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'A Gag on Science'

August 04, 1988

Commendations are in order for The Times editorial taking to task Herrington for his statements about work at the Livermore lab. The idea, as Herrington said, that the public interest is served by keeping secret all discussion regarding misinformation to the public and the nation's highest policy-makers is exactly 180 degrees backwards. Science advancement and good national policy both depend upon correct and truthful technical facts. How can incorrect or misleading scientific information possibly lead to proper national policy?

Determination of the best national policy is difficult enough for our leaders without handicapping their efforts with forced reliance on false information. Herrington should know this. The fact that he still insists on believing Teller and Lowell Wood's version of X-ray laser experimental results in the face of Woodruff's allegations and their subsequent substantiation by in-house Livermore scientists indicates that he isn't really interested in technical truth. Scientific facts cannot really be made correct or incorrect by believing varying political philosophies or having varying political goals.

The Southern California Federation of Scientists is proud to have publicly released, over Woodruff's strenuous objections, information about the X-ray laser controversy, The Times being the initial newspaper to cover the story.

SHELDON C. PLOTKIN

Co-Chair, Southern California

Federation of Scientists

Los Angeles

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