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Re: [Sartre] Reality as "is", co-created and fracturing

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  • Elaine Phipps-Earl
    Dear Henry, U wrote :- Just think, for a moment... how the little girl in the airplane in your story must have thought/felt!!!??? How about her mother &
    Message 1 of 9 , Jan 4, 2004
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      Dear Henry,

      U wrote :- Just think, for a moment... how the little girl in the airplane
      in your story must have thought/felt!!!??? How about her mother &
      father... the other passengers, etc.
      I wrote to a friend this afternoon, prior to receiving your email saying :-

      Even international news seems most bizarre. The visual images we are being
      shown do not match the text, so called facts do not connect to show one big
      picture. An example is the grounding of the UK airline, because of a "name",
      which turned out to be a 5 year old child, absolutely senseless details
      joined together to create a senario (story). Look at the details

      1. CIA warning of terrorist attack
      2. Stopping plane from taking off from UK because this
      flight was associated with a possible terrorist attack
      3. They have a "name"
      4. The name turns out to be that of a 5 year old child
      5. Although they have discovered that this name is the
      name of a 5 year old child, the flight is still grounded.

      Now if u or i were going to write a short "fiction" story we first define
      the plot. U could say that 1 and 2 are the start of the plot, but if u look
      at 3,4 and 5 they don't fit in. It appears as a story a 5 year old child
      would write. It is illogical, childish nonsense. Now u and i are not
      connected to this event and still it seems bizarre. Can u imagine how
      someone who was supposed to be taking that flight must feel? I should
      imagine they feel as though they are on the set of "Outer Limits".

      However, this is merely one example. I am experiencing this phenomena across
      the board, not only as i study world events, but also in my own personal
      life experience. People around me are exhibiting very strange behaviour. I
      cannot put my finger on it. If i was to put this sensed awareness into a
      creative (fictional) story, it would see the main character suddenly
      confronted by a bizarre
      reality, where he/she discovers that they are the only thinking, conscious
      entity and all others in their reality are merely robots, which are
      malfunctioning.

      It is rather like looking at a crystal ball which is beginning to crack,
      eventually shatter into a billion pieces. I realize this depiction could be
      linked to mental illness. However, while events could easily find one
      slipping into some form of neurosis, i feel quite stable lol. I attribute my
      stability to the fact that 90% of the time i stand as observer, outside of
      myself, merely watching on. The other 10% of the time i am overwhelmed by
      conflicting emotions, hence it is easier to stand outside ;))) However, from
      the outside looking in on reality it seems most bizarre.

      As to my Love & Massive Hugs they are sincere, i am far removed from the
      "norm" of society, however, i continually strive not only to express
      unconditional love, but also to act with unconditional love.

      Love & Massive Hugs or alternatively Kind Regards,
      Elaine

      p.s. With emails to my Professors i sign Kind Regards, but only until the
      semester has ended and then i sign Love & Massive Hugs. Over the past 25
      years, i have remained in contact with many of my Professors and some of
      them now sign with Love ;)))))))))))))))))
    • Henry W. Peters
      Dear Elaine, Then there is that famous other little girl: Alice of wonderland... & in the (backward looking) looking glass! in a place where some had to
      Message 2 of 9 , Jan 4, 2004
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        Dear Elaine,

        Then there is that famous other little girl: "Alice" of
        wonderland... & in the (backward looking) looking glass! in a place
        where some had to run, just to stand still.

        In my previous correspondence, I meant (& mean) to suggest that in
        fact... & in basic agreement with you, there are such problems as
        "fracturing" IN the world... & although it comes in differing ways
        for different situations, & their complex of interactions, these
        separations are pervasive. & as we are in the world (the universe,
        for that matter) we necessarily become infected with, one way or the
        other... these problems...

        I continue to think that the insights & thoughtfulness of Sartre, De
        Beauvoir & others, as pioneers along the way to helping us (possibly)
        clear the meanings & interchanges that arise because of such
        alienation/fracturing... first, by beginning to logically/critically
        describe human thought process, no matter the "ideological" or social
        stratification biases... (though not necessarily disregarding any
        such) so that secondly, we may begin to situate, distinguish more
        appropriately, mental inventions derived from (possibly mindless)
        self protection schemes; denial/s, etc. (i.e., not just "personal"
        matters, news scripts, events, cultural or political) & begin to
        build a more inclusive, relevantly aware world to accommodate
        sameness/diversities... with what resource we may find available...
        including imagination.

