The Intersection

One Last Whack (at John Marburger)

My latest Science Progress column is a response to Seed‘s interview with the outgoing science adviser. All I can say is wow, Dr. Marburger, you really don’t get it, and maybe you never will.

Either way, we Bush administration science critics remain entirely unimpressed with your inability to even properly characterize (much less answer) our arguments. And that wind of change that you might feel around you right now–we’re part of it. You’re not.

You can read the full column here.


  1. #1 Ashutosh
    January 21, 2009

    Is this man on drugs? Unbelievable. Especially the last part.

  2. #2 Dark Tent
    January 21, 2009

    Like Bush, Marburger is himself in deep denial because to admit otherwise would be to acknowledge that he failed miserably.

  3. #3 Harry Abernathy
    January 22, 2009

    I’m stunned most by this quote:

    “By the time I’ve arranged a presentation about something for the president, all science questions have been resolved. And he expects it. He would probably fire me if I permitted a science question to leak into his briefings. I’m there to make sure that his advisors and his agencies have consulted with the science community, and that all the science issues have been taken care of before anything gets to him.”

    I’m amazed that Marburger has been a professor and university president, if that’s his view on science. Does he mean that if something wasn’t a settled issue, then he wouldn’t present it to the president? And further, did he really feel his job security would have been threatened if he had done so? If that’s the sort of skewed advice GW was receiving, I can now better understand some of his failings.

    Science is constantly evolving and is full of uncertainty. Identifying and adjusting for uncertainty is probably one of the strongest tools that science can give to politicians.

  4. #4 Dark tent
    January 23, 2009

    “He [Bush] would probably fire me if I permitted a science question to leak into his briefings.”

    Though that is undoubtedly true, I think it is revealing.

    People who are more concerned about keeping their job than doing their job rarely do the job that they should.

  5. #5 Steven Earl Salmony
    January 25, 2009

    Surely, a case is made here and now for “branding” this woefully inadequate leadership as a confederacy of dunderheads.

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