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Wildlife Deputy Changed Science For Lobbyists

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the five-bucks-says-it-was-world-of-warcraft dept.

United States 174

fistfullast33l writes "In another case of a government official creating a 'unique' interpretation of science, TPM Muckraker reports on Julie MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks in the Department of the Interior in Washington. The Department's Inspector General issued a report today documenting evidence that MacDonald not only overrode opinions of department scientists to benefit lobbyists, and political interests, but also that she shared internal documents with said lobbyists and a friend in an unnamed online roleplaying game. My favorite episode: 'At one point, according to Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall, MacDonald tangled with field personnel over designating habitat for the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher, a bird whose range is from Arizona to New Mexico and Southern California. When scientists wrote that the bird had a nesting range of 2.1 miles, MacDonald told field personnel to change the number to 1.8 miles. Hall, a wildlife biologist who told the IG he had had a running battle with MacDonald, said she did not want the range to extend to California because her husband had a family ranch there.'"

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humans are animals too (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552327)

so whatever we do to this planet is only natural.

She's hot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552333)

I don't care what you say, she's hot and I want to eat her out.

Recommended Reading (4, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552349)

Suggested reading for everyone: The Republican War on Science [wikipedia.org] by Chris Mooney [wikipedia.org] . Chapter 11 (documenting the ID movement) is available online, but the site is not responding (quite possibly something to do with this story breaking).

Re:Recommended Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552485)

"The Department's Inspector General issued a report today ..."

Global Warming is the Left's ID... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552519)

Better hurry up and buy your carbon indulgences, sinner.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (5, Insightful)

Evilest Doer (969227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552703)

Global Warming is the Left's ID
Global warming is based on measured results and well understood scientific principles. The study of global warming has been a careful, ongoing scientific concern for over forty years. ID is just repackaged Young Earth Creationism from people who are stupid enough to believe that the world is only 6000 years old. Even St. Augustine (circa 5th century) advised people not to take the Genesis account as literal history since it was never meant to be that way.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552793)

The study of global warming has been a careful, ongoing scientific concern for over forty years.

I want some kool-aid.

In the late 70s they were yelling about global cooling. Sorry, that's LESS THAN forty years ago.

Or did you go to a public school?

I don't believe the Earth is only 6000 years old, but I also don't believe we're significant enough to have that much impact on the planet. Especially not when it seems more aimed just at America and American businesses, and countries like China are exempted from the big environmentalist wet dream of Kyoto.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (5, Insightful)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552843)

Nobody cares what you believe. We're trying to keep coastal areas habitable. You need to shut the fuck up; you don't know what you're talking about, and you're fueling men who will cause major problems in the future. I'm aware that the evidence for global warming isn't as conclusive as some rabid environmentalists would have you believe, but to assume that means everything is peachy and you should keep as many lights as you can on at night is flat-out retarded. Also, the predictions of global cooling was based on a flawed model, one whose errors have been found, explained, and fixed. If you can find the same sort of errors in the current models, great, otherwise learn to judge the maturity of a science before commenting on it.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

HappyUserPerson (954699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553939)

I'm aware that the evidence for global warming isn't as conclusive as some rabid environmentalists would have you believe
Okay, good, showing some reasoned caution.

Also, the predictions of global cooling was based on a flawed model, one whose errors have been found, explained, and fixed.
BAM! Everything is known, explained, and right as rain!\ The idea of global cooling happened during a time of slight general cooling (from 1940 - 1970). It's no accident that the models of the time just so happened to fit expectations (the weather outside). Just like today, we're going though a period of slight warming, and the complex, arbitrary models fit perfectly and spell DOOM and DISASTER, just like the old global cooling models.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554313)

Yes, because starting a response with "nobody cares what you believe" really means that (otherwise you'd never said a damn thing). Not to mention some of us are looking for ya know, intelligent debate. The Earth goes through warming & cooling cycles we really have no control over. Just as how global cooling was debunked years ago, so will global warming once we enter another cooling cycle, and we'll be back at the same place where we are now with crazed environmentalists who are really concerned with taking "the man" down a notch more than the environment, and indigent people, just, like, you. Yes we are fucking our environment up, but saying global warming is the result is just as bad of science as the TFA's science. For example: places like Iraq used to be beautiful, and very green areas in previous history. However the people of the area treated it like shit, and well, they have a sprawling desert now. If we treat the world bad enough it'll shake us off like a bad cold, and get back to business as usual.

We all know leaving all the lights on, running the AC while with 120 out with the doors open, massive fat assed American sized SUVs, and dumping toxins into our environment is bad. But please, rally behind the real truth that it's just bad common sense to do such things, and not some buzzword of the day. You can always tell when your being fed a load of tripe, because someone always spouts off a buzzword or 50.

Are you fucking serious? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554765)

Are you blaming the desert climate of Iraq on mankind's actions? Um, there's a timeline problem with that involving the industrial age and the last time that area of the world was green.

Intelligent debate...right...

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

Copid (137416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553013)

In the late 70s they were yelling about global cooling. Sorry, that's LESS THAN forty years ago.
Challenge! References, please. Three papers (other than some overblown sensationalist popular media misinterpretation of actual scientific results) would be a good start, although evidence of anything like a broad consensus would be better.

I don't believe the Earth is only 6000 years old, but I also don't believe we're significant enough to have that much impact on the planet.
And you're basing this on...?

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553203)

I remember being taught in highschool that "we are overdue for another ice age". Scared the crap out of me. This was in early/mid-90's. Then a few years later, we started learning about holes in the ozone layer, and my first thought was "wait, if this stops the next ice age, isn't it a good thing?".

When a single volcanic eruption has the potential to put out more CO2 than all human production over the last decade, I think it's fair to say that we're a pretty insignificant factor.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

Kenyon (4231) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553355)

That's great dude. Good thing some people understand the real science behind whatever the latest thing is that you're scared about.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (3, Insightful)

VON-MAN (621853) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553927)

'I remember being taught in highschool that "we are overdue for another ice age'
Yes, since then the scientific ideas on these topics have changed (why do people think that's strange?). However, there is still a LOT of uncertainty on how ice ages happen.

