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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings
    #3764687 - 02/11/05 01:35 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

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More than 200 scientists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say they have been directed to alter official findings to lessen protections for plants and animals, a survey released Wednesday says.

The survey of the agency's scientific staff of 1,400 had a 30% response rate and was conducted jointly by the Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

A division of the Department of the Interior, the Fish and Wildlife Service is charged with determining which animals and plants should be placed on the endangered species list and designating areas where such species need to be protected.

More than half of the biologists and other researchers who responded to the survey said they knew of cases in which commercial interests, including timber, grazing, development and energy companies, had applied political pressure to reverse scientific conclusions deemed harmful to their business.

Bush administration officials, including Craig Manson, an assistant secretary of the Interior who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, have been critical of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, contending that its implementation has imposed hardships on developers and others while failing to restore healthy populations of wildlife.

Along with Republican leaders in Congress, the administration is pushing to revamp the act. The president's proposed budget calls for a $3-million reduction in funding of Fish and Wildlife's endangered species programs.

"The pressure to alter scientific reports for political reasons has become pervasive at Fish and Wildlife offices around the country," said Lexi Shultz of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Mitch Snow, a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service, said the agency had no comment on the survey, except to say "some of the basic premises just aren't so."

The two groups that circulated the survey also made available memos from Fish and Wildlife officials that instructed employees not to respond to the survey, even if they did so on their own time. Snow said that agency employees could not use work time to respond to outside surveys.

Fish and Wildlife scientists in 90 national offices were asked 42 questions and given space to respond in essay form in the mail-in survey sent in November.

One scientist working in the Pacific region, which includes California, wrote: "I have been through the reversal of two listing decisions due to political pressure. Science was ignored ? and worse, manipulated, to build a bogus rationale for reversal of these listing decisions."

More than 20% of survey responders reported they had been "directed to inappropriately exclude or alter technical information."

However, 69% said they had never been given such a directive. And, although more than half of the respondents said they had been ordered to alter findings to lessen protection of species, nearly 40% said they had never been required to do so.

Sally Stefferud, a biologist who retired in 2002 after 20 years with the agency, said Wednesday she was not surprised by the survey results, saying she had been ordered to change a finding on a biological opinion.

"Political pressures influence the outcome of almost all the cases," she said. "As a scientist, I would probably say you really can't trust the science coming out of the agency."

A biologist in Alaska wrote in response to the survey: "It is one thing for the department to dismiss our recommendations, it is quite another to be forced (under veiled threat of removal) to say something that is counter to our best professional judgment."

Don Lindburg, head of the office of giant panda conservation at the Zoological Society of San Diego, said it was unrealistic to expect federal scientists to be exempt from politics or pressure.

"I've not stood in the shoes of any of those scientists," he said. "But it is not difficult for me to believe that there are pressures from those who are not happy with conservation objectives, and here I am referring to development interest and others.

"But when it comes to altering data, that is a serious matter. I am really sorry to hear that scientists working for the service feel they have to do that. Changing facts to fit the politics ? that is a very unhealthy thing. If I were a scientist in that position I would just refuse to do it."

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the public employee group provided copies of the survey and excerpts from essay-style responses.

One biologist based in California, who responded to the survey, said in an interview with The Times that the Fish and Wildlife Service was not interested in adding any species to the endangered species list.

"For biologists who do endangered species analysis, my experience is that the majority of them are ordered to reverse their conclusions [if they favor listing]. There are other biologists who will do it if you won't," said the biologist, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3764720 - 02/11/05 01:44 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

wow.

You posted this while I was making my post about this.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: carbonhoots]
    #3764732 - 02/11/05 01:46 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Did you read it on Slashdot too?


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Invisiblecarbonhoots
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3764761 - 02/11/05 01:51 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)



--------------------
  -I'd rather have a frontal lobotomy than a bottle in front of me

CANADIAN CENTER FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES


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OfflineCatalysis
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3765405 - 02/11/05 04:45 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

I wonder how many of these "scientists" have nothing more than an associates degree in biology.

If these were 1400 PhD scientists then it would be more interesting but somehow i doubt that. I have noticed that you can label anyone a scientist and everyone will suddenly think they know all about everything even if they just took a couple 101 classes in college. I'd bet anything that most of these people were having their papers reviewed and edited by more qualified senior scientists and they didn't like it.

Its easy to get your 2-year degree and join F&W as a level 3 on some kind of mission to save the world only to get pissed off when you find that they won't let you do anything more than scrub rocks.


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Offlinephi1618
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Catalysis]
    #3765456 - 02/11/05 05:35 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Here's a relavent link:
http://www.ucsusa.org/global_environment/rsi/page.cfm?pageID=1601

You'll find a summary of the results, as well as the survey itself, the overall responses, the memo that was sent out forbidding people to respond to the survey, and regional analysis of the responses.


Catalysis:
Here is an interesting quote from the above link:
"More than two out of three staff scientists (70 percent) and nearly nine out of 10 scientist managers (89 percent) knew of cases "where U.S. Department of Interior political appointees have injected themselves into Ecological Services determinations." A majority of respondents also cited interventions by members of Congress and local officeholders."


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InvisibleCJay
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: phi1618]
    #3765837 - 02/11/05 10:20 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

If only capitalism could find a heart and compassion

balance


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: CJay]
    #3765908 - 02/11/05 10:49 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

American citizens donate more to charity than any other country.


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OfflinePsiloman
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3765977 - 02/11/05 11:21 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

"American citizens donate more to charity than any other country. "

They OUGHT to,since their goverment kills more than any other country.


