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Bush Against Science (Part 2)

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One of the issues that is somewhat irritating to me and concerning to many scientistists is the fact that Bush’s science adviser does not report directly to him. John Marburger reports to Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card who then picks and chooses what he will report to the president.

This in a nutshell pretty much sums up the Bush thought process on science.

In the past the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy would advise the president directly but not with this president. To Bush science is just jibberish that confuses the trusty American people and stops his big business supporters from making (more) money.

During his first term the scientific community has charged Bush with completely ignoring widely accepted scientific studies in favor of fringe theories that support the conservative agenda.

The scientific community has tried to stand up to the administration and voice their concerns by releasing two reports in 2004 that accuse Bush of surpressing, manipulating and basically lying to twist the research into someting that it’s not.

Recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in September, former House Scientist committee chairman Bob Walker all but stood up and threatened the scientific community that they better “just shut up” or else. If they continue on their path of “moaning” and pushing this administration to accept their theories then science could face an intese “push back” from the federal government.

Might he be saying that scientists should just report data that supports the Bush agenda? What happens if they report the truth? Well, then… no more moolah muchacho! It’s either our way, or the highway — lie or die basically.

“This administration has had a very uneasy relationship with science and scientists because of allegations that the administration has contorted science to fit political aspirations,” said Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public Policy Center, a think tank that focuses on genetic research and policy. “And part of it is an absence of genuine enthusiasm about science by the administration.”

I just keep wondering why? Why would you ever want to surpress science?

Might it be that science is progress? Progress flies in the face of the conservative agenda which is rooted in the past? The reasons for science are rooted in the future and that type of thinking makes a lot of American businesses nervous. It makes the religeous faithful nervous. It makes the republican party and the conservative right nervous because their base support is nervous.

I agree that we can’t just flip a switch one day and shut down the coal mines and stop buying oil from overseas. I realize that there are moral questions regarding stem cell research. I realize that the Kyoto treaty might not be the best solution to global warming, I realize that there is a lot of work to do on renewable energy sources. The problem is that this administration is happy to live in the past and continue on our current course or in some cases turn the clock backwards.

According to Wired:

President Bush has stated that his administration’s goal is to make the United States “much less dependent on foreign sources of energy.” But if the next four years are anything like the past four, his administration will continue to trim government involvement in renewable-energy projects while strongly encouraging research that favor the fossil-fuel industry.

The evidence is no clearer than in the administration’s budget requests. For instance, its original request for fiscal 2002 (announced in May 2001) called for federal renewable-energy funding to be cut by 36 percent. Specifically, funding for solar, geothermal, hydropower and wind-energy research each would have been cut by 50 percent or more.

Though the request was eventually set aside by Congress during the appropriations process, it marked the first battle in an ongoing war between renewable-energy proponents and the Bush administration. So far, advocates for renewable energy are losing.

Another example: Federal funding for solar-energy research in 2004 was down 10 percent compared with 2001. And the administration’s 2005 budget request proposes to cut the program an additional 3.5 percent. Biomass-energy programs, which have seen a less than 1 percent increase since 2001, would be cut by 16 percent under the proposed plan.

To be fair, the money has not disappeared completely. Rather, it is has been redirected to fund President Bush’s hydrogen initiative. Unveiled during the President’s 2003 State of the Union address, the initiative is a multiyear $1.2 billion plan to accelerate development of vehicles that run on clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

But the plan, as it stands today, directs a large portion of its funding to developing technologies that create hydrogen from nuclear reactors and fossil fuels — both of which have environmental drawbacks and, in the case of fossil fuels, would not lower America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Is this progress? I think not.

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  • Big Time Patriot

    Don’t forget, the Arabs were leaders in science and math until their culture got in the way. The Chinese were great explorers and traders until their culture got in their way. I myself don’t care for America becoming it’s own little “dark ages” where science is repressed and ignored. George Bush couldn’t do more to bring America down from its position of power in the world in any more effective way then letting it fall behind in the technology race..

  • Eric Olsen

    I think he’s all for technology, it’s pure science (which leads to future technology) where he sucks. However, science will carry on apace despite his superstition

  • Hal Pawluk

    I think he’s not for technology, either, but for corporations who happen to use technology – he’d be for them whether they did or not (and how would he know?)