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"It is no accident that we are seeing such extensive suppression of science. It is part of a theory of government, and I believe it is a theory we must vociferously oppose."
David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate, President of California Institute of Technology, most influential biologist of his generation;
(2006 annual meeting of the AAAS, St Louis.)

Baltimore went on to condemn "Unitary Government". This term is new to the American lexicon, but it is an old idea. Pharaohs, kings, and dictators have practiced this form of government for millennia. It is merely the Authoritarian Personality under a new name. And it is ever more dangerous today because one man alone has his finger on the nuclear-trigger. A single individual can determine the fate not just of Americans, but of all humanity. Does he have the wisdom to avoid species-cide, to coin a phrase? We do not know, but we see no evidence that he does. He is losing big time in Iraq. And we also see in abundance his concerted efforts to enhance his power while suppressing dissent. And he uses Middle Eastern terrorism as an excuse for meddling in affairs he knows nothing about, scientific cooperation for instance.

High profile debates, where adherents of Intelligent Design and their predecessors have attacked Evolution as a valid science, have held center stage for some 15 generations now. But that is not all and not even the greatest danger in our day -- the broader attack on our technology, second to none, is. Baltimore and others realize that America is becoming more isolated from its European cultural roots by the day.

Conservative governments in the US and Australia are now actively muzzling free scientific expression in general while decreasing financial support.

A few high profile examples follow:

    Oct 2004 -- a NASA press officer was pressured by her boss to delay a news conference on ozone and air pollution until after the 2004 presidential election.

    Autumn 2005 -- A Universtiy of Colorado sea-ice expert argued that NASA required a university press release to remove mention of accelerating sea-ice decline.

    2006 annual meeting of the AAAS: Susan Wood, a veteran scientist at the FDA, declared her reason for leaving the agency was her boss's obstructionism in making the plan B contraceptive more widely available.

    Ongoing Policy: US visa policy is driving international cooperation away from the US to other countries. The Indian Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in Delhi is now looking for partners in China, Japan and Taiwan in direct response to US visa policies. Individual Indian scientists are boycotting meetings in the US for the same reason.

    Feb 2006 -- According to an investigative TV program by the Australian Broadcasting Corp., three prominent climate scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, CSIRO, were censored in their discussions of climate change and energy research. CSIRO scientists are actively discouraged from commenting on government policies. Barrie Pittock, a CSIRO veteran, said he was told not to discuss mitigation in a 2003 report sponsored by the Australian Greenhouse Office. Barney Foran, retired from CSIRO said: "There are a lot of fearful science managers second-guessing what they think the government wants to hear."

Himmler and Lysenko wrote the book on how to politicize science.

This Administration withholds medical and scientific information from its citizens on no more basis than their own biases. This Administration launches educational programs then cuts school lunch budgets. Funding for University research has largely dried up, leaving graduate schools on their own trying to support the levels of research and student training necessary to keep our nation strong and vibrant. And then there are stem cells. Believing he knows more about everything than the experts, Mr. Bush dramatically limited research that could provide cures for many diseases. To be sure, science is finding creative responses, but why leave a huge hole in what we as a species need to know? This is like the pope (what's his name?) who put Galileo under house arrest for looking through a telescope. History will not view our current short-sightedness kindly.

Until only very recently this Administration has been in denial over global warming -- now they admit there might be a possibility. This Administration walked away from the Kyoto treaty on global warming, claiming it was flawed. Maybe so, but it was a start. [The main flaw seemed to be that it gave the Third World enough grace to begin catching up with the Developed Nations.] Nevertheless, the treaty on warming was the right thing to implement as evidenced by the many US states and American industries taking it upon themselves to move toward the Kyoto accords, not to mention the rest of the world who signed on.

There are many other examples of moves towards "Unitary Government"; several may be found on this web site. "Unitary Government" permeates all governance, not just scientific affairs. We may already be dangerously close to institutionalizing the euphemism "Unitary Government" as we march toward dictatorial power in the Executive Branch of government, the counter-term hidden under the euphemism.

There is scattered evidence that the tide may be turning: the Administration's low approval rating, its acceding to the possibility of global warming, its sudden love of alcohol instead of hydrogen as a future fuel. (Other nations lead the US in this critical area.) These comprise skimpy evidence in the face of the negative things going on. We can only hope the harbingers are real.


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