Protecting Scientific Integrity
The last few years have witnessed scores of complaints from government scientists concerning interference by political appointees with the scientists’ research and reports summarizing their findings. There have been other complaints about the work of some federal advisory committees, such as the Energy Task Force chaired by Vice President Cheney, on the ground that the work of these committees is carried out in secret and is subject to influence from special interests. Special interests have also taken advantage of vague statutory provisions, such as the Data Quality Act, to stall needed regulation. All of these problems are often referred to under the heading of “scientific integrity.” Congress is currently considering legislation to address these problems. The Center for Inquiry has produced a position paper that addresses this set of issues and provides very specific recommendations concerning the legislative language that is required to correct these problems. Public policy should be based on science; but it must be based on sound science, not politically manipulated science.
The paper was authored by Ronald A. Lindsay, J.D., Ph.D., Derek Araujo, J.D., and Daniel Horowitz, J.D. Dr. Lindsay is Director of Research and Legal Affairs for CFI. He is an honors graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and received his Ph.D. in bioethics from Georgetown University. Mr. Araujo is the Executive Director of CFI-New York. He received his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Before joining CFI, he was a litigation associate with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. Mr. Horowitz is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. He has worked in private practice and the government for 30 years, specializing in the field of federal income taxation. While continuing in that practice part-time, he now also volunteers for CFI as well as other organizations.