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Group Fights Politicizing Science and Engineering 653

smooth wombat writes, "Several prominent scientists said yesterday that they had formed an organization dedicated to electing politicians 'who respect evidence and understand the importance of using scientific and engineering advice in making public policy.' The group will be a 527 organization and will focus its efforts on races in which science plays a part." From the article: "In what it described as a Bill of Rights for scientists and engineers, the group said that researchers who receive federal funds should be free to discuss their work publicly, and that appointments to federal scientific advisory committees should be based on scientific qualifications, not political beliefs. It said the government should not support science education programs that 'include concepts that are derived from ideology,' an apparent reference to creationism and its ideological cousin, intelligent design."
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Group Fights Politicizing Science and Engineering

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:17PM (#16232379) Journal
    It said the government should not support science education programs that 'include concepts that are derived from ideology,' an apparent reference to creationism and its ideological cousin, intelligent design.
    The sad fact of the current political state of the United States is simply that politicians are relying on voters to vote based on emotion, not logic.

    This group is asking politicians to make decisions based on logic and scientific evidence when the voters aren't even using these processes. I remember the 2004 election and I remember plotzing when I heard someone was voting for Bush. Often times, I got a canned response of something crazy like, "John Kerry is for abortion. Bush is against it. If my mother had had me aborted, I wouldn't be here and that's why I'm voting for Bush." Now, whether any of that is true or not can be debated forever, that's not the point of this post. The point is that someone or something had gotten to them the message that if Kerry was president, all fetuses would be aborted. They didn't pay attention to any other issues except that one and they made a very emotional decision based on it.

    What's even more exasperating about this situation is that Kerry wouldn't have had the power to change the abortion laws and Bush hasn't done a damn thing about them either. This makes the "my body my right" crowd just as idiotic. Abortion is always a steaming political debate right around an election and then subsides to nothing during the term because the trimester laws aren't budging.

    The logical step is to not even base your vote on the abortion stance. Of course, none of the voters are logical.

    What's the first aim of SEFORA? To push one candidate based on a single issue -- stem cells.

    The group's organizers include John H. Gibbons and Neal Lane, who were science advisers in the Clinton administration, the Nobel laureates Peter Agre and Alfred Gilman, and Susan F. Wood, who resigned from the Food and Drug Administration last year to protest the agency's delay in approving over-the-counter sales of the so-called Plan B emergency contraception.
    Just admit it, Democrats are less founded in conservative Christian belief and therefore are more prone to rely on science for decisions/explanations. This 527 will most likely end up supporting the Democratic candidate 9 times out of 10 simply because of the "party stances" the Republican will most certainly take. The million dollar question is, "Would they support a third party candidate running on the Science platform before the bi-partisan idiots?" And the answer is 'probably not.' Which is really too bad because sometimes the third party candidate has good ideas and stances -- just lacks major funds to get the word out.

    I see this group as doing an overall good thing but I'm not a big fan of their methods. What ever happened to just trying to educate the voters? At the end of the day, the people voting are not scientifically founded. If they were, I wouldn't have to put up with commercials for The War at Home on TV. The politicians are supposed to represent the people and, since most people aren't experts using science and engineering, they shouldn't make decisions based on this.
    • Rove (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:24PM (#16232537) Homepage Journal

      The sad fact of the current political state of the United States is simply that politicians are relying on voters to vote based on emotion, not logic.

      Which, when you think about it, is a brilliant way to manipulate people into getting them to vote against their own best interests. Rove understood this and whatever you say about the man, if he fools you once and fools you twice and keeps on fooling you, it's not his fault. I refer to some of those issues as Sucker Bait and you can certainly see how quickly people polarize on them. The trick is figuring which issues are going to get you the numbers you need and then you can go and do whatever you want. Which they have. Perhaps it will be a good thing when low-lying parts of the US capitol are among the first to flood if sea levels do rise 40 or more feet.

      • While I agree with you about "Sucker Bait" don't forget that a lot of Republicans are unhappy with the current Administration for one reason or another.

        The solution hasn't exclusively been to polarize them on the issues, but to say "if you vote for the other guy, wolves will attack you"

        http://www.archive.org/details/gwb_wolves [archive.org]
        "I'm George Bush and I approve this message"

        Really, wolves will attack.
      • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:07PM (#16234645) Homepage Journal
        ...and 18 years later he gets a vote.

        Rove understood this and whatever you say about the man, if he fools you once and fools you twice and keeps on fooling you, it's not his fault.

        I blame God. God made people dumb AND he forbid them from eating the fruit of knowledge. It's not the devil's fault, he's just as god made him.

