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United States Science

U.S. Pushing Conservative Science 1036

Posted by michael
from the badthink dept.
mozumder writes "Does abortion lead to breast cancer? Does condom use lead to increased sexual activity? According to the government, the answer is now inconclusive. The New York Times has a story on how the government is altering low-level scientific conclusions to satisfy conservatives. Will this lead to a mistrust of the government? Or is the government now correct?"
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U.S. Pushing Conservative Science

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  • Not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:36AM (#4975571) Homepage

    You see, there *are* consequences to *not* voting, Virginia.

    What else is there really to comment on?

  • Bush sucks. (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by grytpype (53367) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:42AM (#4975576) Homepage
    This administration lies about everything -- every goddamned thing -- as a matter of permanent policy. They will say anything that they want the public to believe, while they do whatever they want. And what they want is to get money for themselves and their big campaign contributors, that is absolutely all they are about. What a disaster for the country. The worst administation ever, the American version of a "kleptocracy."
  • by kedi (583806) <kedi@j[ ]nu ['uo.' in gap]> on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:48AM (#4975594)
    From teh article: "The earlier statement, which the National Cancer Institute removed from the Web in June after anti-abortion congressmen objected to it, noted that many studies had reached varying conclusions about a relation between abortion and breast cancer, but said "recent large studies" showed no connection. In particular, it approvingly cited a study of 1.5 million Danish women that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1997. That study, the cancer institute said, found that "induced abortions have no overall effect on the risk of breast cancer."

    The Danish research, praised by the American Cancer Society as "the largest, and probably the most reliable, study of this topic," is not mentioned in the government's recent posting, which says the cancer institute will hold a conference next year to plan further research."
  • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:49AM (#4975598)
    the majority of studies suggesting a link between abortion and cancer

    You didn't post any links or references, so I'm curious. Did this "majority of studies" find a link between abortion and breast cancer, or a link between not carrying a pregnancy to term and breast cancer?

  • by Frymaster (171343) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:55AM (#4975618) Homepage Journal
    the post reads "altering" not "funding".

    of course we're all in favour of science being funded... it's the being altered part we should be worried about.
  • by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:57AM (#4975627)
    is all the liberal/anarchists knees jerking in response to this stimuli.

    Disclaimer: For the last 20 years, I have been a legal resident that cannot vote in the U.S., and on every political placement test I've taken, be they from the right or the left, I have landed smack dab in the middle.(end disclaimer)

    That no one ever mentions the idea of "Liberal Science" I find somewhat amusing (and quite frankly, a little biased). Do we all think that products like RU-486 sprung from the ground unaided? The findings of science have ALWAYS been slanted to advance someone's politics, be they environmentalists, cultural conservatives, radical feminists or bomb-throwing moderates such as myself.
  • Re:personally... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:02AM (#4975640)
    What never, ever gets taught in SexEd is the concept of risk management.

    The pro-chastity crowd try to scare teens into not having sex by showing examples of STDs, cervical cancer, and shouting about teen pregnancy. The other side keep on chanting the mantra that condoms make it safe.

    What's needed, but seems to be rarely given, is advice that using contraceptives and being monagamous reduces the *chance* of pregnancy and/or STDs, but the *consequences* if you're unlucky are still severe.

    The only thing that can be done is try to supply the facts in a way that some of them might sink in.
  • by enkidu (13673) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:03AM (#4975642) Homepage Journal
    This is the same administration which when initially asked the question concerning global warming, wanted "more research" to verify that the phenomenon was real. Now that it has been proven to be real, they want "more research" to clarify the extent of the phenomenon. Essentially, after insisting that smoking wasn't harmful to your health, upon being shown that smoking is harmful to one's health, they now want more research to figure out "the degree of damage" caused by smoking.

    This administration is one of the most idealogically fixated administrations in recent history. Ideology always trumps reality in the decision making of this administration. Consider their positions on Iraq vs. North Korea. Consider their positions regarding our signed commitments and treaties vs. our Oil interests (Kyoto treaty). Or "Free Trade" vs. the interests of our Steel and Lumber producers. Or contraception vs. AIDS.

    From what I can tell, the basic ideology of this administration seems to be: The interests of the United States of America lie with the interests of it's big companies, it's religious right, and it's rich and powerful.

    Of course, now I can expect friendly clicks on my telephone and strange delays to the delivery of my email.

    EnkiduEOT ( bomb uranium plutonium smallpox anthrax sarin mustard )

  • by fingers010 (633806) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:07AM (#4975651)
    A hypothesis is always biased and there is nothing wrong with that. All hypothesis are based on an opinion of what the study/research/experiment will show BEFORE it is done. The findings may or may not support the hypothesis.

    Politics determines what truth is looked for. Science determines if it is found.
  • by The Tyro (247333) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:10AM (#4975658)
    I hate to be a party pooper, but there actually may be something to the abortion theory. To be fair, however, it probably has little to do with the act of abortion itself.

    The human breast does not reach full maturity until at least one pregnancy is completed. If a person has multiple abortions and never carries a pregnancy to term, their risk for breast cancer COULD be higher, but it may be because of never having children; the fact that the woman aborted all her pregnancies is just the method. She could just as easily be a spinster or nun, and carry the same risk.

    It's shortsighted to automatically assume that science is bad, simply because it contradicts some concept one holds dear. Look at the research objectively, and judge it on its merits.

    Knowledge is Good.
  • The American population is grossly uneducated. If you look at our Japanese or European betters, we can see what a REAL public education system is. A place where people actually LEARN real things.

