Talk:National Academy of Sciences

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More on CNN misrepresentation of NAS report[edit]

Richard S. Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT, was one of eleven members of the National Academy Sciences panel on climate change. As a result of what he considered misrepresentation by the media of the resulting report by that NAS panel, Dr. Lindzen published an analysis/opinion piece that appeared in a number of publications, including the June 11, 2001 The Wall Street Journal. Sad to say, his critical remarks were nowhere noted in the scientific press (at least in the 50 or so journals to which we subscribe, including Nature and Science), which continued to report on the NAS panel as if there were a consensus and that that consensus was in support of the Kyoto Treaty. Dr. Lindzen says otherwise.

According to Dr. Lindzen, CNN's Michelle Mitchell was "typical of the coverage when she declared that the [NAS] report represented a 'unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room.'" Lindzen's response: "As one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, I can state that this is simply untrue." For example, he notes that far too much public attention has been paid to the "hastily" prepared summary than to the body of the report. "Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled. We are quite confident (1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than it was a century ago; )2) that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds). But -- and I cannot stress this enough -- we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future. That is to say, contrary to media impressions, agreement with the three basic statements tells us almost nothing relevant to policy discussions."

Dr. Lindzen noted that the NAS panel was asked to evaluate the work of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, focusing on the Summary for Policymakers, the only part ever read or quoted. He concludes that "Within the confines of professional courtesy, the NAS panel essentially concluded that the IPCC's Summary for Policymakers does not provide suitable guidance for the U.S. government." He feels that "Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. This is what has been done with both the reports of the IPCC and the NAS." [1]—Preceding unsigned comment added by Capitalister (talkcontribs)

Your link is broken, and the "" domain is not in use. You might want to replace that with a functional link so people can get a look at what kind of scientists Durk and Sandy are.
As it stands, your appendix (diff) is insufficiently specific and worded as a vague negation of that which preceeds it.
  1. The suggestion that Global Warming skeptics comprise "a large part of the scientific community" is misleading.
  2. The sentence is made grammatically confusing by that phrase. I doubt "The statement [referring to the Joint Declaration On Global Warming] stresses that the scientific understanding of climate change is [...] still disputed by a large part of the scientific community", which is how that sentence now parses.
Also, please sign your Talk Page contributions. Typing four tildes (~~~~) will do this for you automatically. edgarde 14:12, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Civil War[edit]

What exactly is the relation between the foundation of the USNAS and the Civil War? How come the latter created a need for the earlier? //Halibutt 08:56, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

This doesn't quite address your question, but here's some info: 1863 Act of Incorporation and if you're really interested, you can poke around the online version of the 1978 book: The National Academy of Sciences: The First Hundred Years, 1863-1963, or find it in a library. Michael Jon Jensen 20:23, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Highlighting a Negative POV[edit]

Two sentences are highlighted with either italics or bold. This sentence is in italics: "hurriedly wrote the bill incorporating the Academy, including in it the name of fifty incorporators". This sentence is in bold: "Without examining it or debating its provisions, both the Senate and House approved it, and President Lincoln signed it." What is the reason to highlight these sentences? Which Wiki policy describes the selection of sentences for highlight? All in all, the Overview section seems to be a citationless, negative critique masquerading as an overview. evo 19:15, 2 April 2007 (UTC)


This section was recently removed. The references contain language such as "didn’t really look objectively at all the evidence", which supports the claims made in the article. Kborer 14:35, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

