Oh, the irony
Some interesting wording in this piece on John H. Marburger III, President Bush's science adviser, which ran in yesterday's Times and obviously was written before the devastation of Katrina and the gargantuan government failures came to light. Daniel Smith paints a picture of Marburger as a centrist and a pragmatist:
"I asked what he thought about the notion, widely held in the scientific community, that he must be ethically conflicted.
''I don't feel conflicted,'' he said calmly. ''I don't feel that I'm someone who is, as I've been described, at the 'eye of a hurricane' or at the 'center of a storm.''' That image, he said, comes from the fact that ''we're very closely tied to the dynamics of politics in our time, but we're not very closely tied to what is actually happening in science.''
For Marburger, this is true even, or especially, when it comes to scientific developments that have generated the most controversy. Global warming, which many scientists see in Manichaean terms -- the evidence of increasing climate change versus the administration's unwillingness to take steps to combat the danger -- Marburger sees in terms of a larger back-and-forth between scientific advances and the willingness of the culture to alter itself accordingly."
Have we altered ourselves enough now, after last week? Are we going to? Because I'll tell you this: if we don't, the Earth is going to be happy to do it for us, one cataclysm at a time.