I’ve got a new opinion column just out at Forbes.com on the reports that president-elect Obama may be considering America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure®, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Earlier this week I posted on the topic here and here (welcome Jonathan Adler/Volokh, Ron Coleman/Likelihood of Success readers).
More: Orac advises writing letters to the Obama transition team urging them to consider the harm to their credibility should a figure such as RFK Jr. get the nod. His comments section includes many good examples of such letters, and Kathleen Seidel, autism blogger extraordinaire, contributes one at her site as well. See also this perhaps unintentionally ironic dispatch by MSNBC’s Alan Boyle on Thursday listing as among president-elect Obama’s “top tasks” “taking the ideology out of scientific issues” and quoting Chris Mooney, author of “The Republican War on Science,” to the effect that “the war has ended, and science has won”. The Center for American Progress’s ScienceProgress site, to which Mooney contributes, doesn’t seem to have weighed in on the RFK Jr. matter.
And: tons of mostly helpful blog reactions. At ScienceBlogs, besides Orac, there are the influential P.Z. Myers/Pharyngula (“another irrational purveyor of woo and fluffy substanceless hysteria”), Chad Orzel, Uncertain Principles (“his highest-profile activity in recent years has been the promotion of nutbar conspiracy theories”), Mike the Mad Biologist (“every bit as ridiculous as creationism”), Around the Clock (“He is the typical paranoid, conspiracy-theorist, hyperbolic quack. A kind of person shunned, ignored and marginalized by the Democratic Party for decades now for two good reasons: such people’s judgment cannot be trusted, and such people give the party a bad name”), James Hrynyshyn (“More worrisome is the fact that Obama on at least one campaign occasion, pandered to the anti-vaccine crowd by describing the science on the subject as “inconclusive” despite loads of studies that show no link”, PalMD, ERV, Science Woman, Effect Measure, SunClipse, and Mark Hoofnagle. Plus: Skepchick, DarkSyde @ DailyKos, Rondi Adamson (“gives me the creeps…The guy’s a complete wingnut”), Wendy Williams, Steven Novella, Neurologica (“This would be an unmitigated disaster for science in government … Putting a known antiscientific crank in this position is inexcusable”), The Amateur Scientist (“an absolutely terrible idea … the guy’s bad news”), Brandon Keim, WiredScience (“America doesn’t need more political officials who skew science to fit personal beliefs.”), Thinking Outside, Science Avenger, Colossus of Rhodey, Politico. Liz Ditz has a great roundup of critical opinions.