Friday, May 07, 2004

Blinded With Science

In a piece discussing how "Sen. James Inhofe, a staunch conservative Republican from Oklahoma and chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, received an award for his support of 'rational, science-based thinking and policy-making,'" Chris Mooney from the Center for American Progress, takes an insightful look at the politicization of science, and the abuse of fact in favor of ideology.

As he points out, the award winning Senator is "the same Inhofe who has suggested that human-caused global warming is a "hoax" - a fringe view that should hardly form the scientific basis for policy decisions. But no matter: Inhofe's award came from the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, a group that received 80 percent of its funding from the National Association of Manufacturers as of 1997, according to a contemporary expose in the Wall Street Journal, and that today receives funding from ExxonMobil."

He adds, "In fact, during last year's Senate debate over the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act, Inhofe's arguments against the bill were as much scientific - or rather, pseudoscientific - as economic. You can hardly blame him: A wide range of industries, most notoriously tobacco, have realized that sowing doubt about science is a great way of preventing policy action. Given that scientific findings are never absolutely definitive and always open to subsequent revision, this game is almost too easy to play."

You can find the rest of the article here.

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