    Unfortunately, christian wackoes combines with bad journalism has spread many false ideas and impeeded science. Maybe if Americans were more educated more votes would go to people who actually are GOOD for the country (eg.. Not BUSH)

    Things appear to be in a sad state these days...
  • by cheezehead (167366) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:31AM (#4975714)
    Ok, I'll bite...

    The scientist in charge is the same guy who said homosexuality was genetic.

    First, I guess you have conclusive proof that this conclusion is wrong?

    Second, even if that was wrong, how would that disqualify the scientist from doing other studies? Are you suggesting he is biased (and therefore not a 'real' scientist)?

    Why is it wrong to have a conservative hypothesis?

    No scientist should have a 'conservative' or 'liberal' hypothesis. In that case he is a politician who conducts something dubious that is labeled 'science'.

    Isn't this science, where the evidence should dicate the truth even if its uncomfortable to certain political persuasions.

    Here you actually make sense. However, science is not a democracy where 'liberal' conclusions should be balanced with 'conservative' conclusions. Truth is truth.

    If you never have a conservative hypothesis the chances are that you'll never have a conservative conclusion.

    There are countless examples that this is not correct. I'll recite one from memory. Years ago there was a lot of fuss about the dangers of genetically manipulating micro-organisms to produce all kinds of useful mdicines. The fear was that this could accidentally produce a 'killer bug' that would wipe out entire populations. Many studies that tried find evidence for this doomsday thinking concluded that the whole thing was much ado about nothing.

    Many studies start with hypotheses that are proven wrong. Most of the scientists conducting these studies report these conclusions. It's called honesty, integrity, or whatever.

  • by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:32AM (#4975720)
    How can there be any such thing as liberal or conservative science? If the new conclusions are consistent with scientific principles, then they are scientific. The end.

    Oh, you don't like them? BFD. Science doesn't care what you think or what you wish to be true. And guess what -- sometimes science just happens to support the positions of the political right. Anyone who is intellectually honest will just have to accept that.

    And I'm not just some right-wing Bible thumper. I happen to be an atheist and a strong advocate of science. But even I can see how the political left in this country has politicized science and it fucking pisses me off. Science isn't about trying to verify your political prejudices and the political left doesn't have a monopoly on science.

  • by irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:38AM (#4975737) Journal
    Two recent political leaders allegedly had
    this nefarious habit:

    -: Both came to power after dubious elections,
    by non-electorial and irregular methods.
    -: Both nations immediately experienced attacks
    on famous public buildings.
    -: Both blamed an ethnic minority before
    forensics had any evidence.
    -: Both led "witch-hunts" against the accused
    minority.
    -: Both suspended civil liberties "temporarily."
    -: Both put the citizenry under surveillance.
    -: Both maintained secret and clandestine
    governments.
    -: Both launched wars against most of the world.

    One had a funny mustache.

    Can you name the other one?
  • by cheezehead (167366) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:39AM (#4975738)
    The human breast does not reach full maturity until at least one pregnancy is completed. If a person has multiple abortions and never carries a pregnancy to term, their risk for breast cancer COULD be higher, but it may be because of never having children; the fact that the woman aborted all her pregnancies is just the method. She could just as easily be a spinster or nun, and carry the same risk.

    In other words, don't confuse correlation with causation...

  • Re:If... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@pacbe l l .net> on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:43AM (#4975745) Homepage
    I dunno, I wouldn't summarily lump intentinionally induced, accidental, or surgically extracted fetuses as the same.

    A miscarriage is sorta like a pregnant mother rejecting her fetus, which is likely different than intentionally inducing a miscarriage, in which case different hormonal changes would occur. Likewise, a surgical extraction might not have the same chemical footprint as a miscarriage, induced or accidental.

    A more concrete example: Losing fat via liposuction, vs losing fat through diet, and losing fat through exercise are three totally different things: One changes your morphology, one changes your metaBolism, and one changes your physical structure and energy level.
  • More Infections (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BigTom (38321) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:46AM (#4975754) Homepage
    The sad thing is that, as the condom information permeates through the population, the message will end up as "condoms aren't any use" and a load of teens won't bother with them (amazingly they'll still have sex) and infection and pregnancy rates will go up. Tom
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2002 @05:54AM (#4975771)
    And I'm not just some right-wing Bible thumper.

    Then why didn't you notice the revisions are not due to new scientific evidence, which leads to the question: then why were they revised? The obvious answer is: to please right-wing bible thumpers.

    Science doesn't care what you think or what you wish to be true.

    Apparantly this administration is out to prove you wrong!
  • then guns must lead to more killing, no?

    i'd like to hear the conservative gun crowd scream "it's not the gun, it's the criminal" and then in the same breath tell us it's not the teenager, it's the condom.

    so which do we get rid of? condoms? or guns?

    that personal accountability thing is pretty sneaky! ;-P
  • 21st century (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:17AM (#4975817) Homepage Journal
    As someone wiser than me already noticed: This century, it ain't about xianity vs. islam or any that media bullshit. It's about fundamentalism vs. people-with-brains. There really isn't much difference between xian right or conservatives of the bush streak, or islamist terrorists. They're all bludgoning their world-view into other peoples heads with whatever tools are available, and moral is something that applies only to other people.
  • by mc6809e (214243) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:17AM (#4975819)
    Then why didn't you notice the revisions are not due to new scientific evidence, which leads to the question: then why were they revised? The obvious answer is: to please right-wing bible thumpers.

    I did notice it and it doesn't make a damn bit of difference. The goal is to produce conclusions that are consitent with the science. An alternate obvious answer to your question is that the previous conclusions were themselves there to please radical left-wingers and have been altered to be consistent with the science.