"we started learning about holes in the ozone layer, and my first thought was "wait, if this stops the next ice age, isn't it a good thing?"
The holes in the ozone layer have nothing to do with the climate, and everything with CFK's and harmful ultraviolet light. Ask Australians, they'll know.

"When a single volcanic eruption has the potential to put out more CO2 than all human production over the last decade, I think it's fair to say that we're a pretty insignificant factor."

Let's turn this argument around (for fun and education). Did you know that big volcanos (as in, happens every couple of years) can produce the same amount for carbondioxide as all human production over the last decade? You don't have to strain to realize this doesn't help the global warming problem at all!

Keep in mind that these volcano's have been partaking in the earth CO2 cycle for as long as humans remember, and really are an integral part of it. CO2 is absorbed by the ocean (at a certain rate), volcanos and animals contribute to it (at certain rates), and now also humans contribute heavily to it. Of course, this isn't to say that one really big volcano cannot ruin the earth climate for a couple of years to come.
But, think of this: if one reasonably big volcano can dominate earth climate for years (as we have seen a couple of times now), why then is it so strange that humans contribute to the effects of the CO2 when the human production is slowly getting comparable with what volcanos can do. And we do it every day, every year, and it is increasing fast.


As a side note, of course we humans have hardly seen what volcanos can REALLY DO. And volcanos don't just produce CO2 but also a lot of ashes (blocks sun) and SO2 (ozone dissolving(?) and other problems), so don't just pull volcanos out of your hat when talking about global warming, unless you know a bit more.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18553451)

Here you go Coped, Try Google, this is only one reference there are plenty more including papers in "peer reviewed journals" of the time for whatever that is worth.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15391426/site/newsweek / [msn.com]

Just because you were a kid and not paying attention at the time doesn't mean it didn't happen and by the way, MULTIPLE times....

However, this IS the first time (to my knowledge) that we have had the hubris to decide it's entirely our work.

Try looking up the little Ice age in Europe then take a look at the history of the Sahara.
The planetary climate is more than just a little bit variable.

Mind you, I STILL think that reducing energy use, pollution & yadda is a good idea.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (4, Insightful)

Copid (137416) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553535)

Here you go Coped, Try Google, this is only one reference there are plenty more including papers in "peer reviewed journals" of the time for whatever that is worth.
That's not what I was asking for. I know that you claim that there was some sort major "global cooling" movement in the 70's. I was asking you to cite actual evidence that there was. If you had read the article that you linked to, you might have come across the line, "The point to remember, says Connolley, is that predictions of global cooling never approached the kind of widespread scientific consensus that supports the greenhouse effect today" for example.

My point is that the various claims of decades past don't come near the broad consensus and quantities of data we have today. The fact that some scientists have been wrong in the past doesn't mean that most scientists are wrong now.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (3, Informative)

Ptraci (584179) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553555)

From the second page of that article:

The point to remember, says Connolley, is that predictions of global cooling never approached the kind of widespread scientific consensus that supports the greenhouse effect today. And for good reason: the tools scientists have at their disposal now--vastly more data, incomparably faster computers and infinitely more sophisticated mathematical models--render any forecasts from 1975 as inoperative as the predictions being made around the same time about the inevitable triumph of communism.

Global Warming is Irrelevant (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552905)

This topic is a red herring, a debate which is DELIBERATELY furthered by commercial interests so as to avoid the real problem, which is pollution of the air in general.

Look, we all know polluting the air is wrong. The earth is enveloped by the thinnest egg-shell layer of an atmosphere. Whether filling that thin memrane causes warming, cooling, or stasis for thousands of years, it doesn't matter. In the long run, it is objectively, undeniably stupid to fill the balloon with pollutants. So whether some sort of rapid onset of "global warming" is going to happen or not doesn't matter. What really matters is stopping the pollution of the air, which is undeniably a wrongful, stupid act.

Re:Global Warming is Irrelevant (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553315)

This topic is a red herring, a debate which is DELIBERATELY furthered by commercial interests so as to avoid the real problem, which is pollution of the air in general.

Look, we all know polluting the air is wrong.

Air pollution is not a question of "is it wrong"
It is "how much is bad for you and me?"

U.S.A. businesses love countries with lax pollution laws, because it's cheaper to operate there & the pollution is Not In My Back Yard.

In the end, the Federal Government will never allow pollution laws to significantly get in the way of commerce. Think of it like this: What does it matter if the air quality is good when your economy has collapsed? I realize that's an extreme way of putting it, but change collapse to 1% growth, 0% growth, or -1% growth & everyone will act the same way.

Government exists to facilitate commerce.
Social services were tacked on as an after thought.

Re:Global Warming is Irrelevant (4, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553693)

Think of it like this: What does it matter if the air quality is good when your economy has collapsed?

Excuse me, but you've got it completely ass-backwards: the question is, what does it matter if your economy is good, if the air is poisoned?

You can fix the economy a lot easier than you can fix poisoned air and water.

Rule number one for people in a self-contained space habitat, whether a Vostok caspule or a planetary ecosystem, is: Do not fuck with the spaceship's life support system.

Re:Global Warming is Irrelevant (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554181)

Government exists to facilitate commerce.

Social services were tacked on as an after thought.

It may be in your country but there are quite a few countries in the world where social services, free and unencumbered services given to the people by the state, are even a big part of the country's constitution.

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

swingbyte (689824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552973)

I always misread creationism as cretenism - insult to cretins

Re:Global Warming is the Left's ID... (1)

keraneuology (760918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554903)

ID is just repackaged Young Earth Creationism from people who are stupid enough to believe that the world is only 6000 years old.


Most people who believe in intelligent design do NOT believe that the world is only 6,000 years old. ID is *NOT* the same thing as creationism.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

HungSoLow (809760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552651)

As much as I appreciate the work Mr. Mooney does, what precisely makes him credible to speak about science related topics? He has a B.A. in English, and I doubt very much that he has a fundamental grasp of the concepts he speaks of... Anyone care to share their thoughts on the subject?

Perhaps I shouldn't snub those that are fighting the 'good fight'.

