Scientists Criticize Bush Administration Actions on Science
The "voice of science is being stifled" by the Bush administration, which includes few scientists in policy discussions and has proposed reductions in funds for research and education programs, according to speakers at a meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science on Sunday, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
According to the AP/Journal-Constitution, speakers said that some scientists in federal agencies are "being ignored or even pressured" to revise study conclusions when they do not agree with administration policies. In addition, speakers cited provisions in the fiscal year 2006 budget proposal Bush has released that would reduce funds for basic research and education programs that promote science.
Speakers also raised concerns that increased restrictions on visas might reduce the number of foreign-born science students who can study in the United States. Such students "have long been a major part of the American research community," the AP/Journal-Constitution reports.
Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, said, "In previous administrations, scientists were always at the table when regulations were being developed. Science never had the last voice, but it had a voice." She added, "Overall the R&D budget is bad news."
Kurt Gottfried of Cornell University and the Union of Concerned Scientists said, "This administration has distanced itself from scientific information."
However, White House spokesperson Ken Lisaius said, "The president makes policy decisions based on what the best policies for the country are, not politics. People who suggest otherwise are ill-informed" (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/21).