Rep. Brad Miller looks into science suppression

By Phil Plait | March 20, 2006 6:07 pm

I heard today that North Carolina Congressman Brad Miller is looking into the claims of widespread scientific suppression by the White House. I wrote about all the details earlier today on the Huffington Post.

Basically, he is looking for other scientists (like James Hansen) who have had their views politically suppressed. I know a lot of scientists read my blog, and I know of a few who have talked to me privately on this issue. So this is a call to all of you: if you are a government-supported scientist, and you know of anything like this, contact Rep. Miller’s legislative assistant Heather Parsons at heather.parsons "at" mail.house.gov, or Dan Pearson of the Democratic staff of the Science Committee at dan.pearson "at" mail.house.gov.

Comments (4)

  1. Leon

    Wow! This is great! It’s about time somebody in Congress started looking into this.

  2. I wrote my Congress person and Senator regarding the recent revelation that some political appointees are supressing science. The Senator’s response we positive and promised action (wish I could find the letter – She mentioned legislation before the Senate that would address this). My Congressman’s response underwhelmed me and only offered to think about it.

    jbs

  3. The thing you have to understand is that this whole issue is a subtle holy war. It can’t afford the public exposure so it preaches through closed doors and lays surgical strikes through political subterfuge.

    You not only have to make your voices heard, you also have to dismantle their weapon of choice. Mainly, religion. Or rather the claim that promoting science is bigotry towards and suppression of religion.

    Weapon #1: The notion of “God” is not a valid default for a lack of scientific understanding. This statement pretty much eliminates any Creationist notion. Its not jingoistic, but it would serve you well to repeat it whenever theists say that science can’t explain everything.. yet.

    Weapon #2: The US Constitution. I’m not talking about the separation of church and state. As it stands, that’s one congressional vote from being repealed anyway. I’m talking about the right for individual people to believe in whatever they want to. The basic tenet of the First Amendment. However, NOTHING, in the first amendment, or anywhere else, gives ANYONE the right to automatic validity or respect for their notions without something more than “I wanna believe” to back it up.

    Rational minds do not vote for politicians when they can not back up bogus social philosophies. Rational minds do not approve scientists that can not support their would-be theories. Rational minds do not trust their earnings to financial advisors that can not support their economic policies. Why is it then that religion can somehow claim automatic respect and circumvent validity for their unsupportable views?

    It is NOT bigotry to publically reject the viewpoints of someone who can not validate their notions.

    Weapon #3: Defining Faith. Ahh yes, the old reliable “gotta have faith” arguement. What you need to do here is remind the religious that there are two kinds of faith. One is interpersonal faith. Interpersonal faith is when we use our previous experiences to place trust in someone close to us. The other is religious faith. Religious faith is when people use experiences that they believe (and again, can not validate) occurred and then use that to place trust in an entity whose existence they can not validate. If you really want to get obnoxious, call it as it truly is: Voluntary Schizophrenia.

    Weapon #4: Ethics and Morality. The absolute last ditch effort of religion to claim validity will always be the claim that they have the market cornered on ethical and moral behavior which, in turn, gives them the mandate to suppress science in its name. What you need to do is remind them they don’t. The main arguement is simple. Good and evil are subjective notions that are defined and redefined within each individual philosophy. For example, murder (the value of that which is not immortal) and theft are merely economic virtues and not dependent on any supernaturally based philosophy.

    Use these weapons of logic rapidly and with emphasis in all encounters against the religious suppression of science. This is now the Information Age and our responsibility is to make sure it does not degenerate into where any information can become a substitute for fact and supported theory.

  4. charlie sutherland

    Very interesting. Since good and evil are subjective notions, and an individual has the right to determine the parameters of each for himself, and my good is defined by my survival, then what argument is there against my possessing the means of deadly force to insure my survival if another’s unknown and unannounced definition of good allows him to cut my survival short?

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