Restore Scientific Integrity?

Cosmic Variance describes the Union of Concerned Scientists pushing a bill by Senator Durbin that assumes guilt and corruption on the part of government and assumes that any influence is improper.

There has been a lot of whining and complaining in certain circles that the Bush administration has politicized science and corrupted scientific values in government. This bill may be a response that supports that view.

The problem with such bills is that they assume malfeasance in certain areas and add significant overhead that does not either address the underlying problem nor provide any means to generate desirable outcomes.

The fact is that this bill is an attempt to cover policy disagreements as science disagreements. And that obfuscation is where the community of scientists should have the real concern.

There is significant transparency in government science affairs. That is why there is so much whining. There is debate as many of the issues involve budgetary or other legislative lawmaking decision. Just because you don’t like the result of the debate and its succeeding vote does not mean that the result is wrong.

A proper scientific approach would be to educate – not legislate. That education, it should be noted, goes both ways. A scientist learns from debate as well as teaches in it. This effort shows a scientific community stuck in ideological stasis with an inability to use its established values in a productive manner.

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