    It's just your sort of attitude that has forced me to give up on the political left. Anything that doesn't support your political prejudices is wrong/flawed/unscientific/conservative/motivated by bible-thumpers/motivated by hate/greed/money/power/evil. Well sometimes your political oppenents on the right are correct.

    If the left were more liberal-minded they might at least consider the possibility.
  • Re:I blaim Bush (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:23AM (#4975836)
    I can't think of a worse thing than an opponent with nothing to lose by anything up to and including death.

    Which is EXACTLY what Bush is creating now. Before Saddam was "just" oppressing his own people. He's been happy being dictator of Iraq. Even since 91 when the US attacked and humiliated him he hasn't taken any direct retaliation on the US -- and Bush has been begging the CIA to dig up any evidence that he had to give a pretext for war, I think they would have found it if he had.

    But if the tanks and bombs start again with the avowed aim of putting Saddam out of power and killed or imprisoned, he REALLY has no reason not to dispatch a few kilos of anthrax, smallpox, plutonium or whatever other goodies he's put aside for a rainy day.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:24AM (#4975837) Homepage Journal
    Thank you. I know that you will eventually be modded down by the right-wing zealots, but kudos to you for speaking the truth.

  • by inetuid (582204) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:52AM (#4975887)
    Land of the free and home of the bullshit...
  • by Rhinobird (151521) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:57AM (#4975898) Homepage

    OK. For some reason, all the posts sem to say the same thing.

    • Bush sucks
    • Conservatives don't believe in global warming
    • Condoms are good, how dare Bush push abstinence on the people.


    • First, Bush doesn't suck. Granted I'm a right leaning mid-liner, but that isn't a crime unless I'm in Berkely or San Francisco. ;-)
    • Second, if you believe in global warming, find some real evidence. Yeah there may be an elevated level of CO2 in the air now, but CO2 is a piss poor 'greenhouse gas', methane and water vapor work way better. If there is a global warming trend I'd be inclined to think that it's the sun causing it as there is evidence that Mars is warming, also.
    • Thirdly. What's the best way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? Condoms or Abstinence? Maybe there was a leftist bias on those pages to begin with and they really do refect more acurately scientific evidence?
  • Re:Bush sucks. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:03AM (#4975915)
    I seem to recall that Clinton's entire administration, including Al Gore, was composed of nothing but perpetual liars and thieves. How. about Bush Senior? Or Raegan (ROFL).

    Are you even from this country? Nothing to see here, move along.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:31AM (#4975971) Homepage Journal
    This isn't insightful, it's out and out bigotry.

    "Bigotry" is defined as intolerance. Why the hell should I be tolerant of people who are distorting science, including medical science, in order to push their own political agenda?

    All you're saying is that if I don't believe as I do, you're wrong.

    I am saying that anyone who believes that scientific studies should be "revised" to fit a political agenda is wrong. And I am saying that anyone who would defend those actions is wrong.

    I don't need to be tolerant of deceipt.
  • by MickLinux (579158) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:38AM (#4975997) Journal
    I'd like to point out that this article is probably true -- almost completely true -- and it's stuff that matters, and it's for us nerds alright, and it's appropriate for slashdot, but it isn't news.

    More than that, the same thing happened in the opposite direction under the Clinton administration. It is one of the reasons that Ayn Rand (and no, I'm not a Randian; I think her books are lousy) claimed that government-sponsored science cannot be science.

    That said, this problem is everywhere. Take a look at science news this week [sciencemag.org], for example. Every week, at least two of their articles are directly politically topics, mostly on the liberal end.

    Or try Scientific American [scientificamerican.org]. Just in time for a big Democrat Party gun-control push, they came out with a whole issue complete devoted to the source of terrorist and revolutionary-army weaponry.

    I have no inherent reason to believe the latest results any less or any more than the results that came out of the Clinton Administration, "proving" that condom use reduced the incidence of STDs, or anything else of a political nature, for that matter. The real benefit (if you want to call it that) of all this pseudo-scientific politics is that it allows anyone to believe whatever they want, and draws all of society away from reality into a fantasy land.

    I'll go one step farther and personalize the statement: if this is the first time that you noticed anything, or if this is the first time you complained -- then you need to rethink whether what you call "science" really is science.

  • by vandan (151516) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:39AM (#4975999) Homepage

    gas prices in the USA upwards of 60 cents per gallon and cost tens of billions more per year in direct costs to the government, not to mention wide reaching economic reprecussions

    Fuck the economic consequences. The current generation has no right to fuck the environment, potentially for the rest of the life of the planet, just to maintain your fucked up vision of a properly run economy. Burning fossil fuels adds to greenhouse gases which screws with the environment in ways which we can't undo. So we have to stop burning fossil fuels. Simple as that. And if there are other things contributing to global warming, then we have to do something about them too. And fuck the economic cost. Or there'll be no-one left in 500 years to count your precious pennies.

    With regards to North Korea, why doesn't somebody else deal with them?

    What exactly has to be dealt with? The weapons, or the reason people want to use them?
    What can you realistically DO something about? The weapons, or the reason people want to use them?

    If you think that North Korea (or Iraq) as aspirations to take over the world, then I think you are mistaking them with the most power / money-hungry country on Earth - the US. Everyone else (except for Israel) is quite happy left to their own devices, and only has weapons to protect themselves from the inevidable invasion from the US military / economy.