        Theological notions aside, once you know about the depressing truths of human nature, it would be in everyone's best interest to shape their government in such a way that reason weighs more than emotions in the policy-making process.
        Like, with laws.

        It sure beats the back and forth.
    • by dan828 ( 753380 )
      Which is way this organization will end up seeming to be nothing more than an extension of a single party and be largely ignored.

      And while I do then to think the average voter doesn't think things through to any great extent, the failure of the Dover school board to get re-elected actually gives me hope that sometimes, when things reach a certain threshold, the voters will start paying attention and kick the bums out.
    • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:31PM (#16232655) Homepage
      "Just admit it, Democrats are less founded in conservative Christian belief and therefore are more prone to rely on science for decisions/explanations" I'm no republican, but I can't accept this. It's probably true that Christianity is not going to be the non-scientific thing that Democrats base their decisions on, but that doesn't mean they're any more scientific than the pubs. Consider -I see dems using class & race resentment to rile people up as often as the pubs use 'faith & morals' -Conservative fiscal policy -- generally speaking -- has some economic basis, while social-program expansion is generally based on sob stories. I don't think the idea that one party is more scientific in their approach is *at *all tenable.
      • by feepness ( 543479 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:48PM (#16232991) Homepage
        Conservative fiscal policy -- generally speaking -- has some economic basis, while social-program expansion is generally based on sob stories. I don't think the idea that one party is more scientific in their approach is *at *all tenable.

        Exactly. I don't vote for either party at it irks me when I hear Dems say "Keep your morals off my body!" when referring to abortion or drugs and then demand universal healthcare or public smoking bans because it's the moral/humane thing for the government to do.

        Sorry, you have to choose whether it's ok to legislate morality. I'd prefer to avoid it myself, but unfortunately I guess that's just another set of morals, right?
        • by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @02:01PM (#16234539) Homepage
          Exactly. I don't vote for either party at it irks me when I hear Dems say "Keep your morals off my body!" when referring to abortion or drugs and then demand universal healthcare or public smoking bans because it's the moral/humane thing for the government to do.

          Sorry, you have to choose whether it's ok to legislate morality. I'd prefer to avoid it myself, but unfortunately I guess that's just another set of morals, right?

          Right on! The Republicans tend to be comprised by people who view themselves as the moral elite. They want to control how we think. On the other hand, the Democrats tend to be comprised of people who view themselves as the intellectual elite. They want to control how we think.

          Notice anything in common? What the hell happened to freedom, or was that lost as a result of litigation and/or legislature taking advangate of a popular fear of terra?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jotok ( 728554 )
          Sorry, you have to choose whether it's ok to legislate morality. I'd prefer to avoid it myself, but unfortunately I guess that's just another set of morals, right?

          I think that technically the Congress can do little else besides legislate morality. Every law that they put into effect is theoretically a approximation of some kind of objective and universal moral law. If not, then there's nothing to complain about except when "your side" doesn't get to make the laws. If so, then we can debate the laws and w
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by newhoggy ( 672061 )
          Keep your morals off my body, keep your smoke out of my lungs. That sounds totally consistent with me.
      • by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:56PM (#16233169)
        Consider -I see dems using class & race resentment to rile people up as often as the pubs use 'faith & morals' -Conservative fiscal policy -- generally speaking -- has some economic basis, while social-program expansion is generally based on sob stories. I don't think the idea that one party is more scientific in their approach is *at *all tenable.

        I see neither as being relevant to the discussion ("class & race resentment" versus "faith and morals"), please explain why either one is "scientific" or "nonscientific" at all. The economic basis of current conservative fiscal policy seems to be looting of the public sector by a privileged set of private interests.

        Conservative fiscal policy -- generally speaking -- has some economic basis, while social-program expansion is generally based on sob stories.

        The "sob stories" I hear nowadays are on behalf of large telecommunications companies who have to maintain their "tubes", and dead billionaires whose inheritors have to pay their taxes. Nobody is even talking about social program expansion anymore. With habeus corpus about to be legislated out of existence we have more pressing issues to worry about.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 )
          "I see neither as being relevant to the discussion ("class & race resentment" versus "faith and morals"), please explain why either one is "scientific" or "nonscientific" at all."

          When a compassionate conservative serves up the latest flagburning/gay marriage amendment in the midst of a sermon about our national religious heritage, she is relying on warm fuzzy emotions to win people over, rather than an analysis of the rights of the involved parties.

          When a compassionate liberal accuses Bush & FEMA of
      • The academic left (who typically vote for, or are, Democrats) have their own problems, where the reigning philosphy still appears to be postmodernism.

