Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lysenko's Heiress

Well, what are we to think when our congressional representative, presumably one of the smartest women in the world, is brushed back by not one, but two august members of the scientific community.
Hat tip to Duane D. Freese at TCS Daily. House hearings on global warming with witnesses debunking some junk science that could not be credibly replicated. Here's the exchange:
On basing policy on science or science on policy

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.: "I'm very concerned that this is being used in a way to discredit the whole notion that our country and the rest of the industrialized and developing world ought to do anything about global warming. And that's why I ask you that question, Dr. Wegman, if this does not make you somewhat uncomfortable. Can you see in any way how this is being used and does it bother you?"

Edward Wegman: "I can understand that it's your job to sort out the political ramifications of what I have said. In some sense it's not fair for you to say well, gee, you reported on some fact and that's going to be used in a bad way."

On the same issue, from a witness in a second panel

Dr. Hans von Storch, director of the Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS-Research Centre Geesthacht GmbH, Geesthacht, Germany and professor at the Meteorological Institute, University of Hamburg: "I was a bit disappointed about the comment from the lady from Illinois who said, aren't you afraid if you say this, that this would have negative implications on the policy process. I was kind of shocked. Should we really adopt what we say if that's useful for the policy process? Is that what you expect from science? If we give advice, must we first think, is it useful for something? I think that is not the way we should operate."

Perhaps Ms. Schakowsky has spent too much time with her socialist worker friends and absorbed too much Lysenkoism.

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