May 05, 2013

Republican introduces bill to require political approval of scientific papers

Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas really does not understand science. Not scientific method, not scientific theories or laws, none of it. Which is why he submitted a bill draft titled the “High Quality Research Act” which would in effect add a politician into scientific studies.
The bill says that any research done using federal funds (which is the majority of research done in the United States) must have its results and finding approved by the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives. If the findings are not agreed to, the research is taken from the researchers and disposed of by Congress as it sees fit.

Congressman Smith has already landed himself in scientific hot water over his April 25th Letter to the National Science Foundation where he demanded that the NSF conduct an investigaton into five research programs which contradict policies his donors want passed. This is what was expected when the noted anti-science Texan was appointed to the Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
In response to Congressman Smith’s letter to the NSF, fellow committee member, and fellow Texan, Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, had this to say according to the LA Times:
Politicians, even a distinguished chairman of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, cannot be ‘peers’ in any meaningful sense.
Peer in this case referring to the peer review methodology employed by scientists to ensure that their papers are concise, clear, and accurate.
In response to the criticism, Congressman Smith issued his own statement in which he defended the bill by saying:
The draft bill maintains the current peer review process and improves on it by adding a layer of accountability. The intent of the draft legislation is to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on the highest-quality research possible.
One must ask, how does making peer review accountable to politicians an “improvement?” The scientific method has proven itself over centuries. This “improvement” is nothing but a way to attempt and strong arm scientists into pushing political agendas, typically those held by whomever donates the most money to a politician during the campaign.
Congressman Lamar Smith is a leading example as to the disconnect within the Republican Party and reality. His “improvement” would compromise scientific research, and dismantle what little America has left for integrity. Despite how many other industries have fallen apart across the United States, we as a nation remain the gold standard of scientific research. It appears Lamar Smith will not rest until that too joins our other areas of once excellence, and we surrender to our national collapse.


  1. We already have that. Try to publish a paper showing the advantage of dietary carbohydrate restriction or that, beyond its role as carbohydrate, fructose is just another food. Or that only a small part of the population is sensitive to high salt. Of course, the politburo won't fund those studies so Lamar can just go back to target shooting or whatever it is he does.

  2. We are just plopping right back into the DARK AGES, where WITCHES(terrorists)are dunked, where Galileo is threatened with burning, where knowledge is not just scorned, it is attacked(like in the ghetto/"You acting WHITE!")

  3. In 1928, in the USSR there was a man named Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, a favorite of Stalin, and ultimately, a con-artist. He was as popular then in the USSR as Al Gore is in the US today.

    Lysenko's prize theory, which suited Stalin's political needs at the time, was that plants and animals could inherit traits acquired from the environment in a single generation. That is, if you used cooling to trick Winter wheat seeds to germinate and grow in the Spring ( a technique already used in the US at the time) the seeds from the chilled plants would go on germinating in the Spring in perpetuity.

    There was very little science in Lysenko's science, but this "revolution" suited Stalin's desire to outdo the accomplishments in genetics which had occurred under Lenin. Honor upon honor was heaped on Lysenko (just as is done with Al Gore today) and real scientists who questioned his theories were shunned, vilified, and removed from their positions (not unlike the experiences of those modern "heretics" who question the basic beliefs of the global warming cult). The state media of the USSR proclaimed the virtues of the Lysenko method beyond all doubt and question, just as the state media of the USA proclaims the "Science is settled" regarding AGW. But Lysenko had no more real science training than Al Gore, and his theory that the environment could permanently alter the genetic structure of crops in a single generation was completely wrong.

    However, for political reasons, the USSR mandated that all farmers had to use the Lysenko method (just as the present government intends to force us all to use the "Al Gore Cap and Credit" method) and the result was widespread famine when, during the following spring, the second generation wheat refused to germinate.

    This illustrates the problems which can result when the government thinks it understands science, or that science can be subordinated to political agenda.

  4. Sadly, this idiot is my congresslizard.

  5. The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries already own Congress (both sides), the executive branch of government and a large swath of the judiciary... this Soviet-era law would only make it official...

  6. This congress man of yours ... he's a looter.

  7. A redundancy that will only serve to reinforce the left/right paradigm. Now when a scientific discovery is shot down it's not the establishment's fault, it's the "republicans".

  8. Is it possible the Dems purposely let him onto the committee so that the GOP would be shown to be fringe extremists?

  9. This article misdescribes the bill (available as PDF here: The bill does not even suggest that any research "must have its results and finding approved" by any politicians.
    What it would do is impose silly new requirements for projects before they are able to receive federal science funding. That is bad enough, without jumping at non-existent shadows about politicians vetting research papers for publication.