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Dangerous Times for the Scientist

I recently stumbled across a group called “Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.” PEER. Apparently they “protect employees who protect our environment.” Specifically the scientists.

It’s odd to think scientists would need such protection. The scientists have the numbers after all, the proof. But apparently knowing the truth is a dangerous thing even in our enlightened times. According to the PEER website, “Public agency scientists, particularly at the federal level, are under growing political pressure to alter, dilute or suppress their findings on issues of economic impact or controversy.”

Sad and scary. And I’m pretty sure this has nothing to do with political parties.

Issues they are currently working on include President Obama’s less than stellar environmental record; protection for wildlife such as whales, manatees, and the Florida Panther; public health threats such as coal combustion waste and Pharma pollution; problems with urban sprawl.

These types of issues tend to be politically hot. The scientists working on them can find themselves threatened if they come up with numbers unfavorable to industry and political leaders. These scientists are the people we depend on for our health and the protection of our natural resources. The last thing we want is for them to feel threatened.

Sad to think that science must continue the fight for the truth. I thought we left those battles in the dark ages.

One entry at the PEER site illustrates in a humorous way what this group is up against. It’s in their “previous campaigns” area. Apparently there was at one time not too long ago a push to turn our national parks into “faith-based parks.” Religious symbols and posting of Bible verses on public land doesn’t bother me much. We put quotes from John Muir and Henry David Thoreau all over the place, why not spiritual logic from other sources. But forcing Biblical explanations for plate tectonics on the unsuspecting public bugs me.

The PEER site puts it best “…the Grand Canyon is a bit older than a mere few thousand years!”

God bless them for their sense of humor.

Sue Lange

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