Monday, June 27, 2005

Tell Joe Barton How You Feel

At the risk of being pedantic (Oh, who am I kidding, I'm going to go on and on about this stuff until it stops), the attack on science in the U.S. is going ahead full steam. Congressman Joe Barton (Republican, of Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is sending intimidating letters to the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and to Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation. It's true - take a look! Chris Mooney has some excerpts from the letters, so I won't reproduce them here, but will just comment that they are of a kind designed to make scientists think twice about undertaking research on such a politically sensitive topic as global warming.

Representative Barton's tactics are just part of the more wide-ranging assault on scientific evidence that the Bush administration is waging. I'm not going to go through them all again, but I'm not going to stand by either. The congressman has a web site through which you can send him a message, but it won't accept your comments if you're not from his district. However, you can send a message to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, telling them what you think of Barton's tactics, and I'm going to use it right now.

I just sent a message with the following content:
Dear Congressman Barton,

I have recently become aware of the letters you have sent to the members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and to the Director of the National Science Foundation. As a scientist myself, I am extremely concerned by the tone and implications of these letters and consider them a thinly-veiled attempt to intimidate honest scientists into avoiding work that might lead to an opinion different from the current administration on topics that are politically sensitive.

I strongly encourage you to desist from sending letters of this kind in the future and to leave reputable scientists alone to pursue their research, regardless of the political import of its outcome. By attempting to cast unreasonable doubt on solid scientific evidence you are doing your constituents and the rest of the country an immense disservice.


Dr. Mark Trodden
If we all, scientists and non-scientists, don't fight back against these outrages, we can hardly complain as science is eroded in this country. I would strongly encourage you to send your own email, or even a version of mine, to the Congressman, via the link above. It'll only take a minute and will let him know that there are lots of people out there that don't think it's fine to treat scientists in this way. Please take a moment to do it. If you want to drop me a comment here telling me you did it, all the better; but in any case, please do it!
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