The Scientific Activist

First, the good news, though. Phil Plait (of the Bad Astronomy Blog) reports today at The Huffington Post that the House just passed HR 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. As he notes, scientists have plenty of reasons to be happy about this:

Scientists in government agencies (NASA, NOAA, FDA, etc), laboring for years under the heavy cloud of scientific suppression, can now feel safer if they want to call foul. And call foul they will, since there has been cripplingly obvious, sweeping, and routine suppression of scientific findings for the past few years.

There’s no need for me to repeat the list here.

The bill passed by a margin of 331-94. So, why am I banging my head against the wall?

Interestingly, not a single Democrat voted against this bill on the House floor. Not one. Yet 94 votes against it were cast. Guess which party those Representatives belonged to?

Listen. It’s not that I want to continuously berate the Republican Party day after day on my blog, but when its members refuse–in the face of overwhelming evidence–to vote in favor of protecting scientists from flagrant Bush Administration political interference, can you really blame me?

Update: Chris Mooney has more.


  1. #1 Phil Plait
    March 15, 2007

    My point exactly. Yet I am accused of being anti-Republican on my blog. Funny, huh? If the Republican party would go back to being pro-science instead of anti- then I would be happy to support those decisions. But it’s stuff like this that makes me want to scream at people to wake the frak up.

  2. #2 Matt
    March 16, 2007

    My thoughts exactly. It was the current attitude towards research that finally drove me out of the Republican party 6 years ago

  3. #3 E.T.Cook
    March 16, 2007

    Wow, how more biased can you be? A bill in which scientists are only a small fraction of those affected, are used as your basis to denounce opposition?


  4. #4 Nick Anthis
    March 16, 2007

    Am I biased toward scientists? You bet your ass I am. And, if the Republican Party continues to display the same sort of hostility toward scientists, you can also bet that I’ll continue to be on them like white on rice.

  5. #5 shawking
    March 17, 2007

    E.T. Cook must be a government minder. Or worse, a government minder wannabe. These anti-science neanderthals may eventually be the downfall of our once great nation.

  6. #6 cranky
    March 17, 2007

    E.T. Cook should read the article:

    “The House soundly rejected an amendment from Rep. Bill Sali (R-Idaho) that would have stripped all protections for scientists from the legislation. Instead, the legislators included an amendment by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) giving scientists the right to present their research at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals.”

    If it was up to the Republicans, the scientists would have been specifically eliminated from the bill. Anti-science, thy name is Republicanism. Pathetic.

  7. #7 Brandon
    March 18, 2007

    I try really hard not to be anti-Republican. I know there are plenty of good people in the GOP, and the Democrats aren’t exactly perfect. But why oh why can’t the Republican party go five minutes without doing something evil?

  8. #8 FishGuyDave
    March 19, 2007

    Most of us here have spent our professional life trying to use our intelligence for, in some small way, the betterment of our species. Unfortunately, the modern Republican incarnation has chosen to throw the products of our (and the rest of science and intelligent thought) work to the wolves in order to secure the last bits of Luddites that constitute their base of base. It’s frankly hard for me to understand how anyone of sound mind — save the “dismal scientists” of the University of Chicago and the uber-wealthy — support the GOP any longer.

    Shorter message? Any party that is anti-science is one that I will actively work against, regardless of name.

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