        Postmodernism (depending on the flavour) has a distinctly relativistic and anti-scientific bent. Some postmodernist sincerely posit that there is no such thing as objective truth, that all knowldege is "situated", and that science is no more valid than any other belief structure.

        For many postmodernists, science is claimed to be just another tool of oppres

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by logicnazi ( 169418 )
          Well that sure as hell isn't the attitude of academic scientists.

          This tends to be the attitude of a few very outspoken people in some humanities. It is actually a very very small minority.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sedyn ( 880034 )
      "Often times, I got a canned response of something crazy like, "John Kerry is for abortion. Bush is against it. If my mother had had me aborted, I wouldn't be here and that's why I'm voting for Bush."

      That is the best arguement yet in favour of Kerry.
    • by nojomofo ( 123944 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:38PM (#16232781) Homepage

      What's even more exasperating about this situation is that Kerry wouldn't have had the power to change the abortion laws and Bush hasn't done a damn thing about them either.

      I agree that voting based on a single issue is generally silly. But I don't think that you're thinking about this statement in the right way. You're thinking in a very short-term manner. Long-term, Bush has done quite a bit about abortion laws, by putting conservative people on the Supreme Court. That's where the battle ground is on that issue, and it's not a battle to be won overnight. The Republicans definitely understand that.

      • by pluther ( 647209 )
        And, don't forget that just about his very first act in office was to cut foreign aid to any health clinics that wouldn't agreee not to provide, or even discuss, abortion, with their patients.

        He hasn't done much about it in the U.S. because he doesn't have that power. Not personally, but if you look at the whole political machine of which he is the figurehead, they've done quite a bit with cutting government funding, passign anti-abortion laws, and shutting down clinics on a regional basis.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Not just abortion, preventing condom distribution, too. This policy [sptimes.com] is killing people.
    • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:40PM (#16232835) Journal
      The sad fact of the current political state of the United States is simply that politicians are relying on voters to vote based on emotion, not logic.
      I think you're close, but not quite there. The political machines in the US are convincing voters to vote based on wedge issues -- often issues that will not be resolved whomever is elected (as you point out with abortion), or with issues of minor significance.

      Just admit it, Democrats are less founded in conservative Christian belief and therefore are more prone to rely on science for decisions/explanations.
      You're confusing the issues here, and generalizing far too much. Republicans are not founded in conservative Christian belief -- it just so happened that the fundamentalist Christian bloc has been able to dominate the politics of the Republican Party. Also, conservative Christian != fundamentalist Christian (which is why I used the different term). Fundies want to change the law to reflect their beliefs -- by definition, conservatives are more interested in preserving the status quo. There is some overlap, of course.

      The politicians are supposed to represent the people and, since most people aren't experts using science and engineering, they shouldn't make decisions based on this.
      The US is not a direct democracy -- it was not intended to be one, and our elective system represents that. We, the people, are responsible for electing those we trust to lead us, to make good decisions on our behalf, and to represent our interests -- which is not the same as reflecting our will on specific issues. Never will 100% of the population be educated enough on any single issue that the government should do exactly as a majority of the people want. I vote for the person who I think will make the best-reasoned, best-educated decisions based on shared values. Of course, I have limited choice, but that's a rant for a different thread.

      At any rate, I find this new 527 to be right up my alley, and I'll have to take a look at them when I decide what PACs my money is going to next year.
    • I remember the 2004 election and I remember plotzing when I heard someone was voting for Bush.
      Sir, you have given me my Word for the Day. Bravo!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The sad fact of the current political state of the United States is simply that politicians are relying on voters to vote based on emotion, not logic.

      What do you mean 'current'? Emotion has been a very critical part of election campaigns since Ancient Athens.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by feepness ( 543479 )
      At the end of the day, the people voting are not scientifically founded. If they were, I wouldn't have to put up with commercials for The War at Home on TV

      And at the end of the day, if you were more technically founded you wouldn't have to put up with commercials at all... ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DerekLyons ( 302214 )
      Just admit it, Democrats are less founded in conservative Christian belief and therefore are more prone to rely on science for decisions/explanations.

      Hardly. Many on the Democratic side of the aisle are firmly founded in liberal and/or greenie belief - two beliefs hardly more conducive to science than Christian beliefs. (That is, if you want to base your ideas mostly on biases and stereotypes.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Many on the Democratic side of the aisle are firmly founded in liberal and/or greenie belief - two beliefs hardly more conducive to science than Christian beliefs. (That is, if you want to base your ideas mostly on biases and stereotypes.)

