The other day, I brought up the topic of politics and science and their somewhat tenuous relationship with each other.
Seems like I am not the only one thinking about the political structure and in particular, how a president can influence good policy by using, nay relying on good science.
The New York Times blog, Dot Earth, reported today healthcare administration programs that 178 scientific, academic, and business-related organizations have sent letters to both Senators John McCain and Barack Obama urging them to not only appoint a science adviser as soon as they are inaugurated, but also to elevate that position to a Cabinet-level position.
I couldn’t agree more. George Bush has been a cautionary example of when a President uses his faith rather than science to write and implement policy. Without getting into a discussion regarding Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” to solve all of society’s ills, with the next President (cough, Obama, cough), we need more “science-based inititatives.”
Courtesy of The Onion
I am going to go one step further, and suggest that our next POTUS will also focus on science education. This nation is losing ground not only because our politicians deem science as suspicious, but also because we are not educating the next generation of scientists to help our future presidents and by extensions our nation, and by another extension, the world.
I took a national science policy course in 2003, and it was frightening how many ph.D’s in science are awarded to foreign students that do not stay in the US, but rather take that education back to their home country. Not that there is anything wrong with educating any and bulk candles all students that seek the training and knowledge, but it really underscored the fact that science is just not a priority in this nation.
We need not only a president that values science, but also a nation that values science. It is more of a cultural shift that is needed, and perhaps by elevating that next science adviser to a Cabinet-level position will be a step in the right direction.
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