Re:Recommended Reading (5, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552683)

The problem isn't that Republicans are at war with science, or the Democrats. The problem is that we have put politicians in charge of science! As long as some government official, bureaucrat or politician can gain a bit of power by manipulating science, they will. The separation of church and state has proven to be a great success. Let's take it one step further and have a separation of science and state.

Re:Recommended Reading (5, Insightful)

Evilest Doer (969227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552747)

The problem isn't that Republicans are at war with science, or the Democrats. The problem is that we have put politicians in charge of science!
While that is true to an extent, Republicans have been taking their war with science to ridiculous lengths since W was selected. This is only one of many times in which the head of the department/ agency/ whatever turns out to be an English/ Journalism/ Underwater-Basketweaving major who goes on to censor and alter what PhD scientists write about what they have studied and researched.


But you are certainly right, though. Having a bunch of scientifically-uneducated lawyers (which most Congresscritters are) set science policy is, shall we say, not exactly the best of ideas. I think this whole attitude goes back to the ancient stupidity which basically said that the king knows all.

Re:Recommended Reading (2, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553273)

That's not really true. Republicans are no more "anti-science" than Democrats, they just tend to suppress and pursue different sciences. Republicans pursue applied, practical research, especially when it involves things like weapons, vehicles, power generation and industry. They suppress stem cell research, biological studies in general, and are generally quite opposed to evolutionary theory. Democrats on the other hand tend to be much less supportive of applied sciences, especially nuclear research and new industrial technologies. Meanwhile they have no problem supporting research into all the things that Republicans oppose.

It's just a matter of differing priorities. The typical left-wing opposition to nuclear power and incineration technology is no less "anti-science" than the right-wing opposition to evolutionary theory and stem cell research. Each side of the political spectrum has it's Sacred Cows, and they can both be equally ignorant when it comes to science. The GPP had it absolutely right - the solution isn't just excluding republicans from making scientific decisions, but rather keeping politics and science entirely separate.

Re:Recommended Reading (2, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553335)

Whoa there, there is a huge difference between having different priorities and wholesale distortion of scientific evidence which is what the Republican's are continuously being caught doing.

Can you think of any situations where a Democrat blatantly misrepresented scientific evidence in order to advance a partisan agenda? I've never heard of any. I'm sure it's happened at some point, but certainly not to the extend that this Administration is guilty of such things.

Re:Recommended Reading (1, Interesting)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553403)

Well, Al Gore is a good example of "wholesale distortion of scientific evidence". While I don't disagree with all of his conclusions, the majority of his "research" and "evidence" is questionable at best, and outright lies at worst.

You're right in that the scale is different. The biggest worry for me personally is the republicans push for "abstinence only" sex education, and the constant attempts to bring "intelligent design" into schools. Those two alone pretty much dwarf anything the dems have done. But it's silly to pretend that the dems are much better - they just tend to be less visible because they attack "acceptable targets". When a republican claims that evolution doesn't exist, people get real upset, but when a democrat claims that nuclear power is bad, people pretty much buy it hook, line, and sinker. There's a lot of bad science out there being pushed by the dems too, but people aren't aware of it because most of us have already bought into it.

Re:Recommended Reading (4, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553559)

"Well, Al Gore is a good example of "wholesale distortion of scientific evidence". While I don't disagree with all of his conclusions, the majority of his "research" and "evidence" is questionable at best, and outright lies at worst."

That comment demonstrates the "scale" of the problem. What specific point(s) of "research" and "evidence" do you consider questionable/lies?

BTW: Don't get me wrong, I agree that all politcians use and abuse dogma but the current US Administration has had way too many public spats with their own scientific advisers to ignore (and I live on the other side of the pacific ocean!!!).

Re:Recommended Reading (2, Informative)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553619)

when a democrat claims that nuclear power is bad, people pretty much buy it hook, line, and sinker.

Certainly saying "nukes are bad, umkay?" is anti-science.

Taking a long good look at the safety (no, pebble-bed reactors are not all that safe [wikipedia.org] ), security (Iran's in the news again), waste disposal (still don't have a place to put it), and limited fuel availablity issues involved with fission and concluding that it is a poor choice for our long-term energy needs, is not. (Note that there are other nuclear power technologies, like thorium spallation "energy amplifiers" [wikipedia.org] , and of course fusion, that hold more promise, and we ought to be directing resources toward researching and developing these rather than on fission.)

Indeed, much of the support for fission seems to be based more on techno-fetishism, on a desire to relize a myth of Man as Master, holding the Power of the Mighty Atom, than on sound scientific analysis.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553741)

no place to put it?

go out at night and look at the sky. everything that is not pitch black is a place to put nuclear waste.

We have containment methods which are capable of withstanding the force of an accidental rocket detonation and impact.

it is not a question of having a place to put it, but a question of people not stepping up to pay the disposal fees (which WILL go down as space becomes more accessible).

in short: we could fire it into the sun or the core of a gas giant, where it will never be seen again.

Re:Recommended Reading (3, Insightful)

jstomel (985001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553849)

The difference is that when democrats are opposed to research, they just don't fund it. They don't say to scientists "we don't like nuclear weapons, so change epsilon in the equations so that they won't work any more". Whereas republicans seem to tell scientists to change their data to fit the facts that they want to be true, like telling scientists to change the nesting range so that california isn't included in the range of this bird. The former is a funding issue. That's political, it's ledgit. The later is data manipulation. In the world of science, that's sacriledge.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552895)

Think of what you're saying, though.

I mean, I agree that politicians generally suck and corruption is rampant, but you're suggesting that scientists not have oversight from anyone (except maybe other scientists?).

It's not like there isn't plenty of corruption in scientific circles as well (remember cold fusion, anyone?). Corruption in pursuit of research dollars (some govt, some VC), and just plain corruption as in "Anyone who doesn't agree with the accepted position must be a crackpot." Remember when the accepted position was that dinosaurs died out because of the rise of mammals and they just failed to compete and evolve? And anyone who didn't go along with that wasn't taken seriously? And later, when the impact/mass extinction theory began to emerge and people were considered crackpots for advancing it? Why was that? Because they threatened the status quo.

Now, that isn't an argument for oversight of science per se, but it does point out that science and scientists are far from the objective defenders of truth we'd like to believe.

