Bush vs. Kerry on science.

Via SciTechDaily, an interesting piece in Discover about Bush and Kerry’s positions on science and technology issues. It’s a thorough run-down, and it’s a good (and far too infrequently used) lens through which to view politics, and one that makes it a bit more personally relevant for me (a scientist — God bless me). Kerry, I think, certainly wins out overall in this lineup.


2 thoughts on “Bush vs. Kerry on science.

  1. Point taken. You are on to something.
    You might like to take apart Kerry’s actual legislative record on “science initiatives” to see where the money he has proposed or approved of appropriating would have gone (and where it would not have gone).
    There is a reason Kerry ranks a solid 100% among the several greengreeen evaluators, and it is not because of any real science initiatives of organized “pro-science” note, I note. (Tautological repetitions give me a chuckle in this context so you’ll have to forgive me.)
    Despite Bush’s principled actions re T-cell and related research (is it not a good idea to NOT attempt the cloning of real live people until as a society we have developed an agreed upon ethical standard that will drive the inevitable legal matters that would unfold upon their arrival “in the family”?), his administration has actually multipled the funds that have gone into that research.
    Have I missed something here? I ask because you actually open a venue for significant consideration that deserves airing — including, Who publishes Discover, and what are their interests? (Science?)
    The scientists out there might pause in their deliberations to use their special skills to take apart and compare a) the record of critical economic measurements re what drives the economy and what acts as a brake upon it, including unemployment — jobs gained versus jobs lost, as opposed to b) how those matters are “skipped” or framed for communication to the public in the press and media — including the recent reportage that tells the number of persons that have fallen below the poverty line but does not tell us what different criteria of measurement were used between this most recent periodic announcement and its predecessor.
    Science has the skills to draw these comparisons: let’s use them — and ask why those who pounce or drum upon Item X “in the news,” and who actually do have the information and skills to inform US about such differences, too rarely do so.
    Here’s a clue to be found in the example of Dan Rather. He is from Texas. He has been involved in past activities with the Travis County, TX, Democratic Committee — in particular, its chairman and a guy by the name of Bill Burkett — a story that eventually turned out to be failed news: there was no story where Rather jump-started a story to help the Travis Co. Dem. Comm. Years pass. Similar things go on. Suddenly, in the past three weeks, there has been a drumroll against a story Rather ran on the CBS Evening News. Rather essentially claims he has acted nobly in all things newsy and is only familiar with the folks involved because of their final contacts with CBS news via sound sources (turns out they are in the Dem. National Committee). What has yet to be admitted is that the two source figures are the same Travis Co. characters that Rather has run with before.
    [My source for this information is Investors Business Daily SPECIAL MONDAY EDITION, which may be accessible online, but I am not going to find it and use the code as a link in this Comment because then your blocking may not allow the code, if I understand how that is working among yo folks. “You can look it up,” as they say.]
    What does this have to do with what you were writing about other than that it reads like a partisan diatribe? It has to do with what we are able to scientifically understand about (e.g.) our candidates for office through the aid of press/media interpolators. That is, we can apply our own scientific measures to ensure that we are not being bamboozled by our sources because of their own interests, as appears (but thus far only appears) to be the case re the current Rather buzz; but we can only do so to the extent we ask essentail questions re the guiding lights of our sources, which include their social and monetary interests and persuasions that are only too often ignored.
    And here’s a final catch: what is the source of most of the major breakthroughs in “science for folks” — just ordinary people living their ordinary lives — over the past, say, 80 years? Has it been “the pursuit of science,” whether academic or corporate? Or has it been “military necessity?” HINT: duct tape. (Actually, I think this can not be so readily taken apart and answered, but I’ll side with the military for the moment: my reason is that “the pursuit of science” too often eludes the average citizen, which is — in my judgment — the reason folks neither like nor trust “eggheads” – we talk different and seem to be not in our heads but out of our minds. Not so military necessity: we can take their freeze dried and MRE rations almosts anywhere we might wish to go, glue gramma’s broken heirloom so that she can’t tell the difference, even drink Tang if anyone has that gruesome craving.)
    Thanks for pointing this matter out for serious consideration: I have overlooked it too long.

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