- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2004

In February, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a report accusing the Bush administration of systemically suborning objective science to a political agenda. However, it failed to describe the political biases of those making the charges, which raise serious questions about the credibility of the charges and the organization behind them.

The UCS has a long history of liberal positions and liberal activism, so its attack against the administration was hardly a surprise. However, the report was accompanied by a letter signed by 62 distinguished members of the academy — including 20 noble laureates, 19 winners of the National Medal of Science and several science advisers to previous presidents — who charged that the administration had “manipulated the process through which science enters into its decisions” and “misrepresented scientific knowledge and misled the public about the implications of its policies.”

The pedigrees of the signatories appeared to make them above partisanship, especially since they were identified only by their areas of expertise and schools of affiliation. Subsequent news stories and editorials picked up that theme.

That supposed objectivity was an illusion. Many of the signatories have a demonstrated bias against the administration, several have a direct stake in UCS and its ongoing campaign, Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policymaking.

Although they were never identified as such in the letter, four signatories — Thomas Eisner, Richard Garwin, Anne Kapuscinsky and Kurt Gottfried — are current members of the UCS Board. For instance, Mr. Gottfried, the chairman, was simply denoted as “Theoretical Nuclear and Particle Physics, Cornell University.”

Almost half of the signatories have donated to Democratic candidates and left-wing interest groups. For instance, David Baltimore, Noble laureate and president of the California Institute for Technology, gave $2,500 to the Committee for a Democratic Majority, $1,000 to Friends of Max Baucus and $300 to the Democratic National Committee. Dr. Harold Varmus, former director of the National Institutes of Health and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center, gave $2,000 to Clark for President and $500 to the DSCC. (See FEC Web site.)

The administration is expected to release a formal response to the substance of the signatories’ charges soon. Given the questionable objectivity and evident political agenda of many of those who made the original allegations, the White House response should be persuasive — if late.

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