This section was removed again. The reference is a well-known, professional researcher writing within his or her field of expertise, which implies that it is valid. Kborer 17:56, 8 April 2007 (UTC)
This section was removed again. This time the reason seemed to be "because the source agrees with his own opinion". If you could make your concerns more clear, that would be helpful. Kborer 13:20, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
Gun control? Fluoride? These do not qualify as NPOV or even verifiable sources. They are merely simple, poorly written web pages that support a very POV commentary about the NAS. Orangemarlin 21:20, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
The sources are unverifiable and self-published, and do not represent legitimate criticism. WP:V#SELF Quadpus 21:25, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I fat-fingered the return key before writing my edit summary on my last revert. There isn't anything of substance in this section which can be redeemed by finding a better citation. You don't make facts up and then try to come up with citations afterward. Quadpus 00:12, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The first is an op-ed article published in the New York Post, and now hosted on the author's website. The author is one of the most well known academic experts on gun control, criticizing NAS on its work regarding gun control. This is a legitimate source to support the claim in the criticisms section. The second is an opinion published in a peer reviewed journal by a group of experts who are criticizing NAS on its work related to their field of expertise. This is a legitimate source to support the claim in the criticisms section. The information regarding the original publications is present in both references. If anything, the criticisms section should be expanded to discuss both of these criticisms in more detail so that people understand why NAS is being criticized, not deleted repeatedly. If anyone thinks that I have not adequately responded to your complaints about the section, please elaborate on what you think is wrong with the sources. Kborer 00:49, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
The broad-brush claim of "criticism" is hardly supported by a 2004 tabloid article by the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" and correspondence from the 1970s which an anti-fluoride group has put on its website. If that's the sort of level of criticism, the NAS is doing remarkably well with only grumbles from a non-notable tiny minority. .. dave souza, talk 18:13, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
The first thing that you are implying is that the claim made in the section is severe. However, it only says one simple thing: that NAS has been criticized. It makes no claim that the critics are correct, nor does it use any flowery language like "grumbles" to create a POV. Of course, if you are unsatisfied with with how it is written, you could suggest a better way to write it. The second thing you are implying is that the sources are bad, but as I explained above, they are valid. Kborer 18:40, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Saying 'X has been criticized' when the criticism itself isn't notable is hardly encyclopedic Quadpus 18:44, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree. If anyone thinks that the criticism is not notable please explain why. Kborer 21:07, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
It seems to me that the burden is on you to show that it is notable Quadpus 22:11, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
NAS is an organization of scientific advisers to the government dedicated to serving the public good. It is a significant criticism when their colleagues in the scientific community point out instances where NAS has been used to promote political agendas rather than following their founding principles. Kborer 13:38, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Their colleagues in the scientific community have done no such thing, as far as I can see. You are putting forth your personal opinion here. Quadpus 19:36, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Lott and many of the authors in the second reference are university professors, so it is not my personal opinion, it is a factual statement. I said colleagues in the scientific community to emphasis that their academic appointments are in the same fields as the materials being used as references. Kborer 19:53, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

While we are discussing sources of criticism, I'd like to see if anyone has an opinion on this one: Kborer 01:29, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

It's a blog, and probably not acceptable.
I'm noticing the External links section has links of similar quality. These should really come out too. / edgarde 23:07, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, here are my issues with the section. First, neutral point of view requires verifiable sources. A blog and a single New York Post article hardly qualify as verifiable. Also, there are certain red flags that are showing up with this section that are troubling not only to me, but to many editors who keep reverting it. Here's what are the Wiki recommendations for politically charged edits:

Certain red flags should prompt editors to examine the sources for a given claim.

  • Surprising or apparently important claims that are not widely known.
  • Surprising or apparently important reports of recent events not covered by reputable news media.
  • Reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended.
  • Claims not supported or claims that are contradicted by the prevailing view in the relevant academic community. Be particularly careful when proponents say there is a conspiracy to silence them.

Exceptional claims should be supported by multiple credible and verifiable sources, especially with regard to historical events, politically-charged issues, and biographies of living people.

For guidance related to the creation of entire articles about said topics, see Wikipedia:Fringe theories.

The National Academy of Sciences is one of the most prestigious and non-political organizations in the United States. However, I am not so blind to believe even an organization such as this one is not without some level of criticism. But if you're going to put criticisms in this article, as an editor, I would demand that it be verified by a number of sources, it is well written, and adheres to an NPOV. Just because they criticize the gun lobby is not a criticism. If they did it without proper documentation or are overstepping their mandate, that is a valid and neutral point. Orangemarlin 19:11, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Your first point is that the sources are inadequate. The first source is the opinion of a well known expert regarding his area of expertise, so even if it was only a self published source it would have been good enough. The fact that it was published elsewhere is merely reassuring. The second was published in a peer reviewed journal, which on its own would have been good enough. The fact that is from non-well known experts regarding their area of expertise is merely reassuring. By contrast, the third potential reference that I mentioned earlier on this talk page is a well known expert in his area, but the source is only self published. Your second point is that certain red flags have shown up, but in neither reference are there 1) surprising or important claims, 2) otherwise unknown recent events, 3) any mis-characterizations, 4) unsupported claims, 5) nor exceptional claims of any kind. These are reputable persons communicating their concern at the conduct of the organization, not sensationalists. You demand that there be multiple sources for the criticism and there are. You demand that the one sentence that comprised the section be well written and NPOV and it was. Your last point is that they were unjustly criticized, but that is irrelevant. Kborer 21:52, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Just to be clear, a tabloid newspaper article reproduced on the personal website of a lobbyist and the website of a lobby group are not reliable sources, and a couple of old non-notable criticisms by those advancing political agendas should not be given undue weight in this article about a national body. .. dave souza, talk 13:03, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