    If you want to get upset about who has weapons of mass destruction, then have a look at 'our' side. The US has more nuclear, chemical and biological weapons than every other country on earth combined. And they have proved on numerous occasions that they are willing to use them to assert their economic 'rights' (while pretending that they are fighting the 'good fight' for decomcracy).

    When will we see UN, or Iraqi, or North Korean inspectors checking out the US's weapons of mass destruction and shaking their heads and saying 'This is not good enough. These are clear signs or your intent to invade us. We will therefore make a pre-emptive strike!'. Until the US disarms itself (and all countries should), then it has no right to demand other countries disarm themself. If the US insists on hunting down every last terrorist and every last weapon on the 'other side', then it is going to produce more terrorists and more weapons in the act.

    But I think this is what the US wants - because it's good for the economy. Wars are very good for the US economy. The US banks are well known for lending money to BOTH sides of wars to buy weapons from the US industrial military complex. Very good for the economy...

    And the threat of terrorism provides the perfect environment to justify taking away more of our rights to privacy and choice so we can pave the way for more civilian monitoring devices and more paramilitary troups to 'keep the peace' (squash resistance) and protect us from ourselves (protect big business from consumers with a conscience).
  • by Rhinobird (151521) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:42AM (#4976010) Homepage
    there's over 6 billion of us on the planet right now. that was not done with sound religious planning.
    HA! I think it's more because religons generally promote child bearing that there are 6 billion of us now.

    by the way, how does a little self control deny anything about human sexuality?

    wrap that pecker if you don't want to infect her Oops, sorry baby, the damn thing broke, or came off, or my sicko roommate sabatoged them (did you see that video on Fox?).

    i am certain there are people out there who can abstain Abstaining is not some mystical process. It's simply not fucking. If you can't not fuck, then I would imagine there being something wrong with you. You lack self control, probably go impulse shopping all the time and gamble too much. Give me a break. EVERYBODY can not fuck. Eating is harder not to do. You probably eat 3 times a day. How many times a day to fuck? Ok, how many times a week? A month (you poor married bastard :-P) ) There is a sex drive, but it can be over-ridden and it isn't the all consuming force you make it out to be.
  • by Borealis (84417) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:51AM (#4976032) Homepage
    I think the title reflects the tendencies of the religious right to misrepresent or falsify scientific studies. While I'm by no means implying that there is no such effort by parts of the more liberal elements of society, their efforts at least tend to be a bit less outrageous. Trying to scientifically show that evolution is non-existent and that creationism can be supported using scientific methods would be only one prime example.

    While I have seen liberals misrepresent scientific studies (it's easy to lie with statistics yadda yadda yadda), I have never seen outright lies from the liberal front along the lines of, say, "The Silent Scream". I believe this is because of an idealogical difference of approach. The religious right believes science to be a dangerous and biased opponent and has no qualms about outrageously falsifying it, whereas the liberal society is able to convince itself that the numbers it manipulates reflect "the truth".

    This is a generalization of course, because there are undoubtedly some liberals who believe science is bunk and some religious conservatives who respect it. In general however, the majority of liberals respect the scientific method enough to at least consider conclusions reached using it.
  • Re:I blaim Bush (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slipgun (316092) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:52AM (#4976034)
    You say "start a war" like it's a bad thing. I, and many other citizens of the United States, believe that we should have finished the job 10 years ago. As long as Saddam Hussein is in power, Iraq is running scared. Which would you rather have, a scared animal (who believing he has nothing to lose, will stop at nothing) or a dead animal? I can't think of a worse thing than an opponent with nothing to lose by anything up to and including death.

    Another decent comment modded down because it disagrees with left-wing opinion on Slashdot.
  • by ONOIML8 (23262) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @08:05AM (#4976060) Homepage
    You guys are trying to mix political terms with science in a very odd way just to stir something up here. Anywhere else on here and this would be modded down.

    Conservative science means running the experiment twice instead of once.

    It is not the same as conservative politics, which I think all this was supposed to be about. Unfortunatly the author, and the /. editiors it seems, had a political axe to grind.

    So now we are left with a parent post that is not a good report on politics, not a good report on science, and is just not good reporting at all.

    Or am I wrong? Is it more important to grind the political axe than to have honor in journalism?

  • by slipgun (316092) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @08:10AM (#4976075)
    This is the same administration which when initially asked the question concerning global warming, wanted "more research" to verify that the phenomenon was real.

    Everyone knows that the earth is warming up. What people disagree over is the cause of that. The theory that it is because of man made CO2 emissions is just that - a theory.
  • by gilroy (155262) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @09:50AM (#4976372) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:

    All it would do is require U.S. businesses to buy pollution credits from other countries in order to maintain the status quo. These costs will be passed on to you, the consumer, so that foreign countries can prop up their economies on your hard work.

    The cost is already being passed onto me, and other American citizens: In the health damage associated with petro pollution. In the incoherence of foreign policy. In the instability in the Middle East and South America. In the sons and daughters sent to die to maintain our petroleum addicition -- and in the conscience and psyche of our sons and daughters sent to kill others to maintain our petroluem addiction.


    Not all value is economic value. We are already paying for these failures... we might as well translate it to simple economic cost (and safeguard the environment while we're at it).

  • by Mad Man (166674) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @09:52AM (#4976378)
    Glenn Reynolds [instapundit.com] posted the following on this subject a few days ago, which puts it into perspective better than I could:

    http://www.instapundit.com/archives/006302.php [instapundit.com]

    I'VE BEEN, WELL, NOT EXACTLY CRITICAL of the claims that the Bush Administration is politicizing government science, but quick to point out that this is a problem that's been around, well, forever. (Insert obligatory reference to CDC gun-violence studies [guncite.com] here.) Nonetheless, I'm disturbed at this report [azcentral.com] that the CDC is no longer promoting condom use as a response to STDs, even though condoms are highly effective against AIDS. Sure, they're not perfect protection against everything. But then, seatbelts aren't perfect protection either, and they promote those.

