Preface to issue
The 2004 presidential elections provided an appropriate backdrop for this
issue in which student-writers analyze issues of scientific integrity in policy making. Students read a
statement published by the Union of Concerned Scientists (www.ucsusa.org) that claims:
“A growing number of scientists, policy makers, and technical
specialists both inside and outside the government allege that the Bush administration has suppressed or distorted the scientific
analyses of federal agencies to bring these results in line with administration policy. In addition, these experts contend
that irregularities in the appointment of scientific advisors and advisory panels are threatening to upset the legally mandated
balance of these bodies.”
The UCS full report, with supporting evidence, can be found at
the following website: (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/rsi/index.cfm)
Students also read
an eloquent and persuasive rebuttal to these charges written by John Marburger, the chief Science Advisor to President Bush
(which can be accessed at http://www.ostp.gov/html/ucs/ResponsetoCongressonUCSDocumentApril2004.pdf).
Don’t believe everything you read!
Both the UCS statement and Marburger’s
rebuttal sound persuasive and compelling. So who is correct? The following
essays are the result of student research of the claims and counterclaims presented, and their assessment of what the evidence
actually tells us.