How government destroyed science…

How government destroyed science in Columbia River dam decision making. Remarks by James Buchal at the first annual Northwest Water Law Symposium, Lewis & Clark Law School, January 31, 2009 (edited)

Before I begin discussing the use of science in Columbia River decision making, I think it is important to have a definition of what science is, and I am going to choose a definition that will make it clear that science is not really used at all any more.

What is science? Since this is a law school, I will cite the Supreme Court’s Daubert case, which determined how federal courts should decide whether to accept scientific expert testimony. In that case, the Court actually managed at one point to stumble right on it: “‘Scientific methodology today is based on generating hypotheses and testing them to see if they can be falsified; indeed, this methodology is what distinguishes science from other fields of human inquiry….”

If the Scribd document reader doesn’t work on your computer, you can download a PDF copy of the presentation.

James Buchal graduated from Harvard College in 1981 with a degree in physics, and from Yale Law School and Yale School of Management in 1985. He lives on a farm halfway between Portland and Salem, Oregon. You can read his book “The Great Salmon Hoax” online or order a copy on

As an organization, we take no position on the content of the book, but we do find the author’s presentation well referenced and worthy of consideration.


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