    The problem, of course, is that once the science is politicized and the public health community forfeits much of its public trust, well, the door's open. I'd like to see the public health establishment focus more on science and less on politics. But then, I wanted that five years ago, too.

    UPDATE: Reader Dick Dalfiume emails that concern over the guidelines is overstated, and sends this link [cdc.gov] to the actual CDC page on the subject. I have to say that I agree with him that the story exaggerates the degree of the change.

    Posted by Glenn Reynolds at December 21, 2002 10:08 AM

  • by gilroy (155262) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @09:57AM (#4976398) Homepage Journal
    Blockquoth the poster:

    Not that signing Kyoto would reduce the amount of oil exported, or even potentially used in the aggregate. All it would do is require U.S. businesses to buy pollution credits from other countries in order to maintain the status quo.

    It's funny how people believe in capitalism ... right up until it's inconvenient. If a business buys a pollution credit, it reduces its profitability. A company doing the same work but not polluting will be able to offer a lower price while realizing the same profit. Consumers will choose the lower-priced work, thereby rewarding the desired behavior. PolluteCo will have to shell out for pollution credits -- and they'll pay to CleanCo (which therefore derives more profit). Again, the desired behavior is rewarded.


    In the long term, one of two things happens:

    PolluteCo gets wise, invests in cleaner technology, reduces its emissions, and so escapes the need to buy credits. End result: The industry as a whole is cleaner.

    PolluteCo never wises up, remains dirty, fails to invest in clean tech, continues to pay for the credits. CleanCo continues to derive economic benefit from its clean technologies, so it maintains its lower prices and draws more of the market to it. PolluteCo ramps down production (due to falling orders) and/or eventually goes out of business. End result: The industry as a whole is cleaner.


    Either way, pollution credits lead to the desired result. And amazingly they do so through clear, clean market efficiency. (For those who complain that the setting of credits is an intervention, I riposte that costs and prices are measures of desires, which lie outside the market paradigm. Why did everyone want a beanie baby? Not due to market forces.)

  • Good troll! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chacham (981) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:04AM (#4976425) Homepage Journal
    I just search at +4. Every comment agrees with the story poster. It's amazing how the slashdot crowd responds like clockwork.

    The same story could be written from the exact opposite viewpoint. The author *wanted* to prove what he said well before the article was written. The article preaches to the choir, and does nothing for those who already disagree.

    Was there even a purpose to the article?
  • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zoop (59907) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:10AM (#4976452)
    What else is there really to comment on?

    Hmmm...how about the fact that gov't research is being swayed by whomever is in office? This should offend you much more than the fact that your Republican didn't get in (you know, the one for defense, low taxes, and album stickering, or George Bush if you didn't like the Republican).

    This lends credence to the complaints during the Clinton administration that conclusions were being altered to support his policies. I don't care if you're conservative, liberal, libertarian, or socialist, doing policy first and science later leads to bad policy and worse science.

    You should demand more of your politicians and government scientists. I'd hate to think that you'd be just peachy if they faked data to show that the ice caps would melt tomorrow and we need a crash refrigeration program, just because you prefer environmental issues to, say, poverty reduction.
  • by feed_me_cereal (452042) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:23AM (#4976497)
    ... is an oxymoron. Science is the art of eliminating bias from an argument. It's just that too many conservatives don't like progress, or to hear that they're wrong. Who has, time and time again, deemed science "morally wrong" for contradicting the bible? Sorry, the truth is the truth.
  • by rearden (304396) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:29AM (#4976519) Homepage
    As a part time AIDS/ STD counselor in the gay community I can tell you that the revisionist changes being made by the Bush administration are having devastating consequences on the community as a whole (not just the gay community). Besides changing the sex education training from risk reduction to abstinence only, they are also revising what can be taught and what cannot. No longer can federally funded programs teach things like masturbation- the safest kind of sex (minus the blindness that comes!). We have been told that we must teach everyone that sex out side of marriage is dangerous, unhealthy and immoral! Yes, they actually tell us to tell these kids its IMMORAL! I have to tell a room full of young scared gay boys and girls that they cannot have sex out side marriage... but you can't get married. When pressed on this subject the HHS (Health and Human Services) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) only respond that "Condoms can fail and if you are unmarried it is dangerous and IMMORAL to have sex!" All I can say is that I fear for these kids... they leave these classes thinking that they have no hope- either forget sex completely, because they can not get married, or just do it with out a condom because it is no safer with one! That is what they believe, because at 16, 17,and 18 they cannot always work out the finer details of the tricky HHS wording on condoms. Hell, I had to read it two or three times myself.

    The second problem with the new "Sex Education" (or Abstinence Advocation as we call it) is that in many places it is now taught by "Community Leaders"- better known as religious groups. Now this inherently is not a problem, but the failure to monitor what they are teaching is a big problem. I have been observed no less than 4 times by HHS (which claims to be understaffed) yet the religious groups are not monitored. I have had years of training, studying and education on AIDS, STD, sex education and working with teenagers and the priest at the local church is 50 and knows only that God says do not sodomize, do not fornicate and have sex only in the confines of marriage. Yet in the same time period they have not monitored his program once. I have watched him my self and he refuses to answer so many questions, gives wrong answers to many more and gives religious responses to more questions than not. He has actually called AIDS the gay scourge and implied that the "righteous will be saved by God". I cringe, imagining some confused young man or woman coming to him with AIDS and being told he lived an unclean immoral life and that this is what he gets as "retribution from god" and that he will die.