        ...or if you want to base your ideas mostly on the intellectual basis of the Enlightenment, from which liberalism is nominally derived.

        As far as Christian beliefs are concerned, there is no need to resort to "biases and stereotypes" when history will do just fine.
    • by kabocox ( 199019 )
      What ever happened to just trying to educate the voters? At the end of the day, the people voting are not scientifically founded.

      What planet did you come from where the voters had ever actually voted logically? I don't think that we've ever made any attempt for educated voters in our entire history. We've always used the emotional voter to get politicans into office. The only thing that came slightly to educating voters was Ross Perot's attempt to educate the voters on the national budget. I'd be happy if o
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) * on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:18PM (#16232405) Homepage Journal

    In this day and age, if I'm running for office, which am I going to do:

    • Say and Do the right things for the integrity of office and country?
    OR
    • Say and Do the right things to get elected/re-elected and bring home the bacon?

    I think it's fair to say, we can see how we got where we are. Fixing it by electing good, intelligent and wise candidates means finding them and grooming them so the voter, who cares more about Paris Hilton getting a DUI, keeping gays from marrying, teaching Creationism/Intelligent Design vs. Evolution than whether there's about to be a rise in sea levels, mass extinction and famine is a truly gargantuan undertaking. First they have to get the average clod on the street to understand how clean science will impact their lives. Considering the head start stupidity has and the powerful allies of ignorance, it's daunting.

    • I think proportional voting systems would do a lot to help this. For awhile at least, the two parties will be sending in candidates of the second type you describe. Partisan voters will fall in line, as usual. But almost everyone's *second choice is going to be a person from a minor party, rather than the other major party candidate.
      • I think proportional voting systems would do a lot to help this. For awhile at least, the two parties will be sending in candidates of the second type you describe. Partisan voters will fall in line, as usual. But almost everyone's *second choice is going to be a person from a minor party, rather than the other major party candidate.

        Last time I checked, proportional voting had voters voting for a party and not an individual. I think most people would rather vote for an individual rather than a party. A
        • I'll preface my comments by saying that I'm Canadian, so I couldn't really care less about R vs. D horse-shite.

          However, the choice of political candidates has always seemed, to me at least, something that should be about political ideas and ideals. I've seen it happen where people (especially in Northern Ontario, where I'm originally from) would vote for the Conservative member (right wingers... leftists compared to US right wingers, but I digress) when all of their beliefs were espoused by the platforms o

    • While there are may topics more important than "Paris Hilton getting a DUI, keeping gays from marrying, teaching Creationism/Intelligent Design vs. Evolution", "rise in sea levels, mass extinction and famine" aren't exactly problems that 99% of US voters will ever face.

      Sea levels may rise, but it will take 100+ years for it to have a major impact. Mass extinction could happen, but making it a major topic for debate would be a waste of time. Famine doesn't seem to be a problem for US voters anytime soon eith
    • You might just was well try to hold back a tsunami with a shower curtain then fight against the tide of human stupidity. There's too many of them, and it's not just that they're ignorant, it's not just that they get angry when they're revealed to be ignorant, it's that they get angry when people suggest they can't go on being ignorant. e.g. an illiterate man who gets defensive and frustrated when he's forced to read, and can't. These people consider it a fundemental right to be happy, successful, and oblivi
  • by CokeBear ( 16811 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:19PM (#16232415) Journal
    The facts have a well known liberal bias. We can't have bias in science, therefore we should ignore the facts (and also disregard reality, since we know reality to have a liberal bias as well)
    • Stick to the truthiness [colbertnation.com], it is what really counts!

      (Yes I sometimes watch Colbert too, and btw WOZ is the guest tonite!)
  • Great... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by creimer ( 824291 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:22PM (#16232481) Homepage
    You got religious freaks on the right and you got frothy eggheads on the left. Blend the two together in a classroom and you got a civil war going on. Makes it hard to be a moderate who believes in both God and science.
    • Not really... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mrn121 ( 673604 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:30PM (#16232631) Homepage
      You got religious freaks on the right and you got frothy eggheads on the left. Blend the two together in a classroom and you got a civil war going on. Makes it hard to be a moderate who believes in both God and science.


      If it is so true that this country is so starkly divided between "religious freaks" and "frothy eggheads," then why is that you are a religious person who believes in science, I am a religious person who believes in science, the vast majority of my friends are religious people who believe in science (and even those who aren't religious don't have anything against those who are), and the vast majority of random people I have talked to all around the country are religious people who believe in science? Could it be *GASP* that the vocal minorities of frothy eggheads and religious freaks are actually not at all representative of mainstream Americans? Could media sensationalism (even right here on our beloved /.) have ANYTHING to do with the fact that the nutbags appear to be taking over the world?