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Psiloman]
    #3766138 - 02/11/05 12:25 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

They OUGHT to,since their goverment kills more than any other country.




oh lord...


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InvisibleInnvertigo
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3766151 - 02/11/05 12:29 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings




you can't trust them Americans.


--------------------

America....FUCK YEAH!!!

Words of Wisdom: Individual Rights BEFORE Collective Rights

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." -- Thomas Jefferson


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OfflineRonoS
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Innvertigo]
    #3766241 - 02/11/05 12:55 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

you can't trust them Americans




Americans are fine...it's their government that is fucked. (As is the case with most countries)


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: CJay]
    #3766427 - 02/11/05 01:51 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

CJay said:
If only capitalism could find a heart and compassion

balance



If only those who criticized capitalism had the slightest clue what it means.


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Invisibleafoaf
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Catalysis]
    #3767002 - 02/11/05 04:30 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Catalysis said:
I wonder how many of these "scientists" have nothing more than an associates degree in biology.

If these were 1400 PhD scientists then it would be more interesting but somehow i doubt that. I have noticed that you can label anyone a scientist and everyone will suddenly think they know all about everything even if they just took a couple 101 classes in college. I'd bet anything that most of these people were having their papers reviewed and edited by more qualified senior scientists and they didn't like it.

Its easy to get your 2-year degree and join F&W as a level 3 on some kind of mission to save the world only to get pissed off when you find that they won't let you do anything more than scrub rocks.




Lame attempt at discrediting the point.

The basic premise is that the politics of the agency are guiding and
in some cases driving the manipulation and ommission of data from
it's professional staff in an effort to stifle what would be seen as
data contradictory to the agency's new direction.


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All I know is The Growery is a place where losers who get banned here go.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Silversoul]
    #3767061 - 02/11/05 04:48 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

If only those who criticized capitalism had the slightest clue what it means.




And how did you infer cjay doesnt know what it means?

You obviously think you do though...

Anyway the tool is irrelevant. Id rather live in a communist state where those in power were truly benevolent and compassionate than a capitalist state where those in power were greedy, corrupt and hyper-individualists.


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Always Smi2le


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InvisibleGreat_Satan
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3767628 - 02/11/05 07:07 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

It sounds to me like some scientists who have borrowed the left wing propaganda machine are just trying to further their careers by making people panic about the environment while reeping the rewards ($500,000 a year as a noted scientist, a prestigious position, etc.). The government is just trying to put an end to this propaganda. They know how the left wing robbers work: scare the public, get donations, grants, get published.....


Edited by Great_Satan (02/11/05 07:08 PM)


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Invisible@cro
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Great_Satan]
    #3767712 - 02/11/05 07:32 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Great_Satan said:
They know how the left wing robbers work:  scare the public




That's the funniest thing I've read in a long time, thanks.  :lol:
I hope you just forgot the sarcasm gremlin.

OH shit, we're at red level... wtf does that mean?
I don't know but I better hide under my desk, pray to god and vote for a president who doesn't flip flop.

Damn, where'd that sarcasm gremlin go.


Edited by @cro (02/11/05 07:56 PM)


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OfflinePsilygirl
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: @cro]
    #3767820 - 02/11/05 08:00 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

oh my god the TERRORISTS!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES IN MIDDLE OF NOWHERE USA!! :lol:

in case you're completely blind, most governments use this strategy of keeping the public afraid all the time so they eat up every fucking word of bullshit propaganda they give them.

UCS is a legit, NGO with nothing to lose and PhD's backing them up, do you trust rocket scientists and the people who actually have intelligence, or the government getting rich of those WMD which oh by the way NEVER SHOWED UP...

it's fine to have opinions, but think about the SOURCE of them.

personally, I trust scientists and not a red-neck from Texas who cant speak English, let alone have the knowledge of a PhD


--------------------
"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing.' Between the two, my life flows."


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OfflineCatalysis
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #3767910 - 02/11/05 08:16 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Interesting note at the end...only 414 (29.4%)scientists responded to the survey.

Im sure a large percentage had an axe to grind.  My point is, anyone who has ever worked knows that this stuff happens from time to time but as a scientist who has first hand experience in the industry and now in a research group, this whole survey seems very suspect to me.  I could easily make the case that my professor is making me exclude important info when he asks me to take something out of my presentation (which happens often) but that doesn't mean he is manipulating data.

Also, the "Union of Concerned Scientists" hardly seems like an impartial group to me.  If they didn't come up with "disturbing findings" what would they do?  What would those people tell their bosses?  Talk about politics.  :wink:

Like I said, I don't doubt this occassionally goes on but im sure it is being blown way out of proportion for the usual reasons.


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InvisibleGreat_Satan
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Re: U.S. Scientists Say They Are Told to Alter Findings [Re: Catalysis]
    #3768023 - 02/11/05 08:37 PM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

Catalysis said:
Interesting note at the end...only 414 (29.4%)scientists responded to the survey.

Im sure a large percentage had an axe to grind.  My point is, anyone who has ever worked knows that this stuff happens from time to time but as a scientist who has first hand experience in the industry and now in a research group, this whole survey seems very suspect to me.  I could easily make the case that my professor is making me exclude important info when he asks me to take something out of my presentation (which happens often) but that doesn't mean he is manipulating data.

Also, the "Union of Concerned Scientists" hardly seems like an impartial group to me.  If they didn't come up with "disturbing findings" what would they do?  What would those people tell their bosses?  Talk about politics.  :wink:

Like I said, I don't doubt this occassionally goes on but im sure it is being blown way out of proportion for the usual reasons.




At last some level of sanity in this thread.


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