Originally posted (with even more links) at the Beacon Blog (Independent Institute) and NAS Blog.
Remember when President Obama said that he was going to “restore science to its rightful place”? Apparently, that statement needed to be translated from the vagaries of “hope and change” to modern English: Right-wing anti-science policies are out; left-wing anti-science policies are in.
To Mr. Obama’s credit, he has extended federal dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research far beyond what President Bush allowed. However, that executive order marks both the beginning and the end of his love affair with sound science.
For starters, President Obama appointed Cass Sunstein as the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Mr. Sunstein believes that all recreational hunting should be banned. He also believes that meat consumption should be phased out in the United States, and he holds the unique belief that animals should have the right to sue humans in court. Naturally, the animal would be represented by a human lawyer—a policy other than that would just be silly. But who exactly would represent the animals in court is unclear at this point. Dr. Dolittle might be available, though.
All satire aside, with someone this disconnected from reality working in the White House, one wonders what impact he could have on the ability of scientists to conduct biomedical animal research.
Also, remember Mr. Obama’s obsession with creating green technology jobs as a way of leading us out of the recession? According to a report described by George Will in his Washington Post column, Spain’s massive subsidization of renewable energy has cost that country 110,000 jobs. Far from helping Spain’s economic crisis, this foolish subsidization appears to have contributed to its mind-blowing 19.3% unemployment rate.
As if this weren’t bad enough, a fantastic op/ed by Bill Frezza brought up several more examples of “junk science” coming from the White House, a few of which I’ll summarize and expand upon.
Firstly, the administration has given in to unsubstantiated claims by the Left that certain vaccine components are unsafe, despite the fact that studies have proven the claims to be false. (For instance, medical experts like Jim Carrey insist vaccines cause autism.) Unbelievably, the Obama Administration has ignored the research findings of modern medicine and issued a decree that our nation’s swine flu vaccines should have lower amounts of thimerosal. (Thimerosal is the preservative erroneously believed to cause autism.) This last-minute decision has caused backups at the pharmaceutical companies making the vaccine, and it has contributed to the swine flu vaccine shortage. Additionally, the Obama Administration has neglected to remove a federal ban on the use of certain adjuvants (immune-stimulating chemicals) which can help stretch limited vaccine supplies. This, too, has contributed to the national flu vaccine shortage.
Mr. Frezza goes on to describe how the Obama Administration is asking for areas of Alaska to be deemed “critical habitat” for polar bears. This move could severely limit the ability to drill for oil and gas in the region, in a time when our nation is in desperate need of energy sources. It appears that, once again, Mr. Obama has caved to propaganda-spewing environmentalists who have ignored recent evidence indicating that polar bear populations are increasing. In fact, polar bear researcher Mitch Taylor claims that of the 19 populations of polar bears, only two have exhibited declining numbers. As a side issue, it’s also interesting to note that people like Captain Planet (Al Gore) who refer to polar bears as “endangered” don’t even have their facts straight: Polar bears are officially listed as “vulnerable”—an entirely different conservation status. This status is given to animals which may become endangered if conditions don’t change. Arguably, however, conditions are changing because their population has been increasing.
Finally, Mr. Frezza points out the economically ludicrous and scientifically unsound subsidization of biofuels. Liberals see the subsidization of biofuels as killing two birds with one stone: Fixing the planet and helping out America’s farmers. However, science has something entirely different to say about biofuels. The production of biofuels emits nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas. The planet, unfortunately, doesn’t find it very funny, since nitrous oxide is a much more potent contributor to the greenhouse effect than is carbon dioxide. As The Economist points out in this article, a policy meant to make things better is merely an expensive way of making things worse.
Honestly, this list could go on and on. What is so infuriating is the fact that Mr. Obama self-righteously proclaimed to be the protector of science, when the truth is that he simply replaced Mr. Bush’s special interests with his own. In what has to be the most stunning broken promise in Mr. Obama’s presidency, instead of “restoring science,” he has simply resorted to “politics as usual.”