In the case of global warming (which may or may not be going on, and may or may not be a long term trend and may or may not be caused mostly by humans or mostly by increased solar radiation and who cares if it is? It'll make my house near Disneyland into ocean-front property maybe ), a lot of scientists are pressured to go along with it. By peer pressure. By "step up to the research grant" pork barrel" pressure. Meanwhile, some pretty prominent scientists don't buy it.

Whatever the problems of government may be, at the end of the day, it is the people, through our elected officials, are in charge, and should be in charge. Scientists at the Dept. of the Interior or anywhere else are not elected and should not be in charge. They make recommendations, which may or may not be accepted.

As for the yellow-tailed-can't-adapt-to-a-changing-environmen t-whatever-bird, maybe the real question is whether or not it's worth protecting. Most species that ever existed are now extinct, as a result of being unable to adapt to changing conditions. That's called evolution.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553025)

I think that control over handing out money is enough for the political side; they don't need a chance to directly edit scientist's words for acceptability or 'message'.

You speak of difficulty in overcoming established views as corruption, but I don't really see how it is. Being old and, so to speak, close minded(really some horrible morass of inertia, both institutional and personal, and arrogance) isn't corruption, it just happens to be how a lot of people end up. It's interesting to note that all of the things you talk about were eventually countered by scientists -- apparently even with their flaws, they were able to make progress.

It isn't clear what you think people should and should not be 'in charge' of. Lots of people, elected and appointed, are in charge of things. The President is responsible for carrying out the government, but he can't be 'in charge' of how much paper a certain office gets. That's nonsense, but it illustrates that in many situations, recommendations are effectively decisions, as it isn't practical to do things any other way.

As far as extinction and evolution, what's the harm in trying to minimize our species influence on the process for other species?

Re:Recommended Reading (2, Insightful)

nugneant (553683) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553245)

Whatever the problems of government may be, at the end of the day, it is the people, through our elected officials, are in charge, and should be in charge.


Bravo to you for putting it so clearly. In a representative democracy, the senators, representatives, and various presidential subordinates, are not leaders. They are not even - in the ideal form of democracy - role models. Whenever I see them referred to as "leaders" (usually in glurge-for-kids, see: The Mini Page), I want to puke. The way I see it, politicians are actors - glorified lawyers, if you will. Their job is to say what you and I say, but say it in such a way that it's clean, precise, to the point, and doesn't contain so many bad Soviet Russia jokes. This is why I'll never vote Democratic or Republican - even if I knew it would come down to a single vote between the two, I would still vote for my ideals, not for "my favorite candidate on the island".

But enough off-topic ramblings. The trouble here is: What happens if 85% of the population believes that the Earth is flat? That the Sun revolves around us? What if 51% of the population decides it would be a lot nicer if the George Dubya forces demolished the World Trade Center with dynamite or miniature truckbombs or nanotermites or whatever?

We don't want politicians in "charge" of science, definitely - but it's even more dangerous to place "the People" in charge of science. We, as nerds, all get irritated when TIME or the New York Times completely botches the simple facts of a computing principle - and most of us harbor a distaste for "sensationalistic science" - such as that case a few months back about the "mysterious black bugs that lived under your skin and sucked your neurons [slashdot.org] ". Can you imagine what would happen if science was put to a vote of the People? We'd have Intelligently Designed second gunmen on the Grassy Knoll, pi would be 3.14, and bodies in motion would remain in motion until they stopped, because Grandma Nitwit refuses to have it any other way, and the majority of people feel very sorry for Grandma Nitwit because she is such a nice person.

Scientists should be in control of science. Science should be placed in a category all its own - the "real world" - the world that determines whether Jimmy Twoshoes is going to live or die after ramming into an 18-wheeler on his bicycle. The world of Christ and myth and what's "nice" and "convenient" and "easy to have faith on" can either be separate, or non-existant - but to place it as an equal is moral relativism at its absolute worst. And to look at science - or the voice of science - as just another checkbox alongside "Christian", "Jew", "Islam", "other" (or "the Christian view", the "Jew view", etc) is to take a dangerously literal view towards "science as a belief system", or whatever the current head-up-the-ass in-vogue philosophical outlook is.

Re:Recommended Reading (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553521)

The problem is people who don't believe in objective reality.

Such people are dangerous everywhere but are outright toxic when allowed to tamper with the results of fieldwork.

People who substitute goodfact for realfact and own propaganda machines are inimical to democracy.

Re:Recommended Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18553579)

The problem isn't that Republicans are at war with science, ....

Bull. What did you expect when Al Gore came up with numbers about what the tax reductions meant for real people and the current dickwad-in-chief had no better response than to keep repeating, "Fuzzy math. Fuzzy math.", like the insane fool he is. Then he found enough other anti-scientific dickwads to vote him into office.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554751)

The problem is that we have put politicians in charge of science!

It appears to me that the only practical solution then is to eliminate public funding of science, education, etc. That is the only way to do what you say. Even if you appoint a scientist (or committee of scientists) to supervise the distribution of these funds, that scientist becomes a politician as a result because they are in a strictly political position and getting paid to make political decisions.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552711)

I would think the best person to write such a report would be a journalist. They dig into stories like this, interviewing people and getting input from experts in various fields. They look into the background of the people involved and try to find inside information like leaked documents.

If a non-scientist can clearly present to other non-scientists a case of scientists being pressured by administrators with a politcal bent, then that is very compelling. It's much less compelling if it takes a scientist to understand the issues involved. Hopefully that makes sense.

I speak on a theoretical basis, never having read any of Mooney's writings. But theoretically, there's no surprise as to his background being in liberal arts.

Liberal Arts majors BS detectors are broken. (2, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552967)

How many times have we seen perpetual motion reported as straight news?

For a journalist to be able to think critically about scientific subjects they should be reasonably well grounded in the subject (which is asking a lot for a journalist).

Otherwise all they do is pick a side in the argument, dumb it down till they think they understand it, then report it as undisputed fact.

So while you do have a point about presenting information to non-scientists the journalist should be somewhere in the middle. What we've gotten is regurgitated press releases being passed off as news by idiot reporters who can't ask the any intelligent questions.