    Many in the Religious Right (supporters of Bush) accuse the "gay community" of recruiting young men and women into our "cult" (words used by Pat Robertson). Yet, this new "Sex Education" is little more than a recruitment call of children into the Judeao/ Christian belief system- funded by tax dollars. If Churches want to teach abstinence only and parents want to send their kids there then fine. But I have serious problems with revisionist science being taught by Theological Scholars on my dime. If they want to stone children to death with bad science, let it be their own children with their own money!

    If you think that because you do not have children this does not apply to you think again. Who to do you think is going to have to foot the tax and medical bills of all of these uneducated children when they gets AIDS and their parents abandon them as "god less heathen children".

    ***END RANT****

    PS: Just to clarify, my old teachings on sex educations included in the forefront that having sex with only one person in a monogamous relationship is the only partner-to-partner safe sex. Also, I taught them that the only real safe sex is masturbation. But, if they were going to have sex with someone, especially multiple partners, I gave them the knowledge they needed about condoms and other such devices.

    "To the victors go history."
  • by caek (571864) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:40AM (#4976558) Homepage
    First, Bush doesn't suck. Granted I'm a right leaning mid-liner, but that isn't a crime unless I'm in Berkely or San Francisco. ;-)

    Your logic is flawless.

    Second, if you believe in global warming, find some real evidence. Yeah there may be an elevated level of CO2 in the air now, but CO2 is a piss poor 'greenhouse gas', methane and water vapor work way better. If there is a global warming trend I'd be inclined to think that it's the sun causing it as there is evidence that Mars is warming, also.

    I've got a masters in Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry. I know what I'm talking about. You are appallingly wrong. You may have heard of a book called the Sceptical Environmentalist, which was pounced upon by many groups (with vested interests in a preservation of the status quo) as proof that Global Warming is a liberal lie. It isn't and that isn't what the book says. The case for Kyoto isn't cut-and-dry by any stretch of the imagination, but asserting that global warming is not happening right now is up there with creationism.

    Thirdly. What's the best way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases? Condoms or Abstinence?

    OK then. By that logic, what's the best way to prevent gun crime? What's the best way to prevent road traffic accidents? Abstain from guns and cars? We use cars (and the USA inexplicably retains it's paranoid and damaging right to bear arms) because we like and need them. Most people like sex and none of us would be here without it. Persuade teenagers to abstain from sex? You've got to be kidding.

  • welll... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:43AM (#4976568)
    has anyone stopped to think that maybe the results ARE inconclusive?

    I mean... when you where a condom, most people feel like they are protected from STDs and pregnancy, it isn't totally true, but many people think it is... so they don't feel like there is a consiquence to sex, so there is increased activity...

    breast cancer + abortions? Let's put it this way, the human body never intended for anything to physically remove babies before they were born... perhaps giving a woman exposed to this type of situation is a sort of evolution? I mean, if you have a couple of abortions, maybe you ARE more likely to get cancer to prevent you from furthering a linage that does something like that to itself...

    If they changed the answers to "YES" without concrete facts I would have a problem... but to change them to inconclusive... it's not so bad.
  • by jgalun (8930) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @11:09AM (#4976681) Homepage
    They often ask me what Japan can do to improve its economy, and I usually tell them that Japan needs to get all of its eggs out of the US Economic basket and spread them around, so if that basket falls, not all of the eggs will break. They often ask me why I don't like the US and I usually respond by asking them why they aren't afraid of George W. Bush.

    Maybe you should advise them to fix their banking system and start dealing with their massive national debt (which, as a percentage of GDP, is more than twice as big as America's). Your platitude sounds meaningful - an American warning about America - but it is actually meaningless. Japan's major problem economically is the domestic basis of its economy.

    Yes, if America collapses economically then Japan is screwed. So is the rest of the world. But one of the reasons America's economy is so important to the world right now is because Japan and Europe have not fixed their economies. America, South Korea, China, and India are driving world economic growth right now. But because China and India are mainly exporters, and South Korea isn't that big, only America can really help the rest of the world. Traditionally, when America was going into recession, we could expect European and Japanese growth to help counteract the American recession. But now, because Japan and Europe have been stagnant for years, it is left up to America's economy alone.
  • Pretty safe???? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @11:30AM (#4976783) Journal
    What's _pretty_safe_ about those figures?

    98%-100%? That's a wide range isn't it? There is a big difference between 1 in 50 being infected and 0 in infinity.

    1 in 50 FUBAR rate is a lot worse than skydiving when I last checked (1 in 3800 participants).
    http://www.afn.org/skydive/sta/sta ts.html
    People nowadays seem to give more respect to leaping out of an airplane than to sex.

    0.5-3% is pretty much in line of typical condom failure rates in various studies. Note for most contraceptive studies failure = pregnancy, not infection. Humans aren't very fertile, so it is likely that the barrier failure rates are higher. While AIDS isn't that infectious, hepatitis B/C and other dangerous STDs are significantly more infectious.

    People who keep saying condoms = safe sex are irresponsible.

    Hot-blooded youth need to know the true risks. Given a real idea of the risks some may indeed decide to make safer choices.

    Saying they'll all be promiscuous anyway is wrong and patronising. Some sex surveys have indicated that in some countries premarital sex isn't that common. If the prevalent culture is risky and the risk/benefit ratio is bad, work to change the culture.
  • Political Science (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HorrorIsland (620928) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @11:30AM (#4976788)
    Did anyone here read the article? Here's an example of a change: from "no association between abortion and breast cancer" to "evidence is inconclusive".