        Though this may seem a digression... I now turn toward the rather
        well known cite of Albert Einstein regarding the development of
        atomic fission... (& I paraphrase from memory): "When we fissioned
        the atom, we changed everything save our way of thinking." I
        believe he meant exactly that... changed EVERYTHING. So a question
        then arises... if the potential for release of such matter/energy is
        ineluctably with us... (& this is potentially & in fact an
        inescapable calamity, even if not disregarded) & corresponding
        pathways for appropriate action (say to properly employ or contain
        such available options is disregarded, trivialized, etc.), why would
        there not be a "sensing/experiencing a distinct fracturing between
        these two realities?" as you put it? Perhaps another way to put it
        would be to say that the potencies for physical realization would be
        on a differing track than those charged (willingly or no) for the
        cares & considerations for those physical potencies realizations...
        (or elimination) which is us. & I am laying aside here, for the
        moment any analysis of relations of social stratifications... but do
        see the necessity to appropriately include this... to accurately
        understand any relations... between humans... (& nature as well).

        By raising the flag "alienation" I really did not wish to
        oversimplify what you were saying... rather, my meagre attempt at
        solidarity with what you were expressing in a more concrete way via
        the story you brought up... (you did ask if any one had similar such
        experience, no?). Another way to put this (less verbose) would be
        to say... You're darn right, during the Vietnam war/Watergate
        period... when I lived in California, I used to read the headlines
        of newspapers on the news stands... & swear I could see these
        troubles in the eyes, behavior of my fellow "citizens," right in the
        streets!!! i.e., a correspondence as certain events showed themselves
        in this way (a provocative manner of headline news). I saw this as
        an eruption of a massive social crisis/psychosis... that probably
        was there all the time, in more seemingly manageable form... for many
        (masked by politeness, self/imposed censorship, bureaucratic form,
        etc.)

        As to the love & hugs... hey, I am all for it... spread it
        around!!!! yes. I like to say (I raised greenhouse, hydroponic
        tomatoes for a few years): "A good tasting tomato can do things for
        people no army could do."

        Peace with love & hugs, to ya good sister, peace & good tasting
        tomatoes (if you like them).

        Henry

        p.s., from the point of view of what to do with ones observations,
        experiences, thoughts, intuitions, etc., Sartre also refused to
        distinguish between literature & philosophy.


        >Dear Henry,
        >
        >U wrote :- Just think, for a moment... how the little girl in the airplane
        >in your story must have thought/felt!!!??? How about her mother &
        >father... the other passengers, etc.
        >I wrote to a friend this afternoon, prior to receiving your email saying :-
        >
        >Even international news seems most bizarre. The visual images we are being
        >shown do not match the text, so called facts do not connect to show one big
        >picture. An example is the grounding of the UK airline, because of a "name",
        >which turned out to be a 5 year old child, absolutely senseless details
        >joined together to create a senario (story). Look at the details
        >
        >1. CIA warning of terrorist attack
        >2. Stopping plane from taking off from UK because this
        > flight was associated with a possible terrorist attack
        >3. They have a "name"
        >4. The name turns out to be that of a 5 year old child
        >5. Although they have discovered that this name is the
        > name of a 5 year old child, the flight is still grounded.
        >
        >Now if u or i were going to write a short "fiction" story we first define
        >the plot. U could say that 1 and 2 are the start of the plot, but if u look
        >at 3,4 and 5 they don't fit in. It appears as a story a 5 year old child
        >would write. It is illogical, childish nonsense. Now u and i are not
        >connected to this event and still it seems bizarre. Can u imagine how
        >someone who was supposed to be taking that flight must feel? I should
        >imagine they feel as though they are on the set of "Outer Limits".
        >
        >However, this is merely one example. I am experiencing this phenomena across
        >the board, not only as i study world events, but also in my own personal
        >life experience. People around me are exhibiting very strange behaviour. I
        >cannot put my finger on it. If i was to put this sensed awareness into a
        >creative (fictional) story, it would see the main character suddenly
        >confronted by a bizarre
        >reality, where he/she discovers that they are the only thinking, conscious
        >entity and all others in their reality are merely robots, which are
        >malfunctioning.
        >
        >It is rather like looking at a crystal ball which is beginning to crack,
        >eventually shatter into a billion pieces. I realize this depiction could be
        >linked to mental illness. However, while events could easily find one
        >slipping into some form of neurosis, i feel quite stable lol. I attribute my
        >stability to the fact that 90% of the time i stand as observer, outside of
        >myself, merely watching on. The other 10% of the time i am overwhelmed by
        >conflicting emotions, hence it is easier to stand outside ;))) However, from
        >the outside looking in on reality it seems most bizarre.
        >
        >As to my Love & Massive Hugs they are sincere, i am far removed from the
        >"norm" of society, however, i continually strive not only to express
        >unconditional love, but also to act with unconditional love.
        >
        >Love & Massive Hugs or alternatively Kind Regards,
        >Elaine
        >
        >p.s. With emails to my Professors i sign Kind Regards, but only until the
        >semester has ended and then i sign Love & Massive Hugs. Over the past 25
        >years, i have remained in contact with many of my Professors and some of
        >them now sign with Love ;)))))))))))))))))
        >
      • Elaine Phipps-Earl
        Dear (((((((((((((Henry))))))))))), One of my Professors, in the Christmas card he sent to me, wrote :- U are a true seeker . I am indeed the seeker and as
        Message 3 of 9 , Jan 4, 2004
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          Dear (((((((((((((Henry))))))))))),



