logo 
spacer
  

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

If you have an opinion, you should share it! Register Now!

America's Debate hosts the best in news, government, and political debate. Register now to take part in the most civil and constructive debate on the Internet. Join the community, and get ready to be challenged!

Click here to start

> Sponsored Links

Register to remove these ads!

> Welcome to the America's Debate Archive!

Topics that have had no new replies in the last 180 days are moved to the archive.

New replies are not accepted once a topic is moved to the archive, and new topics cannot be started in the archive.

> The Struggle over Science, Does Bush lead or follow America?
Julian
post Aug 24 2005, 11:41 AM
Post #1


Group Icon

*********
Every day, when I wake up, I thank the Lord I'm Welsh

Group: Committee Members
Posts: 2,943
Member No.: 496
Joined: February-14-03

From: Swindon, UK
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: Other



Harold Evans on US Government investment in basic research

Harold Evans, for those of you who don't know, has replaced the late Alastair Cooke in writing the famous "A Letter From America" programme on BBC Radio. In this article, he examines the current administration's position on science, both in attitudes and funding, and draws comparisons with the Clinton terms and previous leaderships.

He contends that, since at least the Reagan administration, the emphasis on basic science in public & private policy, education, and investment, has been in slow relative decline compared to America's international competitors.

Is the Bush administration markedly more or less anti-science than its predecessors?
If so, or if not, why?

Whatever you think their position is, do you think the Bush administration is more or less extreme in its position on science & technology investment than the American people? Why?

What are the implications of the current science-based policies in the short, medium, and long term?


This post has been edited by Julian: Aug 24 2005, 11:42 AM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
 
Start new topic
Replies (1 - 9)
Amlord
post Aug 24 2005, 01:54 PM
Post #2


Group Icon

**********
The Roaring Lion

Sponsor

Group: Moderators
Posts: 5,884
Member No.: 572
Joined: March-4-03

From: Cleveland suburbs, OH
Gender: Male
Politics: Conservative
Party affiliation: Republican



Is the Bush administration markedly more or less anti-science than its predecessors? If so, or if not, why?

This type of subject always gives me a small chuckle.

Why isn't the administration spending more money on <fill in the blank>. Don't they care about <fill in the blank>?

If the Bush administration really hated science, wouldn't they have decreased the budget for it? You'd think an extra $733 million for R&D would be considered an increase. Not so, for those who have a story to write, apparently.

Congress Provides Flat or Declining Funding for Most R&D Programs,

QUOTE
The House of Representatives has drafted fiscal year (FY) 2006 budget bills that would provide a record $135.0 billion for the federal R&D portfolio next year, an increase of $2.4 billion or 1.8 percent over this year that would be $2.8 billion more than the request (see Table 1). Within the total, the federal research portfolio (basic and applied) would be $56.7 billion, a 1.4 percent or $780 million increase that would be $1.5 billion more than the request (see Table 2).


So the US government spends $135 billion dollars per year on R&D. That's more than the GDP of about 200 countries (world's GDP figures can be found here.). If the R&D budget of the US government were a country, it would rank 52nd in the world.

Oh wait, but we don't spend as much as other countries as a percentage of GDP!! This argument is the same as it is on other issues and the answer is similar: the US government would prefer that private companies and individuals do this type of thing. Remember that the US government only controls around 10% of the GDP, unlike most other nations where that figure is in excess of 50% (most European countries). There is a fundamental difference in philosophy of how our government works: it stimulates the private sector rather than supplanting it.

Historically, about 2/3s of all R&D in the US was done by private firms. If this holds true (the last data I could find was 1997), that would mean that an additional $270 billion in R&D is conducted in the US by companies, bringing the total to around $400 billion. That figure would put R&D in the US as the 26th largest GDP in the world.

The US's relative decline in R&D spending is more of a shift to globalization than anything different being done domestically. The US invests alot of money into other countries and this shows up in stats like this one.

Whatever you think their position is, do you think the Bush administration is more or less extreme in its position on science & technology investment than the American people? Why?

It is exactly the same as past administrations. The expenditures are the same relative to last year.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Erasmussimo
post Aug 24 2005, 03:27 PM
Post #3


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Validating
Posts: 886
Member No.: 4,853
Joined: April-12-05

Gender: Undisclosed
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



Is the Bush administration markedly more or less anti-science than its predecessors?
I believe that the Bush administration has demonstrated the greatest antipathy to science of any recent administration. Mr. Bush himself has dismissed the recommendations of government scientists on the grounds that they are mere "bureaucrats". His appointees have in several cases intruded into the scientific process, distorting its integrity in pursuit of political objectives. In the most extreme case, a Bush appointee rewrote a scientific report; when he was caught he resigned. But this was only the most extreme case.

