Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Be concerned for $35

The website of the Union of Concerned Scientists tells us:

Scientists are concerned that engineered organisms might harm people’s health or the environment.
Really? Scientists are concerned about that? I suppose it depends on your definition of scientists, and the UCS has a broad definition. You can become a concerned scientist for just $35 - there are no other qualifications, and they'll even send you a mouse mat if you join. Scientists use computers, you see.

In fact, while there certainly are scientists among its members, the UCS is just a giant-papier-mache-heads left wing lobby group, one that has the almost admirable cheek to complain about political interference in science while carrying on Frankenstein mob-style campaigns against genetic engineering. Oh, and global warming.

Here's an insight into their campaign tactics:
For almost four decades, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has manipulated the high reputation of “science” to serve the low ends of politics. It has done a good job of cherry-picking scientific facts to stir up public fears to advance its agenda. This time it is promoting alarmist claims about global warming by leveraging the prestige of the “concerned scientist.”

The credulous media usually fall all over themselves to defer to UCS every time the group takes a political position. For instance, when it issued a report in 2004 criticizing President George W. Bush’s handling of science policy, the union was described as “a scientific advocacy group” (New York Times), “a group of scientists” (Reuters), “an independent Cambridge-based organization” (Boston Globe), and a “nonprofit ... advocacy group in Cambridge, Mass.” (Newsday). After all, who but concerned scientists would pass judgment on President Bush and conclude that he was a scientific ignoramus manipulating science in order to advance a partisan agenda?

That UCS is a highly partisan operation -- well funded by left-leaning foundations and Hollywood celebrities and happy to ignore established scientific methodologies for its own purposes—is apparently not newsworthy. The group has a long history of being just plain wrong on many scientific issues, and its current agenda conforms to the extremes of environmentalist ideology. Moreover, UCS is neither representative of the scientific community at large nor is it a gathering of top scientists. Instead, a cadre of senior staff whose credentials are steeped more in Washington policy-making than in scientific research rides herd over a grassroots membership from all walks of life.
Read it all.

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