          One of my Professors, in the Christmas card he sent to me, wrote :- "U are a true seeker". I am indeed the seeker and as the seeker, I sometimes struggle to bring it all together. This email will make evident such struggling, the grasping of differing threads and their entwining, in an attempt to define meaning or truth, if there is in fact any truth to be found, the eternal quest of the Philosopher ;))))). As such, before I begin, I apologise to those who may find my struggle irritating. Of course I could have written privately. However, I perceive the subject matter as well worthy of discussion and would hope that others will be inspired to contribute their own insight and understanding.



          U wrote :- in basic agreement with you, there are such problems as "fracturing" IN the world... & although it comes in differing ways for different situations, & their complex of interactions, these separations are pervasive. & as we are in the world (the universe, for that matter) we necessarily become infected with, one way or the other... and later in the email .....

          You're darn right, during the Vietnam war/Watergate period... when I lived in California, I used to read the headlines of newspapers on the news stands... & swear I could see these troubles in the eyes, behaviour of my fellow "citizens," right in the streets!!! i.e., a correspondence as certain events showed themselves in this way (a provocative manner of headline news). I saw this as an eruption of a massive social crisis/psychosis... that probably was there all the time, in more seemingly manageable form... for many (masked by politeness, self/imposed censorship, bureaucratic form, etc.)





          U say "I saw this as an eruption of a massive social crisis/psychosis... that probably was there all the time".



          My Dearest Ronnie (R.D. Laing) in his revolutionary theories of Mental Illness, in particular Schizophrenia, believed the greater majority exist, as Jung suggested, in a state of unconsciousness, blissfully unaware of the delusional drama in which each is merely an actor, this unconscious collusive delusion created in order to maintain ontological security.



          Ronnie perceived the Schizophrenic as the visionary, overtly aware of his/her "own" experience and motives, hypertrophy of self-consciousness conferring a greater sense of psychological mindedness.[1] Psychosis, rather than an apparition of senseless delusion, was the unconscious becoming conscious,[2] visions of the literal and figurative truth,[3] the overwhelmingly violence, hostility and alienation within the patient's own micro-social system.



          Both u and I are overtly aware of a massive social crisis/psychosis. As written in my previous email, I have become blatantly aware of this crisis/psychosis both within the micro and macro social system. My saving grace, as I suggested, appears to be my ability to stand outside of myself, as mere observer. As u say, and Ronnie would obviously agree, this mass social psychosis would appear to have been maintained throughout the entire history of mankind. However, as Taylor suggests, humanity is moving ever forward toward consciousness, becoming conscious of and as such, many are now confronted by the seeming absurdity of created reality. Our modern civilization is in crisis. Mental illness has now become the "norm", the greater majority now suffering from some form of neurosis or psychosis.



          I am presently half way through my Honours Degree and my study is focusing upon this very subject. I cannot be sure if this is my intention or the University's lol. In an Honours Degree u are given no course material, no distinct subject matter and the combination of units in the degree is the student's choice. I should imagine, given the diversity of choice, what becomes the student's thesis is rather like lotto. While there are a certain number of units/topics available, the combination gives endless possibilities. In first semester this year I will be studying "Foucault and Deleuze" and in second semester "Eastern Philosophies of Mental Illness" and upon completion I begin my thesis. I am the seeker and as Sartre, Jung and my Dearest Ronnie, I seek to free humanity from this delusional drama, in order for each and every human being to authentically embrace their own experience of being-in-the-world.