Mr. Bush has taken the patently anti-science position of recommending that intelligent design be taught in schools. And of course he has acted to limit stem-cell research.

Amlord, some of your numbers don't add up. First, you refer to a $733 million increase in R&D funding, but the quote you provide refers to a "$780 million dollar increase that would be 1.5 billion more than the request." Subtracting the numbers yields the conclusion that the administration requested a $720 million decrease, a decrease that Congress rejected. Hence, the administration attempted to decrease the science budget, but Congress overruled the administration on that point.

Your numbers on research spending are also off. I am taking figures from my "Pocket World in Figures" 2004 Edition from The Economist, which is not readily available on the web, I am sorry to say. It presents "Total Expenditure on R&D", which I interpret to mean "government plus business". The USA comes in 6th place here at 2.8% of GDP, while Sweden takes first place with 3.6%.

Next, your numbers for government consumption of GDP seem off to me. You say it's 10%, but my book gives "Public Consumption of GDP" for the USA as 18%. Now, this presumably includes all forms of government: local, state, and federal, so it's conceivable that your number is on the mark. More off the mark is your claim that "that figure is in excess of 50% [for] (most European countries)" My book gives Sweden's figure at 27.3%, Germany's at 19.1%, France's at 23.3%. Perhaps you are thinking in terms of individual income tax rates, but remember that we must also consider VAT taxes, local and state taxes, and corporate taxation. The truest overall figure is "public consumption" -- the figure that the Economist handbook gives.

Lastly, we must not equate science spending with R&D spending. Science is R; engineering is D. Yes, there is a gray area between the two, but it's not difficult for an administration to shift spending away from R and towards D, which would certainly weaken science. The most useful criterion I have yet seen for differentiating R from D is the time horizon is the payback time: how soon do we expect this work to pay for itself in economic benefits? Less than 5 years, it's D; more than 5 years, it's R.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Amlord
post Aug 24 2005, 06:53 PM
Post #4


Group Icon

**********
The Roaring Lion

Sponsor

Group: Moderators
Posts: 5,884
Member No.: 572
Joined: March-4-03

From: Cleveland suburbs, OH
Gender: Male
Politics: Conservative
Party affiliation: Republican



I suppose Bush's opposition to human cloning also indicates an anti-science bias (rather than a pro-sanctity of life bias).

Bush is against embryonic stem cell research which destroys new embryos, but not adult stem cell research. He doesn't want to destroy life in the name of science. He has not cut off funds for embryonic stem cell research on existing lines. Here is his press release on the subject Remarks by the President on Stem Cell Research

You cannot take a few actions and extrapolate them into a pattern. Federal funding of R&D has gone from about $82 billion in 2000 to the current level of $135 billion. Not exactly a cut.

Check out these graphs. R&D funding as a percentage of GDP has increased under Bush where it had been declining since 1987.

Bush spends money on everything. He is like a kid in a candy store. He has stated that science is important for the future of America and is especially interested in the gains to be made in health related research (which has nearly doubled under Bush-- Trends in NIH funding discussion

Federal funding of R&D has skyrocketed since Bush took office. I cannot see how anyone would deny this or could use some selective data to try to assert the opposite.

Here is an article which, while criticizing some of Bush's policy decisions, also criticizes the scientific community for hiding behind some holy veil of "science". I am sure you can use the references to litmus tests to validate your conclusions about Bush, but if you look at how it criticizes the scientific community for being so insular and non-democratic. There is little accountability.

The real difference is when it comes to moral grounds. As the article says:

QUOTE
Some observers with no special sympathy for the Bush White House tend to agree with her. One of these is Daniel Sarewitz, co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. Writing in Newsday about the Food and Drug Administration’s decision last year to forbid sale of the Plan B contraceptive pill, ignoring its own technical expert panel’s advice, Sarowitz noted, “The real problem is the illusion that these controversies should be resolved scientifically, and by scientists.” The stem cell controversy, for example, is not a technical, but an ethical issue, and “scientists have no special status or expertise when it comes to ethical decisions.” 

