Thursday, August 09, 2007

Room for squares

The Congress is moving ahead with a federal budget that would reverse the Bush administration's recent history of cutting funding for research in science and engineering. This money will ensure a place for many scientists and engineers in both the federal government and academia, and provide them with the resources they need to work.
The sciences should not be treated as extraneous trivia. They improve human health, investigate the causes and implications of climate change, and create new sources of energy, while extending those we already have. The application of science into various technologies forms the basis for much of our modern economy. Moreover, these disciplines are uniquely suited to exploring a sustainable way of life.
As the President threatens to veto any spending bill that exceeds his request, make your voice heard: Learn more and blog. Talk to friends and family. Contact your Representative and your Senators and let them know that you value this investment.


Sue said...

Perhaps it is different else where in the United States (although Fox News leads me to suspect not), but in Kentucky and in central Appalachia as a whole, I see a huge disconnect in the minds of the general population between the technology they love (folks here are just as addicted to their cell phones, iPods, SUV's and ATV's not to mention their addictions to pills) and the science they despise (because it challenges tightly held religious beliefs). Some of this disconnect comes from the inadequacies of science education from middle school through college, where sciences are frequently taught as a collection of "facts" rather than as a method of discovery and testing. The poverty of science education is not surprising, when we discover that so many of the people who teach science in the public schools have little background or understanding themselves. One survey a few years back found that the majority of science teachers in Kentucky did not believe in evolution. Blind leading the blind.

Pat Jenkins said...

as long as the focus is finding the truth erd. (my post a few days prior) instead of hunting up an agenda!!!!

E. R. Dunhill said...

I’m by no means qualified to make any such commentary on all Americans, but I do see the same pattern repeated in many people I know personally. I see in them, for instance, a belief that paleontology is fundamentally flawed, if not morally wrong, never mind that paleontology is used in finding the fuel for their cars.
I think quality education is central to meaningful understanding of the sciences (and many other disciplines) and to closing the loop in pursuit of a sustainable economy. Unfortunately, metrics seem to be taking the place of learning. It’s much harder to test students on their mastery of a system of inquiry than it is to ask them to find one right answer among three other wrong ones. Beyond this, as you’re no doubt aware, we seem to be collectively making the decision that if students can read and perform basic math, they must likewise understand geography, ecology, chemistry, sociology, psychology, oceanography, &c. The focus on metrics fosters a race-to-the-bottom.

E. R. Dunhill said...

Scientists need the resources to search for the truth. I think people would be relieved, if not overjoyed to hear some credible new study objectively conclude that there’s nothing wrong with the climate. I pose the question: If the Bush administration is certain that global warming is a myth, why not fund a definitive study that will support that conclusion? Why work against the science?
As for all of the other avenues of science that have been consistently cut (such as medicine and energy), it’s a mystery why this has happened. After all, Bush made statements in a number of speeches, including the 2007 State of the Union, in which he claimed that his energy policy would be based upon new science.
Finally, I’m curious as to why you’ve suggested that scientists in the US government are dishonest or at least suspect. I’m not an authority on science in the US, but do I follow a few professional journals in the natural and social sciences, and haven’t read of a recent rash of scientific dishonesty. If you’ve heard or read anything to suggest otherwise, please share it.


Pat Jenkins said...

erd i am not claiming any are unethical. i am concerned over ones motives for finding their truth. if scientist in purity are exploring new avenues for man's preserved existance i see no reason for not funding any exploration.

Nabeel said...

both bush and congress are useless. 70% of the congressmen don't even read a bill before passing it.