          I was most fortunate in having the opportunity to study the Philosophy of Time, which touched upon Physics and since have had an overwhelming urge to study Physics and Cosmology in more detail.



          U wrote :- I now turn toward the rather well known cite of Albert Einstein regarding the development of atomic fission... (& I paraphrase from memory): "When we fissioned the atom, we changed everything save our way of thinking." I believe he meant exactly that... changed EVERYTHING.



          Please could u explain the above in more detail ;)))))))))))))))))))))))) to enable me to comprehend your statement:- "the potencies for physical realization would be on a differing track than those charged (willingly or no) for the cares & considerations for those physical potencies realizations... (or elimination) which is us. & I am laying aside here, for the moment any analysis of relations of social stratifications... but do see the necessity to appropriately include this... to accurately understand any relations... between humans... (& nature as well).



          I don't know if u have ever experienced this phenomena, but with each study I find something, this something incomplete, which begs me to remember in order to build upon it at a later date. While the study of the Philosophy of Time was indeed most enlightening, the something, which seemed incomplete and begged for me to remember, was physics suggestion that all physical matter is of one, energy, and the only difference in manifestations of matter is the differing dance of neutrons and quarks. While at this moment I do not know the profound significance of this, I do know I must seek its significance.



          The tomatoes sound great ;)))) In consciousness, I can taste it, oops juice running down chin lol.



          Love & Massive Hugs

          Elaine





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

          [1] Burston D. -"The Crucible of Experience"; p.41.

          [2] Mullan B. -"Mad To Be Normal"; p.161.

          [3] Burston D. -"The Crucible of Experience"; p.65.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Henry W. Peters
          ... Dear Elaine, As you may already be aware, Being & Nothingness is most descriptive of relations between the natural/physical & human... as well as the
          Message 4 of 9 , Jan 5, 2004
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            At 8:56 AM +1000 01/05/04, Elaine Phipps-Earl wrote:
            >Please could u explain the above in more detail
            >;)))))))))))))))))))))))) to enable me to comprehend your
            >statement:- "the potencies for physical realization would be on a
            >differing track than those charged (willingly or no) for the cares &
            >considerations for those physical potencies realizations... (or
            >elimination) which is us. & I am laying aside here, for the moment
            >any analysis of relations of social stratifications... but do see
            >the necessity to appropriately include this... to accurately
            >understand any relations... between humans... (& nature as well).

            Dear Elaine,

            As you may already be aware, "Being & Nothingness" is most
            descriptive of relations between the natural/physical & human... as
            well as the attempts by humans toward each other, i.e.; "in-itself" /
            "for-itself..." This work, also facing courageously the largely
            prohibited understanding of the place/s of negativity in its'
            multifaceted forms... (usually, until then, thought of as evil...) &
            thereby offering some of the implications thereby lost & gained for
            human understanding/possibility. "Critique of Dialectical Reasoning"
            Sartres' final major work, begins further the more expansive journey
            toward the social understandings of the implications of aforesaid
            findings; "praxis," ("the activity of an individual or group in
            organizing conditions in the light of some end"), "practico-inerte,"
            ("matter in which past praxis is embodied"), etc..

            A wider or deeper discussion of "physics" is probably best, for the
            moment, for another forum... but as I think that raising the issue of
            physicality & intentionality... are reasonably germane &
            contemporaneous problems... for "existential" comprehensions...
            which, to take the ideas, findings, etc. of J. P. Sartre for anything
            more than academic exercises in mental stimulation... we should
            understand this thought (& others) though the lens of intentionality
            & current problem solving, I therefore proceed, as briefly as I can.

            I have always taken the cautionary statement previously given... by
            Albert Einstein re fissioning the atom as serious (& importantly,
            though not woven into an attempted "holistic" philosophy such as B.&
            N., an experiential insightful) warning regarding the DISJUNCTION of
            knowledge & the known... i.e., that the physical powers available
            to be unleashed... newly discovered had insufficient (or no)
            controls... because sufficient attentions/means/methodologies were
            not established as prerequisites for unleashing (or leveraging) these
            new found energy sources/means, & often disequilibria in the extreme,
            (& which likely were/are, manifestations of possible physical prowess
            at the tip of the iceberg, so to speak...). This is to say... we
            have had (possibly until recently) insufficient scientific / cultural
            / social awareness of the serious NEED for actual confidence in
            fielding appropriately such powers...

