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Scientific Integrity in Policy Making

Volume 4  (Fall 2004)

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. 
 
Table of Contents
 

Abstinence-Only Pregnancy Prevention Programs – A Waste of Money?

By Zack Schwab

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Bush Administration Distorts Scientific Information Concerning Sexual Health  By Mercedes Anderson
 
Beyond “Abstinence-Only” Sex Education by Michael Quagliano

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Conflict of Interest on Lead Poisoning Prevention Committee 

By Seun Ajiboye

 

The Bush Administration Inadequately Addresses Lead Poisoning Threshold  By Carson Denny

 
Fishy Business:  The Bush Administration’s Mistreatment of Scientific Information by Yvonne Yamanaka

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An Illegitimate Investigation by the White House Council on Environmental Quality? By Addison Ferrell
 
Suppression of Data by the White House Council on Environmental Quality by Mark Weber
 
Censoring Science  by Giannina Robalino

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Hollow Aluminum Tubes by Michael O’Doherty
 
Censorship of Dr. Zahn by Chris Parides
 
Government Censorship of Public Health Information by Karli Spetzler
 
Political Litmus Tests Exclude Qualified Scientists by Arthur Mui

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Bush Misleads the Public About Climate Change by Marc Coleman Shelton
 
Taking “Science” Out of Scientific Recommendations by Mike Bauer
 
For as much as they play golf, the White House isn’t quite up to par by Brett Sauers

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Has the Bush Administration Misrepresented Scientific Knowledge? by Carolyn Zwiener
 
Distortion of Climate Change Information by Christabel Yamoah
 
Censorship of Air Quality Information by Rob Linsalata
 
Barges vs. Endangered Species on the Missouri River by Kevin Wu

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Missouri River Biological Opinion and the Endangered Species Act by Jefferson Kist

 
The Bush Administration and Science: Funding But Not Fixing by Pete Osterland

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Compromising Scientific Integrity for Political Expediency By Deniz Basci

 
Even a Moldy Cheeseburger is Better than a Marburger by Jesse Sandberg


For more information, contact Julie Reynolds at julie.a.reynolds at duke.edu