Posts Tagged ‘Censorship’

epa-5-epaThe administration of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is dipping to a knew low. EPA scientists are being censored.

Several EPA scientists have been told by their upper management not to present their data at a conference in Providence, RI on one of the major estuaries on the eastern seaboard, the Narrangansett Bay Estuary. The conference will include a 500 page technical report entitled “The State of Narrangansett Bay and Its Watershed.” This report includes the work of dozens of researchers from a variety of organizations on the current conditions of the bay/estuary, how those conditions have changed over the recent past, and what forces are likely to effect or contribute to those conditions in the future. To read a bit more of the story click here. These future forces prominently include climate change, and that is where the censorship comes into play.

The EPA scientists have been involved in climate change research, and were scheduled to present information on climate change, facilitate discussions on climate change, etc. In alignment with a lot of the current federal attitude towards climate change, which has included the removal of climate change pages from federal websites and the direction to not refer to climate change in reports and other documents, the EPA scientists have been told that they may not present at the conference. They can still attend, but presentations at scientific conferences are major way that information is shared in the scientific community.

Being prevented from presenting scientific data at a scientific conference to fellow scientists is disgraceful!

Scientific censorship (and censorship in general) directly contributes to the decline of an informed society.

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Information is important. With information each of us as individuals, and our society as a whole, can learn about the world. With information, we can all make decisions that make sense. With information, we can all discuss ideas.

Without information none of that is possible. Without information, we are, at best, at the mercy of our current, limited knowledge, and our base instincts. Without information we are, at worst, at the mercy of the limited knowledge and instincts of someone else.

This is why the gag order, and insistence that all reports and data be pre-screened before release to the public, issued by the President to the EPA are so concerning to me, and I think should be so concerning everyone else. This is exactly the kind of action that limits access to, and spread of, information. It will only hamper all of our abilities to operate as rational, critically thinking individuals. It is the kind of action that is put in place to control what we, as citizens, know and when we know it. This is censorship and it has no place in science or a free society.



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