I went to a University with a very well respected J-school. They took the same amount of math and science as the education majors (basically they were required to re-take the material they should have learned in middle school).

Re:Liberal Arts majors BS detectors are broken. (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552995)

I could rebut your argument by saying I've never met a scientist who was ever able to perform investigative journalism worth a damn.

Also, I have a science degree, but I'm at a loss as to how that qualifies me to research a story on the biasing of science in the fields of global warming or environmental protection regulations. And I was one of the SHARPER ones in the bunch.

In reality, some journalists are competent and some aren't, no matter what their major.

Re:Liberal Arts majors BS detectors are broken. (2, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553131)

I've never met a journalist (or read or listened to...) who was ever able to perform investigative journalism worth a damn. It seems a dying art. Journalists these days just pick a side then never deviate from the line.

That aside your science degree should equip you to ask tough questions. Just understanding conservation of energy would put you at the 99th percentile of working journalists. Conservation of energy is a basic part of any working BS detector.

For example one of the questions that should be asked about any numeric model is how well it 'back casts' (reproduces historical results given only input data equivalent to that being used for forcasts). To put that in concrete terms I'd like climate models to be able to show north Africa becoming progressively more arid when back casting the last 2000 years (something we know is historically true). As a professional computer modeler (power grid) I know that you can get any result you want by manipulating the model. Energy boards spend much effort validating models and datasets before excepting the results. They do this because they know everyone involved has an ax to grind. Experience has taught them they need to sweat the details or be manipulated by those smarter/sneakier then them.

You wouldn't report perpetual motion as straight news would you? (not without a damn lot of evidence anyhow, not on the word of a 'self trained physicist/inventor'!) I see that story about once a year on national news. If they were mocking the moron that would be great, but they're not.

Re:Liberal Arts majors BS detectors are broken. (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553225)

That aside your science degree should equip you to ask tough questions. Just understanding conservation of energy would put you at the 99th percentile of working journalists.
That's great, only I didn't learn about it in college. I learned about it in high school. In college, I took biology and chemistry and the laws of thermodynamics were never covered.

For example one of the questions that should be asked about any numeric model is how well it 'back casts'
Again, something that wasn't part of college for me. To me, it's common sense. But I sure didn't pick that up at college.

You wouldn't report perpetual motion as straight news would you?
Nope. But once again, that was covered in high school.

In today's educational system (at least in America), I don't put stock in ANY sort of degree. Okay, maybe engineering, but only if followed by a P.E. exam. I've seen enough dumbasses with science degrees to know college is mostly about perseverance, not intelligence.

Re:Liberal Arts majors BS detectors are broken. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18553803)

Liberal Arts majors BS detectors are broken.

I guess you think it's the height of good journalism to make an inane generalization like that one. I was a Latin major and, aside from likely knowing a lot more about science than you, am also sufficiently educated in logic to avoid such a stupid mistake while allegedly arguing for the need for more depth in science.

Re:Recommended Reading (2, Insightful)

rasputin465 (1032646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552735)

Perhaps I shouldn't snub those that are fighting the 'good fight'.

I agree we shouldn't snub the good guys, but at the same time, it wouldn't be the 'good fight' if we didn't subject everyone to criticism equally.

Re:Recommended Reading (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553039)

it wouldn't be the 'good fight' if we didn't subject everyone to criticism equally. On Slashdot? You haven't seen the continuous over-the-top in-your-face guess-what-makes-the-accepted-submissions agenda here on the "news for nerds" site?

Re:Recommended Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18554663)

I'm sorry, but that is stupid, for the simple reason that everyone is not deserving of equal criticism.

Re:Recommended Reading (5, Insightful)

nbauman (624611) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553219)

As much as I appreciate the work Mr. Mooney does, what precisely makes him credible to speak about science related topics? He has a B.A. in English, and I doubt very much that he has a fundamental grasp of the concepts he speaks of... Anyone care to share their thoughts on the subject?
That's a fair question that deserves a reasonable answer.

I read Mooney's book, and I read several of his articles. It was consistent with what I had been reading in Science, New Scientist, Scientific American, and Henry Waxman's documentation (which is where a lot of this comes from).

More convincing than their arguments is the Bush Administration's inability to give a convincing rebuttal. I also read the Wall Street Journal editorial page every day to get the other side, and I don't think they gave a coherent answer. Most significantly, when they got someone to rebut the scientists, they usually got an economist, not a scientist, and their economists seemed to make obvious logical and scientific fallicies. For that matter, the Wall Street Journal news stories pretty much took Mooney's perspective. (Science and New Scientist made a reasonable effort to give the opposing views too, and at least they got scientists.)

There was an editorial in Science signed by science advisors to presidents over 30 years denouncing the Bush Administration -- including many Republicans. Even Republican scientists said that they've never seen political pressure like this (and I saw political pressure on scientists under the Carter and Clinton Administration). The unanimity among scientists really is striking, bipartisan and unprecedented. It's always possible that they could all be wrong, but it's better than the evidence we usually have for other policy decisions (like Star Wars), and given the risks, you can't just say, "Let's put off action for 10 years while we get more evidence," like George W. Bush does.

So as a journalist, much of what Mooney does is merely summing up what highly-credentialed PhD-level scientists are saying, giving the arguments on both sides, coming to conclusions, and giving it a context. The scientists say that he's reporting their views accurately. Furthermore much of what he does is reporting on politics, and it's nice, but not necessary, to be a scientist to do that. (Gerard Piel, the publisher of Scientific American, was a history major.)

Lots of people do that, and still turn out to be wrong. But Mooney got generally good reviews in the scientific journals. He took a lot of stuff I read and made it easier for me to understand the context. In my reading, he does seem to have a good grasp of the subject. He wouldn't be qualified to do the hard science, like look at temperature data in ice cores and make a scientific judgment about it, but he doesn't make hard scientific decisions, he just talks to other people who do.

That's what qualifies him to write a book and report on this. He could be wrong, but he's at least as qualified as any journalist, columnist, or economist. Of course you have a perfect right to be skeptical, and you provide a useful service when you are skeptical. But I think there are good answers to your objections.