    The first statement should have been removed because it is bad science - science cannot prove a positive.

    The new statment, however, is true - "many studies had reached varying conclusions about a relation between abortion and breast cancer, as the article itself confesses about eight paragraphs later.

    So, the changes now are about putting science ahead of politics. If you don't like politics corrupting your science, you should have been complaining about 2 election cycles ago. Now, instead, you should be applauding.

  • by tetranz (446973) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @11:33AM (#4976801)
    Maybe drifting a bit OT but IMHO one of the things the US needs more than anything else is a better system of elections. The country is gridlocked in a hopelessly outdated, inefficient and easily corruptable two party system. There are much better systems in use by more enlightened democracies around the world. fairvote.org [fairvote.org] makes interesting reading.

    I'm surprised that there is not more noise from minor parties pushing for some form of proportional representation or instant runoff (I think also known as preferencial voting). Maybe its pretty well impossible to get heard in the current climate.

    I guess the fundamental presidential system is never going change but its interesting to watch the British house of commons on c-span sometimes. In a parliamentry system the prime minister and cabinet members have to front up in parliament nearly every day to state their case. Somehow that seems to be more accountable than a president with an appointed cabinet.

  • Re:Bush sucks. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 29, 2002 @12:08PM (#4976990)

    Typical nonsense from the repug dimwits. Your claim that Clinton is a draft dodger is demonstrably false, whereas the Bush AWOL business is directly documented in the archives of the Air National Guard. Lies are lies, however often you repeat them.

    As for the lying under oath, well, yes. He did. He lied about fellatio. He didn't want to admit to a BJ. Big fucking whoop. As opposed to the mass of indicted felons in the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I and II juntas this is a relatively minor thing, IMHO. The most they ever managed to come up with after mercilessly hounding the Clinton administration for year after year was one single blowjob. That's it. And they still work that one for everything they can, despite the complete irrelevance of the issue.

    Honestly, what a bunch of shameless twats.

  • by swv3752 (187722) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `2573vws'> on Sunday December 29, 2002 @12:12PM (#4977023) Homepage Journal
    And the fore fathers for te screwy election system. If it was decided by a popular vote, Gore would have won.
  • Re:Not votint (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @12:53PM (#4977241) Homepage

    The problem is having someone to vote for. While most people think of not voting as a form of laziness, there is also conscientiously looking at the cantidates and deciding that none of them deserve a vote. If 'none of the above' were a meaningful option on the ballot, I'd vote a lot more.

    Currently, the best one can do is not vote at all, or game the system by voting for the most contentious rivals and hope they are caught in a hopeless snarl of infighting and don't get to do too much damage.

    Currently, we have as close to none of the above as we have ever had, but to little effect. I should think that a vote resulting in a margin smaller than statistical error should send a message, but it seems that the recipiants are oblivious.

    As for the issue at hand, this sort of revisionism is truly a cornerstone of the 1984 scenerio, but I have little doubt that Gore would have done it as well.

  • Re:Not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by teetam (584150) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @01:11PM (#4977323) Homepage
    This is ridiculous - freedom to vote includes the freedom not to vote!

    What if I don't like any of my candidates (which is quite often the case)? Should I still be forced to vote for one of them? When I choose not to vote, I am basically casting a vote against the current system and stating my disgust with it. In the Australian system, there is no way to do this.

    And please don't tell me that if I don't like the candidates, I should be one!

  • Re:Not surprised (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsnNO@SPAMearthlink.net> on Sunday December 29, 2002 @01:30PM (#4977412)
    There should definitely be a spot on the ballot for "None of the above!". I'm not convinced that mandatory voting is a wise practice, but I don't have experience with it. However, even though I have no experience with it, I'm firmly convinced that there's a need for "None of the above".

    In any multiple choice selection, one always needs to be "other".
  • by man2525 (600111) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @01:38PM (#4977444)

    As far as these inevidable [sic] US invasions, you didn't say the word, but essentialy [sic] you're accusing us of imperialism, which is complete, utter, delusional nonsense.

    But he didn't say. Imperialism is a straw man. Parent is right in that, since Kissinger was Secretary of State, we have empasized capitalism over democracy and human rights in the countries that we are involved with.

    As long as there are humans left, there will be war and violence. Your utopia will never exist, and besides, I wouldn't want to live there.

    The parent post never mentioned becoming a Marxist society, just disarmanent. If this is possible, why wouldn't you want to live there?

    Throughout the 90s they kept escalating their attacks, but Bill Clinton never retaliated quickly or decisively enough. The most he ever did was lob a few cruise missiles at empty training camps and pharmeceutical factories.

    Clinton never got support from Congress, who said that there was no terrorist threat and accused him of distracting the country from the multimillion dollar Whitewater and Lewinsky/Zippergate investigations. Reading newspaper headlines from 1998 can make you ill in light of 9/11.

  • by finkployd (12902) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @02:14PM (#4977620) Homepage
    It isn't all the editors, it is just Michael. He is an idiot. His stories are generally factually incorrect, and he has absolutly no journalistic integrity. Seriously, look at his previous stories, he always slips in his political views whenever possible.

    Finkployd
  • by MickLinux (579158) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @03:20PM (#4977908) Journal
    Ummm... these studies are often misdesigned to give the desired result.