If they want the U.S. to seriously address, for example, global warming, Sarewitz continued, Bush’s enemies have to stop “hid[ing] behind the sanctity of science.... The goals themselves can emerge only from a political process in which science should have no special privilege.” 


Scientists are objecting to oversight. They are objecting to applying a moral position to what scientific research is funded. They need to understand that federal funding has to include a political process, because the money is not theirs. It is the American people's and the citizenry has a right to influence where the money is spent. Scientists need to realize that.

Failure to realize this could take us down the road of Nazi scientists, where nothing was out-of-bounds.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ultimatejoe
post Aug 24 2005, 07:54 PM
Post #5


Group Icon

********
Studley Do-Right

Group: Moderators
Posts: 2,329
Member No.: 497
Joined: February-14-03

From: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Gender: Male
Politics: Independent
Party affiliation: Other



That's a lot of cards you just dealt Amlord. Let me deal with them one at a time:

Science isn't moral enough/rejects morality. This is tricky, and in the end unarguable. Morality is incredibly subjective, and the grey areas in which certain sciences operate are even moreso. You say it is immoral to destroy an embryo that's about to be destroyed, I say it's immoral to "wait and see" with an issue like Global Warming. Can either one of us be absolutely correct? Of course not. Scientists understand this; each and every scientist makes a moral judgement. Where these scientists take issue is with the imposition of external morality. I think we can all agree that lawyers should not be left with the moral decisions that inform patient care (even if it is increasingly the case), and that journalists cannot dictate the morality of politicians (even if is increasingly necessary); but you are suggesting that politicians should inform the morality of science. There is a reason for peer review, and that is to deal with the egregious violations of professional ethics. Beyond that, the laws of the land suffice. A guiding hand is not necessary or desireable.

Science has become 'out of control.' You suggest that science rejects oversight. This is a mischaracterization. Lets put it this way: does the Board of Directors at Microsoft directly oversee the research being done in their latest project? Of course not. (Yes, I realize the analogy is not perfect.) After issuing a broad directive management has no need to constantly be looking over some programmers shoulder asking "so what does that bit of code do?" Why? Because it is futile and counterproductive. Futile because this so called "oversight" does not posess the specialization of knowledge to develop an adequate understanding of the work being done, and offer constructive evaluations. The only way to achieve any sort of understanding is to simplify the work being done until the evaluations become unfair.

This dumbing down is exactly what you are advocating; for reasons that both disappoint and confuse me. Scientists reject political oversight because it doesn't work. You connect Nazi-error science to morality, well I connect it to what you are doing. Eugenics was born precisely out of a muddying of science with politics. Lay-people looked for answers to questions of heredity and biology, and were able to reduce the early understandings of these areas into truisms that gave rise to the Eugenics movements that swept both Europe and North America. Do you know what the difference was between the Eugenics movements of Germany and North America (in the 1930's)? By the 1930's governments 'over here' were loosening their control of scientific research and professional organizations were exercising stronger internal controls, while in Germany the OPPOSITE was happening. Government was increasing its own oversight.

QUOTE
It is the American people's and the citizenry has a right to influence where the money is spent. Scientists need to realize that.


I'm sorry, this is not true. Once it is collected it is the U.S. government's money. You are a taxpayer, you've paid a tax. Deal with it. Canadian companies are currently paying massive illegal duties on lumber exports to the United States; is that money still theirs? No. Will they (or you) be renumerated? Possibly, but until that happens the money is no more yours than you're the boss of the Secret Service agents guarding President Bush. Should their be some oversight and input from the 'money' as far as science is concerned? Certainly, but science by popular vote makes about as much sense as designing a military helicopter by enpanneling a focus group at the mall.

Now I know I've been kind of jerk-ish here, so I should clarify. We can't blame Bush solely for the decline of science, the fact is that it has been happening steadily since the 70's; but right now we're at a nexus of corporatism and political waifishness which cripples the ability of science to be conducted without the crippling interference I've described; from Government, the public, corporations, rival groups, etc.

This post has been edited by Ultimatejoe: Aug 24 2005, 08:15 PM
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Erasmussimo
post Aug 24 2005, 08:25 PM
Post #6


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Validating
Posts: 886
Member No.: 4,853
Joined: April-12-05

Gender: Undisclosed
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



Amlord, thanks for the links on scientific funding; they are quite convincing that, overall, scientific research has increased dramatically since 2000. I am a little skeptical about the definition of "scientific research" in this case, because the Bush administration has been so facile at rephrasing things to mean their opposite (such as the environmental law that dismantled all sorts of previous environmental laws and was given a green title.). Nevertheless, in the absence of such evidence, I'll take your point.