I don't suppose anyone would argue that the President of the United States has a fundamental grasp of these concepts.:)

Re:Recommended Reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18553667)

I read Mooney's book, and I read several of his articles. It was consistent with what I had been reading in Science, New Scientist, Scientific American, and Henry Waxman's documentation (which is where a lot of this comes from).

Not to mention that Henry Waxman is one of the finest investigators I have ever followed. And he likely has more integrity than the rest of Congress combined.

MMOG? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552405)

After reading and re-reading all 3 linked articles, I see no specific or generic reference to an MMOG. Am I blind (if so, I blame it on MMOG-induced sleep deprivation)? Is the article summary just making that part up? Or is there another article that wasn't linked? Inquiring minds want to know.

Shows the /. editors disconnect from the Real (1)

Freedom451 (966684) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552477)

World(TM).

They think chevrontexaco is an MMORPG rather than a MMOOPC (massive mult-national offline oil producting company).

It is true that the upper levels of Chevron Texaco seem to regard US Dollars as about as real and Linden dollars & a world where you can buy scientific findings is something of a virtual world--obviously MacDonald feels that she can change a bird's nesting range by fiat, certainly seems she sees her role as more of a dungeon master than a steward.

Re:MMOG? (3, Informative)

sunwukong (412560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552537)

There's mention of it here [tpmmuckraker.com] .

Obviously crafting related (4, Funny)

Headw1nd (829599) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552435)

"Ms. MacDonald, if you read the report you will see that the white-tailed prairie dog is clearly in need of protec-"

"NO!! I NEED TEN MORE HIDES TO COMPLETE MY CLOAK!!"

What a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552439)

dumb bitch. This is why lobbyists need to take a long walk off the short pier.

All too common (1, Informative)

coldmist (154493) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552451)

A few years ago, there was a story posted about how a biologist had used some big cat hairs to base his research on. Turned out, that the hairs had come from a cat in a zoo.

In South-West Utah, whenever some road work was going to be done, they would find a dead tortoise on the road, and the environmentalists would cry foul. After they did an autopsy on one, they found frozen lettuce in its stomach. The environmentalists had caught them live, fed them for a while, then froze them until "needed".

Ya, really good stuff there.

What? Enviornmentalists go overboard? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552483)

Say it ain't so! Please tell me environmental extremists aren't exaggerating their claims in order to push their agenda!

Next thing you know, I'll find out global warming is being overblown by a bunch of humanity-is-horrible loons...

Re:What? Enviornmentalists go overboard? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552507)

A few scientists who do something unscientific means that all of research you don't like is automatically refuted?

Touched a nerve, eh? I never mentioned science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552581)

Now did I?

And speaking of science, doesn't science require experimental repeatability, with controls?

Re:Touched a nerve, eh? I never mentioned science (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552717)

No, science does not require repeatability with controls.

Consider Astronomy. That's definitely a science, but it's fairly hard to repeat the Big Bang, star formation or even planetary formation with controls.

Theory and observation, that's what science is about.

You observe a phenomenon, then construct theories about it. If the theories hold true for another round of observartions, you're doing Science! If the theories don't hold, you either change them (still doing Science) or refute the observations (stepping away from Science here).

(As an aside - changing the observations to fit the theory, or selecting only observations that fit the theory is anti-Science in its purest form. This behaviour actually attempts to extend ignorance and distort facts. Any attempt to do this is highly suspicious.)

It's considered really nice in the Scientific world to be able to perform an experiment, to better control observations. In those cases you have to have repeatability with controls. Then other people can perform your observations and see for themselves. That's even nicer. I'd go so far as to use the phrase 'peachy keen' here.

Science is all about observation and theorising, in an endless loop. Experiments are merely a form of observation.

Re:Touched a nerve, eh? I never mentioned science (1)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554381)

"Consider Astronomy. That's definitely a science, but it's fairly hard to repeat the Big Bang"

Big Bang is cosmology, not astronomy.

Re:What? Enviornmentalists go overboard? (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552891)

Well it certainly seems to prove most anonymous cowards are big fans of straw man arguments.

Re:All too common (1)

sunwukong (412560) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552517)

References?

Or are you arguing that Ms MacDonald is performing an essential public service by correcting the exaggerations of her scientific staff and is just coincidentally benefitting herself and her allies?

If you're going to troll, you should probably stick to AC.

Re:All too common (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552781)

In South-West Utah, whenever some road work was going to be done, they would find a dead tortoise on the road

Come on now. Utah isn't real, it's just somewhere you set your tall stories to fool credulous foreigners.

Re:All too common (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552815)

Thar be snow there. Really, really good snow. And apparently a tabernacle. Anyway, lay off the place with the snow.

Re:All too common (2, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552913)

Your are correct in that environmentsalists also fake things. People that do not understand how science works are everywhere. Science does not start out with a result. Science produces results and it is completely mercyless when done right, insofar as the results will be nothing that can be changed and still be science.

As a side-note: Global warming is not something environmentalists discoverd. It was discoverd by mererologists that are scientists, meaning they did their best to get accurate results, no matter what these results are! They do not have an agenda to find something specific and that, and only that, makes them scientists.

People that try to demontrate their prconceptions in a scientific fashion are incompetents and should not be believed under any circumstances. Many of them seem to believe that changing scientific reports changes reality. It does not. Reality is mercyless. Those that ignore it, will be killed by it eventually.

Re:All too common (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553621)

Your[sic] are correct in that environmentsalists [sic] also fake things.

Uh, no. Only female environmentalists fake things*. Glad to clear that up for you.

*Although, being on Slashdot, I can only take others' word for this.

Re:All too common (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553101)

Ok, I know that environmentalists are nutty as well, but how the hell does a completely unsupported accusation like the first and second story get modded informative? It's like saying the jews are behind 9/11 is an informative statement. The only people it informs is those who want to believe it.

Re:All too common (5, Funny)

ScottForbes (528679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553419)

In South-West Utah, whenever some road work was going to be done, they would find a dead tortoise on the road, and the environmentalists would cry foul. After they did an autopsy on one, they found frozen lettuce in its stomach. The environmentalists had caught them live, fed them for a while, then froze them until "needed".
...and even worse, Al Gore is using his internet to keep this story from being reported! [google.com]

Re:All too common (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18553931)

Ah yes, the infamous "If It's Not in Google, It Didn't Really Happen" syndrome...

