Weird Anti-Science – Donna Bethell, SEPP, and Sandia National Laboratories

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Donna Bethell recently complained to the Washington Post about an article that mentioned human causation of global warming:

It also cited two well-known skeptics of this claim. Were those skeptics allowed to explain why they are skeptics? No, they were only allowed to say that climate change is a political issue. Well, duh.”

The “skeptics” in the article were Rush Limbaugh and Marc Morano.  Lawyer Bethell’s husband is political writer Thomas Bethell, whose book, The Politically Incorrect Guide(TM) to Science (2005) promoted intelligent design and AIDS denialism, but scoffed at any dangers from global warming, radiation, dioxins, DDT, loss of biodiversity, etc.  It lauded Fred Singer and fictioneer Michael Crichton.  Donna rated it highly and urged people to buy it:

(5 stars)This guide shows you other people are lost, November 21, 2005 … Most of us are a little afraid of science. We never quite got it in high school and it could be pretty icky, too…But what if the experts are wrong? And how is the non-expert to know? Never fear, Tom Bethell is here to help us separate the wheat from the chaff. …

All this makes perfect sense, given that she told the Post that she “serves on the board of the Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP),” Fred Singer ‘s little thinktank.

The 32-page attachment gives the details, with instructive quotes, including Tom’s long arguments against relativity with senior physicists.  His book is a cornucopia of ideological non-science.  The 17-page global warming chapter alone offers 24 of the wrong arguments from Skeptical Science.  Page 4 shows the web of anti-science advocacy in which the Bethells are unsurprisingly enmeshed.

Why would anyone care? Anti-science is all too common around Washington, DC.

But imagine one found an astrologer in a position of influence over NASA or a tobacco executive over the National Institutes of Health.  Would that worry a taxpayer?

Somehow, Donna Bethell has been, for at least 7 years, a member of the Board of Sandia National Laboratories,  a major US national science/engineering resource. 

Who recommended her and kept her there?  Does she get paid for this?  If so, in Meatloaf’s words, “… I Want My Money Back.”  Put coffee down before reading the attached report PDF.

Image Credit: Sandra Cunningham / Shutterstock.

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