I will disagree with you to some degree on the interplay of politics and scientific research. I think it's perfectly proper for a government to set policy priorities on research. For example, our government could devote billions of dollars to develop a death ray satellite, or it could devote billions of dollars to develop a cure for cancer. The decision is a policy decision, not a scientific one, and so it should be made by the government, not scientists. However, the government must never intrude into the actual scientific process, and it should respect the scientific judgment of scientists. For example, if the government sets up an agency to study environmental issues, then that agency should study all environmental issues of consequence, including such issues as global warming, and when the scientists come to a conclusion and write it up in a report, the government should take the report as scientifically definitive. The Bush administration has not acted in this fashion.

Another example is the teaching of science. The insertion of any political considerations into the teaching of science is wrong. The government should keep its cotton-pickin' hands off'n the teaching of science.

As to stem cell research, the use of alternate stem cell lines is necessary to the furtherance of this field of research. Nevertheless, I admit that, if the government wishes to refuse to fund research using other stem cell lines, it is within its rights, even though it's really stupid to do so.

Finally, the matter of oversight. As ultimatejoe has already pointed out, this is futile. The only people who can understand what's happening in a scientific project are the scientists themselves. There should certainly be oversight, but it should be carried out by senior scientists who are operating under the broad policy instructions of the government.

I was once involved in a government research project, and I ran into the Air Force general who had obtained funding for the project. I had been told that he had earned a doctorate in that scientific field. So I asked him, how can you take a desk job at the Pentagon overseeing how money is spent when you could be a working scientist? (Most scientists are happiest when they're doing science.) He paused and smiled wanly. Yes, he did miss doing real science; he missed it terribly. But as a working scientist he had seen too much money going to the wrong projects, and so he decided that his best contribution to science would be to insure that the right projects got the money. It was a sacrifice somebody had to make, because otherwise the nitwits would be doling out the money to all the wrong people. So he was willing to make the sacrifice. He hoped that perhaps someday he could turn the job over to somebody else and return to doing real science.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Amlord
post Aug 25 2005, 12:02 AM
Post #7


Group Icon

**********
The Roaring Lion

Sponsor

Group: Moderators
Posts: 5,884
Member No.: 572
Joined: March-4-03

From: Cleveland suburbs, OH
Gender: Male
Politics: Conservative
Party affiliation: Republican



QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Aug 24 2005, 03:54 PM)
That's a lot of cards you just dealt Amlord. Let me deal with them one at a time:

Science isn't moral enough/rejects morality.

Science has become 'out of control.'


Perhaps you have misunderstood what I was trying to say.

I did not say that science isn't moral enough or that it rejects morality. What I am saying is that an objective scientist is not an expert on morality. Indeed, his morals may differ from those of the American public. An objective scientist may set aside morality in the interest of science.

Therefore, any value judgement made by a scientist is, in fact, unscientific and therefore should not be given any additional weight than that of a politician (for example). Thus, in the area of stem cell research where there is certainly knowledge to be gained, the knowledge may not be achievable within the bounds of morality set by those funding the research (the American public). Since the scientist is not directly accountable to the public (whereas the politician is), the politician is in a better position to determine whether something is moral or not.

Additionally, I did not say that science is becoming "out of control". What I did say it that they were resistant to oversight. Their decision making process is not recorded, it is more akin to a voice vote on a piece of legislation. The majority rules, but there is no accountability.

Scientists are not in the position to determine whether or not what they are doing is moral. I wonder if the United States announced a new death ray satellite project if there would be objections to US funding of how to create a "death ray" in the first place. "It's science! Undiscovered knowledge!". Remember that Einstein was instrumental in starting up the Manhattan Project and only later objected to the use of atomic weapons. When he was part of the project, he was too close to the science of nuclear reactions to realize what he was really doing. He is quoted as saying "I made one great mistake in my life - when I signed that letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made, but there was some justification - the danger that the Germans would make them". It can sure be argued that the knowledge gained from the Manhattan project has greatly boosted science--atomic physics, nuclear energy, rocketry. "Is it worth it?" is not a debate for scientists, however.

QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Aug 24 2005, 03:54 PM)
This dumbing down is exactly what you are advocating; for reasons that both disappoint and confuse me. Scientists reject political oversight because it doesn't work. You connect Nazi-error science to morality, well I connect it to what you are doing. Eugenics was born precisely out of a muddying of science with politics. Lay-people looked for answers to questions of heredity and biology, and were able to reduce the early understandings of these areas into truisms that gave rise to the Eugenics movements that swept both Europe and North America. Do you know what the difference was between the Eugenics movements of Germany and North America (in the 1930's)? By the 1930's governments 'over here' were loosening their control of scientific research and professional organizations were exercising stronger internal controls, while in Germany the OPPOSITE was happening. Government was increasing its own oversight.


So are you advocating dispensing money to anyone with a project, even if it does not coincide with the goals of the American people? Or it is dangerous? Knowledge for its own sake is well and good, but we have a finite kettle of money to use and it is politicians who set priorities because they are accountable to the American public. Giving money without oversight or expectation of results is foolhardy at best.

QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Aug 24 2005, 03:54 PM)
QUOTE
It is the American people's and the citizenry has a right to influence where the money is spent. Scientists need to realize that.


I'm sorry, this is not true. Once it is collected it is the U.S. government's money. You are a taxpayer, you've paid a tax. Deal with it. Canadian companies are currently paying massive illegal duties on lumber exports to the United States; is that money still theirs? No. Will they (or you) be renumerated? Possibly, but until that happens the money is no more yours than you're the boss of the Secret Service agents guarding President Bush. Should their be some oversight and input from the 'money' as far as science is concerned? Certainly, but science by popular vote makes about as much sense as designing a military helicopter by enpanneling a focus group at the mall.


I never advocated what you are suggesting. What I am saying is that it is up to politicians to decide where to spend the taxpayers' money. I didn't say we should hire Chris Rock to design the next hydrogen powered car. I said it is up to politicians to decide if that's what we want to spend our money on. I never implied that individual taxpayers should have oversight, but that the government which controls the purse strings retain oversight and make funding decisions.

QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Aug 24 2005, 03:54 PM)
Now I know I've been kind of jerk-ish here, so I should clarify. We can't blame Bush solely for the decline of science, the fact is that it has been happening steadily since the 70's; but right now we're at a nexus of corporatism and political  waifishness which cripples the ability of science to be conducted without the crippling interference I've described; from Government, the public, corporations, rival groups, etc.
*



If science has been declining over the past 30 years, I must live in a different world. Show me one scientific discipline that has gone WITHOUT major breakthroughs in that time period. Chemistry, physics, astronomy, quantum mechanics, biology, ecology, nanotechnology, information technology, avionics, aeronautics: which one has been in decline?

I have demonstrated that funding for R&D has rebounded under Bush. Maybe not in certain, very select fields such as...well, I have no examples. Even embryonic stem cell research is funded by this administration at higher levels than ever. Heck, it can be argued that Bush's mention of Intelligent Design has strengthened the field of evolutionary biology by forcing its proponents to make succinct, convincing arguments about it.

The Bush administration has done what every other administration has done: decide where to spend the money. In this case, Bush has spent more money than was spent before he came to office. Perhaps his priorities are different than some people may want, but hey, there's always 2008. That's politics.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Erasmussimo
post Aug 25 2005, 12:41 AM
Post #8


*******
Five Hundred Club

Group: Validating
Posts: 886
Member No.: 4,853
Joined: April-12-05

Gender: Undisclosed
Politics: Undisclosed
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



Amlord, once again I shall nip at the edges of your comments even while accepting the broad thrust of your arguments. My first quibble is with your suggestion that scientific decision-making should be more transparent. For whom, and why? When a panel of scientists decide to fund immunilogical research project A and not immunilogical research project B, why is there any merit in their publishing their reasons for doing so? I can see no reason why the public would want to evaluate the basis for their judgment that research project A is more likely to yield valuable results than research project B. If there were reasons to believe that the process might be biased by self-interest or personal gain, then I would argue for more transparency -- but I see no basis for such suspicions. Moreover, I can see a good reason why secrecy is in the best interests of all concerned. If it is published that Joe Scientist felt that Fred Scientist's research was a crock unworthy of funding, then Fred Scientist is going to resent Joe Scientist, possibly harming their future relationship. Fred Scientist might retaliate the next time he sits on a funding committee. This kind of personal feud is not in anybody's interests.