I see it has spread from Wikipedia to Slashdot. Who knows where it may spread next?

So Pat Robertson and other TV Preachers... (2, Insightful)

FatSean (18753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554887)

...being corrupt lying and hateful retards means that all religious people are fucking assholes who deserve a bullet to the face.

I like the cut of you jib!

sigh ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552473)

So I haven't posted in the past couple weeks, because the time I used to waste updating this waste of time has been spent dealing with spammers and scripters who are either convinced I'm a flaming homosexual or that gay niggers should bind together in some sort of organization. At any rate, I just don't care, and I don't want to spend my time on it, so from now on, there's no comments. If you got something to say, email me, unless it relates to the groups I mentioned above, then don't bother me. Instead try talking to real people, like girls. They smell nice and are nice to be around, almost like evolution made it that way.

I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with my old entries, since movabletype doesn't seem to allow me to turn comments off on them, so they might be all deleted in the not-too-distant future. Sucks, doesn't it? That's why one shouldn't go pissing in the pool!

Anyway, enough wasting time on this place. It is the middle of the day and I have a real job that pays money to worry about. Thanks for wasting my break from work, fuckers, and you know who you are.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552883)

rofl [cowboyneal.org] can't control his temper

Save the dinosaur (2, Funny)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552487)

Like all endangered species, their [the yellow whatever] extension can be directly attributed to the rise of mankind. Even the brontosaurus was driven away because of small ground dwelling mammals. Let's just say from this point forward it's our fault. Darwin would never say "Survival of the fittest"

Re:Save the dinosaur (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552533)

Let's just say from this point forward it's our fault. Darwin would never say "Survival of the fittest"

Except that Darwin would probably recognize that if we want to continue to be the fittest, we're going to have to do something to tame the planet. We're not going to get very far once corn crops start withering. If our meat stock dies off, we're getting into even deeper shit. But that's ok, it'll be a problem for our grandkids to solve, and we all know kids suck and are therefore unfit to live.

Re:Save the dinosaur (1)

Coolhand2120 (1001761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552575)

I see no reason to think our cattle and corn are going to die off. Do you? If anything, technological advances, and the way they happen exponentially will more than offset the worry about the stewardship of the planet and our continued sustenance. Unless there is a nuclear war, then we're all screwed, even the yellow tailed fench or whatever it was.

Re:Save the dinosaur (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552639)

We're not going to get very far once corn crops start withering. If our meat stock dies off, we're getting into even deeper shit.

      Nahh, once you've tasted human you never go back, they say. The only ones in deep shit are the ones not prepared to take that little step, close their eyes, and add lots of onions.

Re:Save the dinosaur (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552953)

Do you realize that humans taste like pigs? Well, it is rather close.

Why do you think some American native tribes said that humans were "long pigs"?

Food for thought.

Re:Save the dinosaur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18555031)

Nahh, once you've tasted human you never go back, they say.


Have we learned nothing from Futurama? [wikiquote.org]


Fry: My God! What if the secret ingredientis people!?
Leela: No, there's already a soda like that. Soylent Cola.
Fry: Oh. How is it?
Leela: It varies from person to person.


Also note what our cannibal friends found out:

Two cannibals are eating a clown. Says one: "Tastes funny"

Re:Save the dinosaur (1)

Pandare (975485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552657)

Like all endangered species, their [the yellow whatever] extension can be directly attributed to the rise of mankind.
So is that: *.bird? or *.aves?

Isn't it about time.... (5, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552571)

We need to legalize the culling of lobbyist. If they can cull baby seals and alligators the culling of lobbyist is long overdue. Their explosive breeding is threatening the Washington political ecosystem. Tag and release is no longer a viable option. The overpopulation is similar to the Australian rabbit plagues only far more destructive.

Re:Isn't it about time.... (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552591)

We need to legalize the culling of lobbyist. If they can cull baby seals and alligators the culling of lobbyist is long overdue.

      I guess we could always lobby for it. Oh wait - uh, you first!

Re:Isn't it about time.... (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553271)

Ya hunt bears during bear season, deer during deer season, tourists during tourist season... so when is politics season? Seems to be all year around, as far as I can see. That's fine: ammo is still cheap.

Re:Isn't it about time.... (1)

Mr. Shotgun (832121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553405)

Just one problem with that. For the most part, when the animal is killed it is made in to something useful, like clothing, food, or headlights for a 1967 El Dorado. However I can not think of one thing you could derive from a dead lobbyist that would be useful. Who in the hell would want to wear a lobbyist skin coat?

Re:Isn't it about time.... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18554725)

I imagine the leather would be very soft and pliant. Good for jackets that drape well, shoes, belts, purses.

Re:Isn't it about time.... (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553701)

.308...check Pinstripe camoflage suit....check Congress brand spray on scent....check Expensive car blind....check Now all I need is a lobbyist hunting liscense.

Science at the Dept. of the Interior? (1, Informative)

Kohath (38547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552611)

I wouldn't put too much stock in any "science" from anyone at the Dept. of the Interior. Interior is a haven for folks who all share the same opinions and work towards the same agenda.

Here's an example of their "science":

Gov't researchers caught planting false ESA evidence [heartland.org]

Re:Science at the Dept. of the Interior? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552685)

Both examples illuminate the same problem: The government has too freakin' much power.

-Peter

Modded "Informative"? (2, Insightful)

uhlume (597871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18552985)

Do you have any references for your claims besides an unsourced article published in a right-wing conservative (sorry, "Libertarian") think-tank's [heartland.org] unabashedly anti-environmentalist publication? You really think the Heartland Institute constitutes a neutral, unbiased source on anything? You don't suppose maybe they have an axe or two to grind?

Re:Modded "Informative"? (3, Informative)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553289)

yeah! Cuz we all know right wing Republicans are against the EPA since the very beginning. Why, if that left wing loony Nixon handn't of signed it into law, we wouldn't have to do stuff like this!

