The Nation has published an article this month by Robert Kennedy, Jr. criticizing the Bush Administration’s environmental and scientific record. Kennedy’s comments follow those of over 60 nationally known scientists – including several Nobel laureates – who accused the Bush Administration in February of distorting scientific data for political gain. Kennedy writes:
As Jesuit schoolboys studying world history we learned that Copernicus and Galileo self-censored for many decades their proofs that the earth revolved around the sun and that a less restrained heliocentrist, Giordano Bruno, was burned alive in 1600 for the crime of sound science. With the encouragement of our professor, Father Joyce, we marveled at the capacity of human leaders to corrupt noble institutions. Lust for power had caused the Catholic hierarchy to subvert the church's most central purpose--the search for existential truths.
Today, flat-earthers within the Bush Administration--aided by right-wing allies who have produced assorted hired guns and conservative think tanks to further their goals--are engaged in a campaign to suppress science that is arguably unmatched in the Western world since the Inquisition. Sometimes, rather than suppress good science, they simply order up their own. Meanwhile, the Bush White House is purging, censoring and blacklisting scientists and engineers whose work threatens the profits of the Administration's corporate paymasters or challenges the ideological underpinnings of their radical anti-environmental agenda. Indeed, so extreme is this campaign that more than sixty scientists, including Nobel laureates and medical experts, released a statement on February 18 that accuses the Bush Administration of deliberately distorting scientific fact "for partisan political ends."
The full story can be found in the online version of The Nation. Scientists – both Republicans and Democrats – charge that no administration before this has ever tried to manipulate scientific material for political reasons like these before. Thanks to my mother-in-law, Alice Smith, for sending the link.