    If, for example, you only take 22 infected male monkeys, strap condoms on them, and mix them with 22 female monkeys (or 100 female monkeys) and then watch the infections pass, you will necessarily conclude that the transmission of STDs is reduced.

    If, on the other hand, you go out into society, and study two completely identical societies [caveat: we're already into fantasy] except that one has condoms pushed, and another has abstinence pushed, then there is a chance that you will see far more sexual activity in the former... and more STDs.

    Now, I have no idea what a proper study would be. However, you can deliberately misdesign a study to predefine the results you want... and that does happen. Of course, when you do this you are clearly getting no new information out, and the study is political, not scientific. What you are instead doing is getting literature out to support your desired political opinion.
  • Dangerous advice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LinuxGeek (6139) <djand,nc&gmail,com> on Sunday December 29, 2002 @03:45PM (#4977988)
    They should vote even if they're uninformed -- provided that they truly vote randomly (if uninformed) ... Many of the ills of American democracy follow from the pathetically low participation rate.

    What you are encouraging your students to do is pseudo-participation at best. To truly participate, they would have to care and actually inform themselves on the issues. That is part of our civic duty - to be citizens and know what is going on as best we can and make the best informed decisions possible. What you suggest is about as bad as a parent that wants the TV to substitute for loving interaction with their children. As long as something is interacting, its called participation, right? Not.

    The problem with your approach is that the randomness will be mostly effected by the amount of exposure they have had to a certain name or a catchy slogan. Advertising has a powerful influence.
  • And this is news? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tz (130773) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @03:52PM (#4978006)
    All through the '70s and '80s there was a push to fund the panicmonger scientists on the left - The new ice age (switched to global warming, but they will probably be back to Ice Age in a decade or so), Acid Rain (lakes that were highly acid in 1800 but were limed returned to becoming acid, but it was our fault).

    The Hyperliberal New York Times is now upset that instead of giving THE LIBERAL PSEUDOSCIENTIFIC LINE they National Cancer Institute is actually looking at data.

    Abortion is either a factor or a nonfactor in breast cancer. There have been studies validating both sides, but Bill Clinton will have the NCI say there is no effect, and GWB will have it say there is a clear causal connection.

    Condoms are another problem. If they were a drug the FDA would ban them for not being effective or being too hard to use. "Those who used latex condoms correctly and consistently". But how many is that out of everyone who uses condoms? And what of things like HPV that isn't covered by the condom. That, and abstinence. was being censored by the previous administration.

    Maybe there will be a page saying "We recommend the use of low-tar cigarettes and filters" and not making any mention of quitting or abstinence of cigarettes if a Tobacco state politician becomes president.

    The government should stay out of this too. Where in the constitution does it give them the power to do this?
  • by Kohath (38547) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @04:17PM (#4978101)
    Ok, agreed.

    FWIW: Religous people of all faiths, in general, tend to be nice people.

    Some religious leaders want to make your choices for you. Some scientific leaders want to make your choices for you. It doesn't matter who's right about why or what the underlying motives are. What matters is that your choices are yours, and my choices are mine, and trying to take them away is wrong.

  • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @06:06PM (#4978529)
    Perhaps the laws governing technology, research funding, etc have a place on the simplistic "liberal/conservative" spectrum, but science itself, the pursuit of knowledge is apolitical.

    Your suggetion that RU-486's development or even the research that fathered its development is politically driven has a scary luddite feel to it, something like the "arguments" the populace used to buy about the religious amorality of experimenting on cadavers not so long ago. Which itself caused untold suffering by holding back medical science, which is what the Bush administration along with the religious right are planning on doing on other types of research right now. Stem cells anyone?

    Is it really so "liberal" to sell RU-486 in a society in which abortions are legal? Sounds like good sense to avoid the physical abortion procedure.

    I don't know whats more pathetic, that conservativism now means "in bed with big business and big religion" or that we still haven't learned the lessons of history. Not to mention co-opting the word "liberal" to mean anything that isn't religiously conservative is more than a bit disingenuous.
  • by GlassHeart (579618) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @07:31PM (#4978854) Journal
    Animals have Rights.

    "Outright lie"?

    This is a political belief. It can be right or wrong, but not true or false.

  • by jpmorgan (517966) on Sunday December 29, 2002 @10:01PM (#4979453) Homepage

    Abortion is either a factor or a nonfactor in breast cancer. There have been studies validating both sides, but Bill Clinton will have the NCI say there is no effect, and GWB will have it say there is a clear causal connection.

    Since when did paralytic fear of coming to conclusions based on the evidence become part of the scientific process? Apparently when GWB got elected...

    The biggest, the best and the most generally trusted studies of the issue have shown that there is no causal connection. Science is full of disagreement, but good science is looking at the evidence and coming to a conclusion based solely on the facts, not the political agendas. In this circumstance, despite the existance of some evidence to the contrary, the facts primarily support the no causal connection side of the argument.

    To overlook the fact that a significant majority of the evidence is in favour of the no causal connection side, and suggest that because there is some disagreement the evidence is inconclusive isn't science. It's a weak attempt to pass off a highly political agenda as scientific fact, and censor information that the administration doesn't want revealed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 30, 2002 @01:05AM (#4980005)
    Ummmm....they were dropping a fucking atomic bomb on a major city. How accurate did their aim have to be? Regardless, I think it was wrong to kill between 100,000 and 200,000 civilians in order to make Japan surrender. It is never acceptable to purposely kill civilians in war. Never. Drop the bomb on a hillside somewhere where they can see it. If that doesn't work, figure something else out. But incinerate over 100,000 civilians? No. I'm sorry, that is one of the closest things to evil I can imagine.

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