About all this deserves is actually nothing according to undue weight. I'm not even sure why we are discussing this fringe theory. Both articles are written by conspiracy nuts who are neither notable nor very good writers. Again, if there is a substantial, well written, meaningful and verifiable criticism that numbers more than one person, let's hear it. But the NAS is one of those institutions that works hard to be neutral and scientific. Orangemarlin 16:46, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
I have not had a chance to check the above concerns yet, but here is another source. Kborer 21:10, 26 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, the actual source is a review in the NYTimes. But it' does discuss the general tendency of the publisher, and I think it could go it--but without much discussion of the specific subject of the report, which would distort the article. If we had an article on the report, details could go there. This cannot possibly be a place to repeat a full discussion of every controversial subject the NAS has published a book on. DGG 05:13, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

appropriate place for controversy[edit]

It seems reasonable to me that only controversy about the general operations or overall policy of the USNAS would go in this article--e.g. a charge that it has frequently been too deferential to administration views, or, conversely, that it has not been responsive enough to Administration concerns. But controversy over one particular issue, or one particular report, should go in the article on the issue, or on the article for the report if there is a specific article for it. Dealing with the NAS role in the global warming controversy belongs with the articles on the global warming controversy. Discussion of the role of its reports in gun control belong with that topic--and similarly for other topics. As I see it, otherwise would be undue weight in this very general article. DGG 06:59, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

Move to National Academy of Sciences?[edit]

In 2005, an editor moved this article from National Academy of Sciences to United States National Academy of Sciences (see [2]) in order to "Make title less US-centric." This seems ill-advised to me--similar to moving Royal Academy to United Kingdom Royal Academy. The title is now neither the common or the official name. The largest number of articles still link to National Academy of Sciences rather than directly here, with more being redirected from National Academy of Science, National Academies of Science, National Academies of Sciences, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, National academy of science, and National Academy of Sciences, USA. Is there any opposition to moving it back? If other nations have organizations named Foo National Academy of Sciences, we can deal with it through the normal disambiguation processes.--Hjal 10:43, 17 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed--the title of the organization in National Academy of Sciences. If it became necessary to qualify it, it would be with a (United States) at then end--at one time the British abbreviation of the Journal was in fact proceedings of the national Academy of sciences (U.S.)--the first rule of qualification and abbreviation ,etc, is not to change the first letter of the name. But since this is rather far reaching move for a long-established name,, please follow the full procedure at WP:RM listing it on the page there -- Its really rather pointless since almost nobody looks at WP:RM to check, but do it so nobody can complain. Moving it back may have some technical problems in terms of pre-existing pages, but i can deal with that part. There will however be many redirects to change, and some help will be appreciated there. DGG (talk) 07:33, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 16:15, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

  • Reassessed as C class. --M@rēino 21:13, 20 September 2010 (UTC)

Kansas Denied Use of National Science Education Standards[edit]

Consider adding this information: nationalacademies

-- (talk) 13:18, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Pro bono? Where's the money?[edit]

The introduction to this states that the members serve "pro bono". However, the report on the problems with the FDA [was described as costing $1.8 million dollars. The 2009 Omnibus Act said that "the Secretary of Energy shall provide funding to the National Academy of Sciences to conduct an inventory of the energy development potential on all lands currently managed by the Department of Energy" [3]. I don't think the NRC committees really serve pro bono. Where did this pro bono stuff come from? II | (t - c) 02:08, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

The committee members serve pro bono, but they require staff and resources. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:42, 16 November 2010 (UTC)

I believe airfare and a basic per-diem for living expenses might also be provided--but the scientists are not paid beyond that.Pengortm (talk) 04:33, 1 March 2013 (UTC)


"Edward C. Pickering (1846-1919) was the youngest scientist elected." his lifetime (1846-1919) is not significant information. how old was he and what year was it? (talk) 20:38, 29 July 2009 (UTC)

Useful in the future[edit]

this image was in the article and now seems not to work. it may be useful for someone in the future working on this article:

[[File:nas 1921.jpg|thumb|350px|President Harding and the National Academy of Sciences at the White House, Washington, DC, April 1921]]

Isn't needed since different domain?[edit]

Isn't needed since different domain? (talk) 05:55, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

