Thursday, March 18, 2004

Earth's sixth major extinction, courtesy of arrogant hairless apes

Don't look now Dubya, but this global climate change mumbo jumbo is legit. According to a British study published in this week's Science:
"A detailed survey of birds and butterflies in Britain shows a population decline of 54 percent to 71 percent, a finding that suggests the world may be undergoing another major extinction.
Researchers said the study helps support the theory that the sixth big extinction in Earth's history is under way, and this one is caused by humans.
In a series of population surveys that combed virtually every square yard of England, Scotland and Wales over 40 years, more than 20,000 volunteers counted each bird, butterfly and native plant they could find. An analysis of the findings appears this week in the journal Science.
The results showed that populations of the surveyed species are in sharp decline throughout England, Wales and Scotland, with some species gone altogether."
This isn't doomsday stuff, there's no Armageddon here.
But sound, careful, well-accepted science would ever-so-politely like to tell us something: "We have likely underestimated the magnitude of the pending extinctions."
Isn't it nice, then, that we have a President who systematically ignores and manipulates scientific research to benefit his own agenda?
The Union of Concerned Scientists has called him on this:
"Across a broad range of issues, the administration has undermined the quality of the scientific advisory system and the morale of the government's outstanding scientific personnel," the report says.
"In case after case, scientific input to policymaking is being censored and distorted. This will have serious consequences for public health," notes a former NSF head.
And the White House response? A bland, blatant lie that the administration "makes decisions based on the best available science."
For once, I'd like to see Bush make a decision on the best available ANYTHING. It seems that the only computation he ever makes is how to further enrich his campaign donors.