Grijalva’s War on Science

I had read about this in the Denver Post but today saw Roger Pielke’s post on his blog here. This whole thing is a hoot and a half (IMHO)…but I agree with Roger. Thanks Rep. Grijalva!

Below is an excerpt..

With this post I’d like to express a sincere Thanks to representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ). As most readers here will know, Rep. Grijalva is “investigating” me based on his belief that I do research and public service as a consequence of shadow payments from fossil fuel companies. Ridiculous, I know.

I’m thanking Rep. Grijalva not for the media exposure (e.g., NPR, NYT) nor for the bump in sales of my books (e.g., THB, TCF, D&CC), and not even for the many bits of fan mail via email and Twitter from the fringes of the climate debate. Rather, I am thanking Rep. Grijalva for doing more than his part in helping to kill a narrative.

For more than a decade, leading elements of the science and media communities have advanced a narrative which said that conservatives were stupid and/or evil and were singularly responsible for pathologically politicizing science. Reality, as the saying goes, has a liberal bias. It turns out that concerns over the “politicization of science” were themselves subject to politicization.

I wrote about this in 2003:

Politicization of science is a problem irrespective of the ideology of those doing the politicizing. Our scientific enterprise is too important to allow putative concerns about the politicization of science to become just another weapon in partisan battle.

And in 2005:

It is clear that there is an ample supply of people willing to use concern over the politicization of science as a political bludgeon to score points on the Bush Administration. It is also clear that there are plenty of others aligned with the Bush Administration willing to do exactly the opposite. The question I have is, where are the analysts (including reporters) who care about the politicization of science irrespective of possible advantages that are lent to today’s partisan political battles?

You may remember Rep. Grijalva from our discussions. . Andy posted this one about environmental groups supporting him for ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee. Here is my review of “his” 2008 report (he probably got it in the mail and just submitted it without his staff reviewing it). Scarier still, he was supported by environmental (and women’s groups.. really? they never asked me…) groups for Secretary of Interior.. you know, the Department with the science agency USGS..

Matthew posted this..

In a letter sent today, a broad coalition of 238 conservation, Hispanic, recreation, animal welfare, religious, labor, youth, business and women’s groups urged President Barack Obama to nominate Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) as the next interior secretary when that position opens. Grijalva is currently ranking member of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, and a leading Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

I have an old-fashioned habit of checking facts I think I remember and I noticed that on the home page of the USGS, it does not mention what agency it is part of. I am not making this up. So I had to go to the Interior page and double check, sure enough, Grijalva would have been in charge of the USGS.

Kind of scary..

6 thoughts on “Grijalva’s War on Science”

  1. so much smoke, so little fire… A bunch of environmental groups support a politician who advocates for the environment. Imagine that.

    Roger Pielke continues to do what he does best, which is self-promotion. Another article where he whines about people whining about him whining about other people whining about him whining about….zzzzzzz

    “I have an old-fashioned habit of checking facts I think I remember and I noticed that on the home page of the USGS, it does not mention what agency it is part of. I am not making this up.”

    Here’s a new habit that’s a pretty good one: On any organization’s home page, click on the link with the text “Who We Are”. That’s where you find the text that reads “the USGS stands as the sole science agency for the Department of the Interior.” easy peasy.

    • Sorry to be so concrete here, Guy but I couldn’t find “who we are” off the homepage. Here is the link to the homepage. Maybe my eyeballs are too old or I can’t read regular size print after a quarter of studying the Oxford Study Bible.

      So I clicked on “About USGS” (isn’t it something “about” USGS that it is part of DOI?) and got this which didn’t mention the Dept. from there I tried various other locations, but I didn’t find it. I thought “who we are” would be more personal like human beings, not departments, so didn’t check there. But it’s still two clicks in with the right knowledge as to what to click. Not so easy peasy, certainly not as much as BLM or the FS.

      Note that the Forest Service has the USDA logo on their homepage here: also note that BLM has the same approach with the DOI logo on the homepage:

      NOAA fisheries is one click in as part of “our mission” it mentions Commerce.

      FWS is not very obvious about it, but even on their homepage is a link to DOI at the bottom.

      As to Roger being self-promotional.. as you say “zzzz” ! As far as I can tell most academics are pretty self-promotional (it seems to be selected for in the academic system)..not only academics, but certainly humble ones are little heard from…

    • Jon, do you remember the FS used to have some management training (was it Tom Peters?) in which the claim ” we’re no worse than anyone else” was thought not to be what organizations should strive for?

      If D’s are going to claim that R’s have a “war on science” and that having a war on science is bad, then it seems to me they owe it to all of us listening to their statements to not do what is obviously the same thing.

  2. No, I thought the point was we don’t need political appointees that are so politicalized so far one way or the other that they don’t care what the “science” is as long it supports their agenda.
    How about someone who can dissimulate the facts and look for a balanced way forward. Someone who really cares about the environment not just how much power they can have. Not just more of the same, one way or the other. (I know, what world am I living in?)
    I found it interesting to read the links, thanks.
    “a bunch of environmental groups supports a politician that advocates for the environment,”
    Well, their ideas for the environment anyways.


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