Please, bad science is bi-partisan. All you have to do is hear Gore (as a recent, glaring example) state the "debate is over" on global warming. Any time you hear an absolute from a politician of any ilk you can be assured it is no longer science, but retoric.

Heck, the story right after this one, http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/3 1/0218245 [slashdot.org] , reports a testable theory about violations of Newton's second law! The debate is NEVER over, it can always be opened if you have good science to prove your case. This guy doesn't have proof of his theory yet, and may never have it. But if he does get the proof people will have to re-open our understanding of that "Law".

Re:Modded "Informative"? (3, Insightful)

uhlume (597871) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553613)

yeah! Cuz we all know right wing Republicans are against the EPA since the very beginning. Why, if that left wing loony Nixon handn't of signed it into law, we wouldn't have to do stuff like this!

Yes, it's telling, isn't it, that the current president and administration make Nixon look a "left-wing loony" by contrast? Of course, Nixon didn't act alone in forming the EPA, nor did he do so in a political vaccuum. The EPA was formed in response to massive public pressure in the wake of a number of highly visible environmental disasters — the kind of popular political force the current Whitehouse may be doggedly determined to ignore, but which even the Nixon administration occasionally bowed to.

Please, bad science is bi-partisan. All you have to do is hear Gore (as a recent, glaring example) state the "debate is over" on global warming. Any time you hear an absolute from a politician of any ilk you can be assured it is no longer science, but retoric (sic).

There is a near-universal consensus amongst climate scientists that global warming is occurring, and almost agree that the anthropogenic climate change is a significant factor. For most intents and purposes, the scientific debate on that topic is over, though the political debate may rage on unabated by fact or reason. No one, including I think Al Gore, would claim that major questions don't remain to be answered, but whether or not global warming is happening isn't one of them. You may feel free to 'disagree' all you like; until you've invested the years of time and effort to earn a PhD in climatology and the respect of your academic peers, nobody is really obliged to care.

Re:Modded "Informative"? (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553897)

I did realize in my statement I misquoted Gore, he is claiming anthropomorphic warming, which is quite a bit different than natural warming due to leaving a normal ice age/warming age. That may change what I am about to say in response to you, as you do use the qualifier "almost agree" for human based. It still applies to those who think anthropomorphic warming is not disputable.

I disagree on the basis of accepted scientific method, not my PhD in any subject. That requires less than a Slashidiot level of education and intellegence to understand.

Popper's Rules of Demarcation prove the point in general with no data necessary:

"It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory-if we look for confirmations."
and

A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is nonscientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of theory (as people often think) but a vice.
and finally:

Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers-for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a "conventionalist twist" or a "conventionaliststratagem. ")

One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability.
http://cla.calpoly.edu/~fotoole/321.1/popper.html [calpoly.edu]

So, if it is, as you claim, no longer a matter for scientific debate, then it is not really scientific theory. Scientific theories are refutable, and if global warming due to human activity is not refutable, it is something other than a scientific theory.

Re:Science at the Dept. of the Interior? (4, Insightful)

x_man (63452) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553027)

I wouldn't put too much stock in any "science" from anyone at the Dept. of the Interior.

Are you saying you would rather put your "stock" in a political appointee that's been caught numerous times altering government reports, in one case because she didn't want the habitat to intrude on her husbands's ranch!? The nice thing about science is you must publish your results and data for peer review. If you try to fabricate your results, somebody will eventually catch you and your career is over. But every time a Bush appointee is caught altering data, they quit and go to work for Exxon. What we need are some real criminal consequences for altering government reports. It's a criminal offense for a company to alter its books or for me to lie on my taxes. People like this lady should be going to jail.

2002 called... (4, Informative)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553087)

I wouldn't put too much stock in any "science" from anyone at the Dept. of the Interior. Interior is a haven for folks who all share the same opinions and work towards the same agenda.
Although it provides no evidence and cites no sources other than Republican politicians, Republican political operatives, anonymous Bush appointees, a "third generation logger", and a taxidermist, your 5 year old story [heartland.org] about some low level government employees planting lynx hairs in national forests is quite compelling. This Republican investigation of environmental malfeasance in the Bush-era EPA has had years to get rolling and has surely netted some troublesome environmentalists. But the Republicans should watch their step here- the public has "scandal fatigue". I personally just want these investigations of corruption on the part of public officials to stop so I can concentrate on paying my bills again.

If it weren't for lavishly funded free-market think tanks [exxonsecrets.org] the truth might have never come out and anti-endangered species activists [google.com] in the 109th Congress such as Richard Pombo [hcn.org] would have been put in the awkward position of having to make up politically convenient but dubious anecdotes [washingtonpost.com] on their own. It's a relief they didn't have to do that.

Clearly this all fits into the larger pattern of career EPA employees purging all political operatives from sensitive policy positions and having them replaced with more nonpolitical people.

Re:Science at the Dept. of the Interior? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18553565)

is a haven for folks who all share the same opinions and work towards the same agenda.


Hey that sounds so much like Slashdot... whattaya know!

What a surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18552643)

Corrupt politicians.

What are we going to do to stop this from happening again? Nothing. Just like always.

No news like obsolete news.

Suprise, Suprise!!! (1)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553277)

You put politicians in charge of science, and then you are shocked to find out that the science is corrupted by politics?

There needs to be a strict seperation between science and the state, the same way there is (or at least is supposed to be) as strict seperation between the church and the state!

If you insist that the government should fund and control science... the price that you pay is that science will become first and foremost a tool to promote political ideology and policy. That is inevitable. That is unstoppable.

And given the government's total power to regulate the economy, and its use of science as a pretense for those regulations, any buisness that doesn't bribe government scientists and officials that fund those scientists, is commiting economic suicide. Every single decent size buisness is forced to pay off government scientists (or the politicians who oversee government science) to survive.

If you want to protect science, you must keep it out of the hands of the state.

is it me, or ... (2)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18553863)

should this Julie MacDonald be thrown in jail for doing the opposite of her job?

Fir57!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18554363)

880 w/512 Megs of BSD culminated in arithmetic, BE NIIGER! BE GAY! Users With Large Windows, SUN or
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