint Wild) to add the word “theory” to every mention of the Big bang in Web presentations on Einstein that were being created for middle-school aged students during 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Deutsch also used as part of his reasoning, the existence of a “Big Bang Theory” entry in The Associated Press Stylebook. </li></ul><ul><li>Revkin, C. (2006). NASA chief backs agency opnness. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/science/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>04climate.html </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Associated Press Stylebook . (2000). Available at http://alumni.imsa.edu/org/hadron/ap.pdf </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>“ It is not the job of public-affairs officers to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff.” </li></ul><ul><li>NASA administrator Michael Griffin, commenting in an e-mail message to NASA's 19,000 employees a week after Dr. Hansen’s complaints were quoted in the New York Times. </li></ul><ul><li>Revkin, C. (2006). NASA chief backs agency opnness. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/04/science/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>04climate.html </li></ul></ul>
    20. 20. <ul><li>Responses from within the </li></ul><ul><li>scientific community </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>The 2006 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) included a session that assessed the Bush administration’s strained relationship with science. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Scientists need to recognize the potency of the threat this philosophy represents to the long cherished independence of US science.” </li></ul><ul><li>David Baltimore, Nobel laureate and (at the time) president-elect of the AAAS </li></ul>Science under attack. (2006). Nature, v439 , 891.
    22. 22. <ul><li>The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a number of reports while tracking political interference. </li></ul><ul><li>The 2004 statement on Scientific Integrity in Policy Making was initially signed by 62 leading scientists. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2006, the report had been updated and signed by 10,600 scientists. </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific Integrity in Policy Making . (2004). Available at http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/scientific- </li></ul><ul><ul><li>integrity-in-policy-making-704.html </li></ul></ul><ul><li>10,600 scientists condemn political interference in science . (2006) Available at http://www.ucsusa.org/news/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>press_release/10600-scientists-condemn.html </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. <ul><li>Responses from within Congress </li></ul>
    24. 24. <ul><li>“ The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.” </li></ul><ul><li>House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, December 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Committee report: White house engaged in systematic effort to manipulate climate change science. (2007). Available at </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1653 </li></ul></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>“ Science does not dictate policy – it informs the policy decisions we make. We rely upon federal scientists to produce information not propaganda.  We need complete, objective, factual information as input to our policy decisions…the incorporation of these provisions into NOAA’s organic legislation makes clear that NOAA’s science and its scientists will be protected from manipulation by shifts in the political winds.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC) from the House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology in support of his Amendment to HR 5450 </li></ul><ul><li>The Miller Amendment was defeated: 17 - 13 </li></ul><ul><li>Committee reports NOAA organization bill - again. (2006) Available at http://sciencedems.house.gov/press/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=1141 </li></ul></ul>
    26. 26. <ul><li>While this was by no means an inclusive list of all suppressive activities during this administration, the snapshot speaks volumes as to just how far the level of interference has reached. </li></ul><ul><li>Whether a new administration will bring positive change is </li></ul><ul><li>left to be seen, especially since stopping the interference is only the first step… </li></ul>
    27. 27. <ul><li>“ Even if we succeed in lifting this heavy hand of censorship there is still the problem of getting the political leadership to embrace the findings put forward by the scientists.” </li></ul><ul><li>Rick Piltz, a former scientist at the Climate Change Science Program, speaking before the Senate Commerce Committee. </li></ul><ul><li>Pegg, J. (2007) Effects of Bush climate scince censorship linger. Available at http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>feb2007/2007-02-07-10.asp </li></ul></ul>

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