QUOTE(Amlord @ Aug 24 2005, 05:02 PM)
Heck, it can be argued that Bush's mention of Intelligent Design has strengthened the field of evolutionary biology by forcing its proponents to make succinct, convincing arguments about it.

I realize that you probably did not mean this in all seriousness, but surely you can see how easily this concept can be abused. If a little adversity strengthens a field, then does a lot of adversity strengthen it more? Maybe shooting a few scientists will cause them to REALLY beef up their arguments? I think we can dismiss this kind of reasoning. Bush's mention of ID was wrong; he certainly didn't mean it as a way of just giving the scientists a friendly little challenge.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Janabrute
post Aug 25 2005, 01:54 AM
Post #9


***
Junior Contributor

Group: Members
Posts: 32
Member No.: 5,341
Joined: August-4-05

From: Centerport, PA, USA
Gender: Female
Politics: Conservative
Party affiliation: Undisclosed



Is the Bush administration markedly more or less anti-science than its predecessors?
If so, or if not, why?

If Bush is considered more anti-science than his predecessors its not because of his political views. Science has a place, just like taxes, foreign diplomacy, and the budget. The old saying, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" makes my point. It wasn't until cloning and stem cell research caused such friction between the scientific and basically pro-life groups, that Bush had to get involved.


Whatever you think their position is, do you think the Bush administration is more or less extreme in its position on science & technology investment than the American people? Why?

Its amazing how funding will change depending on the American people's interest in an area. The space program did quite well with funding in the late 1960's and 1970's because of the American people's interest. It was the next frontier and simply matched the American people's psyche at the time. Space exploration has continued but with less enthusiasm than in the past. Science and Technology will march on despite funding problems. Its the nature of the animal.


What are the implications of the current science-based policies in the short, medium, and long term?
As I stated science has its place. If a strain of flu takes hold as in 1918, funding will be placed into that arena. Depending on the outcome of new research, funding will be placed at the areas of greatest need. Funding for terminal disease like cancer will always remain.

As they say, "I don't think this is rocket science". A scientist, professor or Mensa member will never be voted in as President. So science needs to sometimes fight for its "day in the sun".
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AuthorMusician
post Aug 25 2005, 09:21 AM
Post #10


**********
Glasses and journalism work for me.

Sponsor
November 2003

Group: Sponsors
Posts: 6,393
Member No.: 297
Joined: December-1-02

From: Blueberry Hill
Gender: Male
Politics: Liberal
Party affiliation: Democrat



Is the Bush administration markedly more or less anti-science than its predecessors?
If so, or if not, why?


This has been my impression. I don't remember other administrations coming out with statements against scientific research based on religious principles. The two examples that come to mind are human cloning and stem cell research. Another one that might have crossed administration lines is global warming.

Whatever you think their position is, do you think the Bush administration is more or less extreme in its position on science & technology investment than the American people? Why?

That's a tough one. I don't have any evidence on what the American people think about scientific research. I suspect the average American doesn't think about it much, unless personally involved. For example, Nancy Reagan and stem cell research.

What are the implications of the current science-based policies in the short, medium, and long term?

The anti-cloning and anti-stem cell research stances are forcing scientists to find ways of accomplishing the same goals without offending religious principles. A very good example of this is the morning-after birth control pill. A more recent example is the attempt to make stem cells from skin cells. In regards to global warming, political resistance to this really doesn't mean anything. As more of the scientific community and global political community accept that this is happening, the opposition loses its grounds for resistance.

Then there's the opposition to scientific research that contradicts the finer lines in political debate, such as when does a fetus feel pain. This came out recently, and I don't think the administration has had the time or energy to take a position on it. Bigger issues take up the attention these days.

As pointed out, you can't say that the administration doesn't sign the budgets that fund scientific research. That's true, some research is acceptable, some is not. When against certain research, the public statements get made from the bully pulpit, thus supporting laws to ban such research. I don't remember other administrations doing this, but then other administrations didn't have the advanced medical research to condemn as being counter to certain religious principles.

I think there's a sociological principle at work here: Whenever science messes with the fundamentals of life, the fundamental religious types will mess with science.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

Reply to this topicStart new topic
2 User(s) are reading this topic (2 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

  
Go to the top of the page - Simple Version Time is now: December 4th, 2021 - 08:36 AM
©2002-2010 America's Debate, Inc.  All rights reserved.