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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


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



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


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


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


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


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



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

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



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