Please explain request. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:14, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
After looking at the web sites, is the web site of the National Academies, one of which is the National Academy of Sciences. Others include the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:41, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I support the message from Arthur. is the URL for whole set of U.S. National Academies, while is the specific one for the National Academy of Sciences. -- SchreyP (messages) 11:00, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
User:Orangemarlin question? (talk) 06:29, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Related move request[edit]

See Talk:National Academy of Sciences#Requested move +mt 20:19, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Above link is no longer valid. Due to the move the discussion can now be found at Talk:National Academy of Sciences (disambiguation)#Requested move. -- SchreyP (messages) 21:03, 20 October 2011 (UTC)


It should be noted that in 1992 the NAS decided NOT to admit Carl Sagan as a member. Sagan published over 500 scientific papers in a 39-year career, and worked tirelessly to promote a scientific worldview, writing many books widely read by the public and which moved many youngsters. Whether the NAS decision (and the reasoning/politics of it) deserves a place in this article, the fact needs to stay afloat. Particularly as science, which has been so instrumental in US success, becomes less and less relevant in the decisions being made in the US ... while climate change faces us squarely in the face. Twang (talk) 09:33, 18 October 2011 (UTC)

Proposed rewrite of Summary section due to missing material on status and organization changes...[edit]

The NAS had an incredible role in the civil war as one reader asked about.. I was pleased to put this picture together for the article.. please review it and I propose to move it into the mani article shortly.. Thanks

The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress as a private, nonprofit, self-governing membership corporation for the furtherance of science and technology, required to advise the United States federal government upon request within the Academy's fields of competence. The Academy, ..."although a national organization chartered by Congress, is not a governmental agency and receives no direct federal appropriations for its work". The Academy retains full control over the selection and appointment of study committees members and operates under its own procedures and rules. The Academy assumes ..."full responsibility for assuring the objectivity of its studies and reports." [1]

Its very first act in 1864 was to consider the subject of decimalization as part of the “Uniformity of Weights, Measures, and Coins, considered in relation to domestic and international commerce”. [2] That first year, the academy received requests for services for six projects;two by application from the Treasury Department (One for the decimialzation project discussed above but also measures to prevent counterfeiting Union currency), one from the Ofiice of United States Weights and Measures, of the same Department, and three by application from the Navy Department, or, under its authority, from the Bureau of Navigation. [2]

The US Navy requested advice on protecting of the bottoms of iron vessels from corrosion by sea-water and the correction of the compasses of naval vessels, especially of iron vessels and of iron-clads.[2] The Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution placed the laboratory under his charge at the disposal of the Academy Committee. The Academy reported two important practical results in its first year of operations during the American Civil War: one, eliminating one of the two binnacles in the pilot-house of the iron naval vessels, each interfering with the other in its use; and second, the compass corrections on twenty-two iron or iron-clad vessels, or of wooden vessels in which the local attraction was found to be inconvenient, from the presence of engines and boilers, of iron rigging, and other iron works.[2] The Academy performed this research on US Navy vessels in the course of construction, especially the three-turreted iron-clads, the USS Roanoke, and of the monitor USS Passaic (1862).

Under its corporate charter, the Academy established the National Research Council in 1916, the National Academy of Engineering in 1964, and the [[Institute of Medicine]] in 1970.[3] Prior to 1970, the Academy's work was in response Federal agencies requests rather than the United States Congress. Although Congressional requests are addressed to some of the more significant public policy issues related to science and technology sometimes the Academy contracting directly with the congressional committees for studies. The United States Congress passes legislation that directs cabinet officers or agency heads of the US Federal Government to enter into contractual or grant arrangements with the Academy. Studies undertaken for the government by the constituent units of the Academy usually are funded out of appropriations made available to federal agencies. [2]


Risk Engineer (talk) 22:13, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ A Chronicle of Public Laws Calling for Action by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, [and] National Research Council. National Academies. 1985. NAP:11820.  Preface of the book, Accessed at Google Books
  2. ^ a b c d e National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) (1865). Annual of the National Academy of Sciences for 1863/64-1866. Welch, Bigelow,. p. 49.  Accessed at Google Books Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "(U.S.)1865" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "(U.S.)1865" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "(U.S.)1865" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page). Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "(U.S.)1865" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ A Chronicle of Public Laws Calling for Action by the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, [and] National Research Council. National Academies. 1985. NAP:11820.  Accessed at Google Books
  4. ^ National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) (1913). A History of the First Half-century of the National Academy of Sciences, 1863-1913. Arno Press. pp. 3–.  Accessed at Google Books