            An "enemy" missle gets fired from somewhere... as it flys... or is
            it a crow... or what? This really happens. From the "other side,"
            it is just a moveing blip on a radar screen...

            Around 1985 or 86 I attended an honors ceremony for the late great
            scientist/peace advocate... Linus Pauling in which he said something
            like: He had just visited the then president Ronald Reagan at the
            White House, to (try to) talk about his volatile rhetoric regarding
            the "evil empire"(i.e., the Soviet Union), the cavalier statements
            about preemptive use of nuclear weapons... star wars, etc.

            He further said something like Reagan would not look him in the
            eye... & that the course of discussion revealed the distinct
            possibility that this man (Reagan) did not really understand that
            nuclear weapons were anything more than "glorified bullets & bows &
            arrows."

            The fact of six billion human beings on planet Earth... & growing...
            also presents some ticklish problems that yet have no sure
            resolution... & given the fractious nature of historical/social
            developments & the institutionalized edifice of largely anti nature
            resolve... bodes not well... Especially since given recourse to
            resolve is "status quo;" i.e., to EXTERNALIZE all costs for
            resources ( that may be conned, pirated, captured, etc., for
            succeeding generations to "pay" never mind the impending global
            changes such as extreme temperature, chemical, etc. which these same
            generations will be facing fuller costs from as well... but that's
            another discussion (forum).

            So yes, it's all the same energy base... dancing... but then there
            is the polka... the waltz... tango... shotish... salsa... boogie...
            rock... rap... soul... the death wish doodle (not really a dance),
            etc., with many more & more local variations on all!

            Peace & Great Tasting Tomatoes,

            Henry

            p.s. What does "lol" mean?
          • Henry W. Peters
            ... I hope I may clearify this statement... read instead: (Reagan) seemed to think that nuclear weapons were merely glorified bullets & bows & arrows.
            Message 5 of 9 , Jan 5, 2004
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              >He further said something like Reagan would not look him in the
              >eye... & that the course of discussion revealed the distinct
              >possibility that this man (Reagan) did not really understand that
              >nuclear weapons were anything more than "glorified bullets & bows &
              >arrows."


              I hope I may clearify this statement... read instead: (Reagan)
              seemed to think that nuclear weapons were merely "glorified bullets &
              bows & arrows."

              Apologies for any confusions.

              Regards,
              Henry
            • Elaine Phipps-Earl
              Dear Henry, Please correct me if i am wrong. Are u meaning to say that while we have managed to discover physical laws of nature, manipulate and transmute the
              Message 6 of 9 , Jan 5, 2004
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                Dear Henry,

                Please correct me if i am wrong. Are u meaning to say that while we have
                managed to discover physical laws of nature, manipulate and transmute the
                physical to create our own manifestations of power, our own processes of
                logic are inferior to the power we have created?

                Love & Massive Hugs
                Elaine
              • Henry W. Peters
                ... Hi Elaine, First off, I would like to make mention that I think there are even significant scientific/technological success stories humans can claim... in
                Message 7 of 9 , Jan 7, 2004
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                  >Dear Henry,
                  >
                  >Please correct me if i am wrong. Are u meaning to say that while we have
                  >managed to discover physical laws of nature, manipulate and transmute the
                  >physical to create our own manifestations of power, our own processes of
                  >logic are inferior to the power we have created?
                  >
                  >Love & Massive Hugs
                  >Elaine

                  Hi Elaine,

                  First off, I would like to make mention that I think there are even
                  significant scientific/technological success stories humans can
                  claim... in part or in whole...

                  But as to your above interpretation: Close... but because I believe
                  that it would not really help us get to the heart of the matter,
                  i.e., possibly altering the situation... I think I would not
                  necessarily use the appellation "inferior," at least in broad or
                  sweeping generalizations... Along with the possibility of self
                  destruction resulting from such activity (science/technology run
                  amok), critiquing this dilemma, calls into question relationships;
                  like our ability to not be determined by a "pastness..." & the
                  like... I guess I see these "powers" as you say, as being not
                  sufficiently & appropriately understood... & our "own processes of
                  logic" would be deficient... in, say, attentiveness... vision...
                  spirit... humility...

