Cover Image


Undermining Science

Suppression and Distortion in the Bush Administration

Seth Shulman (Author)


This vitally important exposé shows how the Bush administration has systematically misled Americans on a wide range of scientific issues affecting public health, foreign policy, and the environment by ignoring, suppressing, manipulating, or even distorting scientific research. It is the first book to focus exclusively on how this explosive issue has played out during the Presidency of George W. Bush and the first to comprehensively document his administration’s abuses of science.

In 2001, a group of eminent American scientists affiliated with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) contacted Seth Shulman, an experienced investigative journalist, to look into charges of serious mishandling of scientific information in the current administration. Shulman’s investigation resulted in the groundbreaking report "Restoring Scientific Integrity in Policy Making," which served as the basis for a highly publicized UCS scientists' statement accusing the Bush administration of a misuse of science that was signed by dozens of Nobel laureates, National Medal of Science recipients, and members of the National Academy of Sciences. To date, more than 8,000 scientists across the country have signed the statement based upon Shulman’s reporting. This book, drawing upon scores of interviews and including never-released information, goes beyond the UCS report to document the Bush administration's suppression and distortion of science, bringing this issue to a wider audience.

Undermining Science covers:

* The Bush administration’s abuse and misuse of science in areas including stem cell research, AIDS prevention, environmental protection, the Iraq war, the teaching of evolution, and global warming;

* The administration’s use of political litmus tests in selecting administrators for science-based agencies and in selecting scientists on federal advisory committees;

* The dangerous consequences of the Bush administration's war on science for the caliber and integrity of the nation's scientific research.

Shulman explains that, by knowingly misrepresenting and suppressing the truth, the Bush administration broke its covenant with its constituents in the most fundamental way possible, with consequences that reach far beyond the scientific community.

1. Facts Matter
2. “Icing” the Data on Climate Change
3. Doctoring Evidence about Your Health
4. Abstaining from the Truth on Abstinence and AIDS
5. Clear Skies? Healthy Forests? Understanding Bush’s Real Environmental Policy
6. When Good Science Is the Endangered Species
7. Burying More Than Intelligence on Our Security
8. Stacking the Deck against Science
9. Stem Cells and Monkey Trials
10. Restoring Scientific Integrity

Seth Shulman is an award-winning journalist and author who has written for many magazines, including Nature, Smithsonian, the Atlantic, Discover, Rolling Stone, Parade, and Popular Science; and for newspapers including, the Times of London, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of books including The Threat at Home: Confronting the Toxic Legacy of the U.S. Military. For the 2004-2005 academic year, he was the first-ever Dibner Science Writer Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Exhaustively sourced and researched, Shulman’s book leaves no doubt that the integrity of government research is under attack. . . . A work of timely muckraking.””—Discover Magazine
“A concise, straightforward case history of the politicization of science.”—Nature
“Combining thorough research with lucid prose and a sense of mounting outrage, [Shulman] charges that the president's appointees and advisers are not only threatening the scientific enterprise but also American democracy itself. . . . Shulman's consolidation of these tales of manipulation, intimidation and deception makes for disquieting reading.”—Publishers Weekly
"We can only expect the best decisions from our leaders in government when they use the best factual information they can receive from science. Shulman outlines how the current administration has systematically blocked the input of scientists in favor of ideology and favors to special interest groups."—William H. Schlesinger, Dean, Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University

"In a free society, no separation of powers is more fundamentally important than that between the power of science in informing debate, and the power of politicians in implementing policy. Seth Shulman's remarkably well-documented litany of abuses should serve as a wake-up call not only to society, but also to political leaders, who cannot govern for long without independent scientific expertise grounded in unquestioned integrity."—Simon Levin, Center for BioComplexity, Princeton University

"In this disturbing and important book, Seth Shulman has uncovered the myriad ways George W. Bush and his anti-science administration have distorted—almost beyond recognition—the accomplishments that have elevated America to its position as one of the greatest scientific and technological nations in history. That status is now being undermined. But thanks to investigators like Shulman, the gig is up, just in time for us to do something about it."—Michael Shermer, Publisher Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist Scientific American, author of The Science of Good and Evil

"Seth Shulman's Undermining Science forcefully makes the case that in the Bush administration ideology trumps fact, political expediency trumps science. The extraordinary claims made by Shulman are persuasive because they are based on concrete and fully documented events. The blow-by-blow narrative is eminently readable, as well as enlightening, even fascinating."—Francisco J. Ayala, Professor of Biological Sciences, U.C. Irvine, 2002 recipient of the National Medal of Science

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more