A Presidential Memo has been released in the US. The president seems to have heard our message and is attempting to respond. Could it be? It is at least interesting that while the mainstream media does not allow coverage of this issue, the president seems to realize that scientic integrity, both generally and particularly in terms of how it relates to government policy, is an issue that needs to be adddressed.
It’s a very big and gravely crucial issue. Scientific integrity matters whether we’re talking about biomedical research, big physics projects, drug safety research, NASA, NOAA, Fish & Wildlife, food, alcohol, tobacco, or any of the Health & Environment cult’s social behavior legislations. Wherever there’s science, it needs to be honest science, and there must be policies in place to respond effectively to problems.
The scientific methodology used to form theories on which policies are based must be truly scientific methodology, not opinion science, sham, and fraud, as we have suffered increasingly in recent decades. Policy must be grounded on evidence that is grounded. That evidence should come from true and objective research, not from vague questionnaires, or hysterical conjectures, of the type that "inform" fanatical Tobacco Control.
It doesn’t matter what policy makers wish or hope the science shows, but what the science actually shows.
To me, the release of President Obama’s memo on this issue is a welcome move. It’s a small step away from paternalism. It calls for some answerability to taxpayers. It calls for federal agencies to recognize that a problem exists. That’s a start. Of course, debate will tend to be restricted to factions within the junk science community, but new opportunities may exist for forcing real reasoned debate. The reality-based community, in other words, is going to have to demand a seat at the table. Some good may yet come of this. We shall see.
Memo text follows here (with links also to the original release at bottom of this page):
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 9, 2009
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Scientific Integrity
Science and the scientific process must inform and guide decisions of my Administration on a wide range of issues, including improvement of public health, protection of the environment, increased efficiency in the use of energy and other resources, mitigation of the threat of climate change, and protection of national security.
The public must be able to trust the science and scientific process informing public policy decisions. Political officials should not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions. If scientific and technological information is developed and used by the Federal Government, it should ordinarily be made available to the public. To the extent permitted by law, there should be transparency in the preparation, identification, and use of scientific and technological information in policymaking. The selection of scientists and technology professionals for positions in the executive branch should be based on their scientific and technological knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity.
By this memorandum, I assign to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Director) the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes. The Director shall confer, as appropriate, with the heads of executive departments and agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget and offices and agencies within the Executive Office of the President (collectively, the "agencies"), and recommend a plan to achieve that goal throughout the executive branch.
Specifically, I direct the following:
1. Within 120 days from the date of this memorandum, the Director shall develop recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch, based on the following principles:
(a) The selection and retention of candidates for science and technology positions in the executive branch should be based on the candidate’s knowledge, credentials, experience, and integrity;
(b) Each agency should have appropriate rules and procedures to ensure the integrity of the scientific process within the agency;
(c) When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, the information should be subject to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where appropriate, and each agency should appropriately and accurately reflect that information in complying with and applying relevant statutory standards;
(d) Except for information that is properly restricted from disclosure under procedures established in accordance with statute, regulation, Executive Order, or Presidential Memorandum, each agency should make available to the public the scientific or technological findings or conclusions considered or relied on in policy decisions;
(e) Each agency should have in place procedures to identify and address instances in which the scientific process or the integrity of scientific and technological information may be compromised; and
(f) Each agency should adopt such additional procedures, including any appropriate whistleblower protections, as are necessary to ensure the integrity of scientific and technological information and processes on which the agency relies in its decisionmaking or otherwise uses or prepares.
2. Each agency shall make available any and all information deemed by the Director to be necessary to inform the Director in making recommendations to the President as requested by this memorandum. Each agency shall coordinate with the Director in the development of any interim procedures deemed necessary to ensure the integrity of scientific decisionmaking pending the Director’s recommendations called for by this memorandum.
3. (a) Executive departments and agencies shall carry out the provisions of this memorandum to the extent permitted by law and consistent with their statutory and regulatory authorities and their enforcement mechanisms.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
4. The Director is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.