                  One hesitates, in such an abbreviated context, to use the word
                  freedom... because of the largely unquestioned abuse this term has
                  been historically brought towards... (a kind of entrapment, I might
                  call this abuse) but non the less... think there is no escaping the
                  importance of... this concept... i.e. what makes it possible for
                  humans to distinguish ourselves from our surroundings????? Is this
                  not a rather basic "existential" question... of sorts?

                  It may be... that the same or similar thought/mind processes/powers
                  which can & have & do lead to the afore mentioned "fracturing" (or
                  getting off track, separations, alienation & so forth) when
                  transformed or made self aware thought/action developments may be
                  transformed, somehow, empowered to produce change... productive of
                  more than a science that is so called for science sake... & or just
                  monetary 'success,' & or merely subservient to the powers that be...
                  but the will to transform, & needed resource must then be mustered...
                  forth... somehow... understanding there are no guaranteed out
                  comes... in experiment... by definition.

                  In other words, relationships productive of relationship/s with
                  nature & others that may be more actively & experientially
                  considerate (ergo, engaged) with the processes of nature...
                  Producing relevant novelty (not the hee-hee kind, like say a whoopee
                  cushion, etc.). Knowing that we do not know... seems also important
                  to be able to appropriately recognize along with knowing that we
                  do... & also seems to me; to need a kind of confidence which comes
                  not from any exterior discovery anyone could make... (say;
                  humility... creativity).

                  & then, devise ways to work with these processes... & who is to say
                  that a part of the consideration/s couldn't be the mutually forward
                  thinking accommodation of the needs for everyone? & it may just be
                  that the "everyone" is an essential aspect for the possibility of
                  forwarding of "success" of any living human project... I realize
                  that there are alternatives... I say, we may as well check out the
                  ones that seem to be good choice for ones self & then be best for the
                  mostest... & go for it... if possible & or timely (but this is
                  another matter).

                  This seems to me... to call for a science which is integral to
                  imperatives of human need... attentive to natures ways... & around &
                  around (spider spiral like).

                  I received the below forwarded article on a environmental activist
                  discussion list in which I participate... it may illustrate
                  somewhat, further difficulties some of the condition which we find
                  our selves in... & the need for appropriate transcendence. Please
                  excuse me if some on this list feel/think it to be not on topic... I
                  mean it as a further illustration of the NEED for resolution of some
                  of the above & the problems highlighted in the below forwarded
                  article...

                  Best Regards,
                  Henry

                  p.s. what does "lol" mean?

                  ----------> forward------>>>

                  Star Tribune
                  Mpls., MN

                  Opinion

                  BARTON REPPERT: Politics in the lab
                  The Christian Science Monitor
                  http://24hour.startribune.com/24hour/opinions/story/1108538p-7734418c.html

                  Published January 6, 2004

                  GAITHERSBURG, Md. (CSM) - In theory, science is supposed to be cold,
                  analytical, dispassionate - and studiously apolitical. But in the real
                  world of competing demands for federal research dollars, savvy scientists
                  of all disciplines - from cognitive psychologists running rats through
                  mazes to nuclear physicists operating massive particle accelerators -
                  recognize that a certain amount of political meddling in their
                  research by
                  policymakers in the executive branch and Congress is to be expected.
                  However, there are limits - limits the Bush administration has frequently
                  disregarded by imposing stringent political controls on a broad
                  variety of
                  federal scientific programs and activities. This has raised acute concern
                  in the American scientific community that the administration's drive to
                  stamp its conservative values on science isn't just affecting policy
                  decisions, but undermining the integrity of the U.S. research
                  infrastructure itself.
                  Playing politics with science is nothing new in Washington, of course.
                  President Nixon shut down his White House science office
                  because he didn't
                  like the advice he was getting on arms control and the supersonic
                  transport. Nevertheless, several science-policy experts argue that no
                  presidency has been more calculating and ideological than the Bush
                  administration in setting political parameters for science. President
                  Bush's blunt rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, and his
                  decision restricting stem-cell research are only the most obvious and
                  widely publicized examples of what has become a broader pattern
                  across the
                  administration.
                  At the same time, the president's chief science adviser, atomic physicist
                  John Marburger, who is largely well-regarded in the scientific community,
                  reportedly has very little substantive access to Bush and his senior
                  aides, and his office has been moved out of the White House complex.
                  Some examples of the Bush administration's interference with science
                  include:

                  - The removal from a National Cancer Institute Web site of a scientific
                  analysis concluding that abortions do not increase a woman's risk of
                  breast cancer. That move, in November 2002, contradicted the
                  broad medical
                  consensus, and members of Congress protested the change. In response, the
                  NCI updated its Web site to include the conclusion of a panel of experts
                  that induced abortion is not associated with an increase in breast cancer
                  risk.

