Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bush and Science

I'm sympathetic to Russell Brown's case against Bush based on science policy but I think that he overstates the case.

One of the science groups critical of Bush he links to is the Union of Concerned Scientists, which sounds all very scientific and authoritative, but they happen to be anti GE. Probably not the most reliable source for accurate information on Bush's science policies.

They are actually an environmental lobby group with their own ideas about how environmental policies should develop. And that's fine, but it is possible to disagree with them and not be "anti-science" as Russell believes.

If one looks closely at much of the criticism of Bush on the issue of science it comes down to disagreements on policy choices which are all fair game in politics. Being against (government funded) stem-cell research is not necessarily anti-science. It's a value choice, one I happen to disagree with, but a valid value choice nevertheless.

It's like saying being anti-GE is anti-science. It's not necessarily the case. Some anti-GE arguments (most in my opinion) are non-scientific but to value non-GE over GE is a legitimate value choice and should not be considered to necessarily imply an anti-science stand.

There are specific instances where I would be critical of Bush's attitude towards science but I don't think it's as simple as alleging that it's been a "...four-year war on the integrity of American science".

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