                  - Dropping a leading addiction expert from the University of New Mexico,
                  Dr. William Miller, from consideration for membership on the National
                  Advisory Council on Drug Abuse after an administration aide quizzed him
                  about whether he opposed abortion ("no") and had voted for Bush ("no").

                  - The elimination of the section on global warming in a comprehensive
                  Environmental Protection Agency report on the environment last June. EPA
                  officials decided to eliminate the section on climate change after an
                  earlier draft prompted the White House to demand major revisions.

                  The politicization of U.S. science has drawn close attention from leading
                  scientific journals. Bush administration interference with federal
                  scientific advisory committees as well as peer-review panels for research
                  grants is an "epidemic of politics," editorialized Science, the
                  influential weekly journal of the American Association for the
                  Advancement
                  of Science. "What is unusual about the current epidemic is not that the
                  Bush administration examines candidates for compatibility with its
                  'values.' It's how deep the practice cuts, in particular, the way it now
                  invades areas once immune to this kind of manipulation," wrote editor in
                  chief Donald Kennedy.
                  Prominent Democrats in Congress have expressed frustration over
                  the mixing
                  of politics with science.
                  "I think what they've done is unprecedented," says Rep. Henry Waxman (D)
                  of California, ranking minority member of the House Government Reform
                  Committee. "Even prominent Republicans who served under
                  Presidents Reagan,
                  Ford, and Nixon are alarmed.... Leading scientists both inside
                  and outside
                  the administration have said politics is getting into
                  previously protected
                  areas."
                  Mr. Waxman's committee issued a report in August concluding that the
                  administration's political interference with science has led to
                  "misleading statements by the president, inaccurate responses
                  to Congress,
                  altered Web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international
                  communications, and the gagging of scientists."
                  The report - which can be seen at
                  http://www.house.gov/reform/min/politicsandscience - alleges abuses in 21
                  areas ranging from abstinence-only sex education to breast cancer,
                  drinking water, food safety, global warming, prescription-drug
                  advertising, stem-cell research, and workplace safety.
                  White House press secretary Scott McClellan dismissed the report as
                  "riddled with distortions, inaccuracies and omissions." And, he said,
                  "This administration looks at the facts, and reviews the best available
                  science based on what's right for the American people. The only
                  one who is
                  playing politics about science is Congressman Waxman."
                  Several senior-science policy specialists say that while the
                  Waxman report
                  has a partisan tone, most of its major points are well taken. Neal Lane,
                  who served as director of the National Science Foundation and then as
                  presidential science adviser during the Clinton administration, observed:
                  "It's always the case in the White House ... that science is one of a
                  number of sets of issues that a president, a political
                  policymaker, has to
                  consider when they're making decisions. Sometimes the decision goes in a
                  way that the science would not suggest. But there's such a long list of
                  egregious actions taken by this administration that I think it
                  essentially
                  gives a false impression of what the science really is and strongly
                  suggests the administration simply doesn't care to find out."
                  Professor Lewis Branscomb, a science policy expert at Harvard and former
                  director of the National Bureau of Standards under Nixon, notes that on
                  the question of stacking federal scientific advisory committees, "I'm not
                  aware that (Nixon) ever hand-picked ideologues to serve on advisory
                  committees, or dismissed from advisory committees very well-qualified
                  people if he didn't like their views.... What's going on now is in many
                  ways more insidious. It happens behind the curtain. I don't think we've
                  had this kind of cynicism with respect to objective scientific advice
                  since I've been watching government, which is quite a long time."
                  Perhaps the corrosive issue of political interference with science won't
                  be crucial to Bush's re-election chances, but by undercutting the
                  integrity of the scientific community, it may be crucial to the long-term
                  quality of life not just in the U.S., but also in other countries around
                  the world.

                  Barton Reppert, a former Associated Press reporter and editor in
                  Washington, New York and Moscow, is a freelance science and technology
                  writer.

                  © Copyright 2004 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

                  NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is
                  distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in
                  receiving this information for research and educational purposes.



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