      I am tired of this "line in the sand" BS that we all appear to have fallen into. The overwhelming majority of Americans are reasonable people who are nothing like the extremist nutjobs portrayed on TV, and our biggest downfall will be ignoring that fact.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by creimer ( 824291 )
        The sad reality is that moderates are now the new silent majority.
        • "The sad reality is that moderates are now the new silent majority."

          No shit. If there were some viable 3rd party candidate that could 'pander' to the moderates out there....he'd clean up!!!

          Hell, at the very least, if a moderate 3rd party got enough attention and potential/real votes, it might at least finally force the Reps to quit going so far to the right and the Dems from going so far to the left that neither of them has views palpable to the majority of how the country really thinks.

      • I am a religious person who believes in science, the vast majority of my friends are religious people who believe in science (and even those who aren't religious don't have anything against those who are), and the vast majority of random people I have talked to all around the country are religious people who believe in science?

        The plural of anecdote is not data.

        "Could it be *GASP* that the" majority of "religious freaks" and "frothy eggheads" haven't talked to you yet? Or that they don't want to talk to you

        • by mrn121 ( 673604 )
          All I was doing was attempting to express the *possibility* that these two extremist groups *might* not be representative of the American public, not to say definitively that they aren't. Did I not make my point? Is it NOT possible that a majority if moderate Americans exist?

          There is no need to be an asshole and imply that I just don't hang out with a diverse enough crowd, unless, of course, you need to say things like that to try and feel better about whatever it is that has your panties in such a bun

      • by Dadoo ( 899435 )
        The overwhelming majority of Americans are reasonable people who are nothing like the extremist nutjobs portrayed on TV, and our biggest downfall will be ignoring that fact.

        Agreed, but how are we going to fix that, if the moderates won't vote?
    • by Dadoo ( 899435 )
      Makes it hard to be a moderate who believes in both God and science.

      Don't let the bible-thumpers get to you. They're making a big show, insisting that, if you don't take the Bible literally, word for word, you must be an atheist. It's a fairly smart plan, since most recent polls show that atheists are the least-trusted group in the country, right now. If that's true, and the average person has a choice between siding with a Christian who's a little too conservative for them and an atheist, who are they goin
    • by dr_dank ( 472072 )
      You got religious freaks on the right and you got frothy eggheads on the left.

      ::strums guitar::

      here I am, stuck in the middle with you...
  • So, I didn't bother reading the NYTimes article (too lazy atm for Bugmenot, I'll get to it later), but a quick googling showed that the contact for Scientists and Engineers for America is Michael Brown of Alexandira, VA. No contact info was given on the three sites I saw the information.

    All I have to say is: Brownie, I hope this time you do a heckuva job.
  • *ouch* (Score:5, Funny)

    by crumbz ( 41803 ) <<remove_spam>jus ... o spam>gmail@com> on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:24PM (#16232525) Homepage
    I'll volunteer to head the Kansas chapter. Just provide me with body armor, 24-7 security and an anonymous remailer.
  • Looking at the list of SEA's supporters, I found this:

    http://www.sefora.org/pages.php?submitted=1&id=93 [sefora.org]

    What's up with this? Was it run through bablefish?

  • Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:31PM (#16232645) Journal
    While I agree with the idea of removing politics from scientific research, I feel that ideology is quite necessary. Without some sort of noble goal, what's the point other than pure curiosity? Why research cancer or aids if not to save lives? Is that not ideology?
  • by UbuntuDupe ( 970646 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:34PM (#16232721) Journal
    Is this group going to teach politicians that, unlike the equivalent with the theory of gravity, you can't validate climatological theories by making 1000 copies of the earth, altering emissions for some of them, waiting a thousand years, and then running a regression, and that its certainty is to that extent weaker?
  • Pity. Those hairy underarms were hot!
  • by kremvax ( 307366 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:41PM (#16232855) Homepage
    When American scientists have to form a 527 group just to make sure the public has reasonable access to facts and reports?

    We used to be the most technologically advanced country in the world. Now American fundamentalist extremists, enormously well funded fundamentalists, want to keep biology out of the classroom. Oil companies want to supress climate science. And both are the principal campaign financiers of the presidential administration and both houses of congress. And a majority position on the supreme court.

    And the powers that be want to frame it as a "you're either with science or with the Lord" kind of insane debate that went out of fashion in the 18th century.

    This is the kind of thinking that will relagate us to "has-been" status quicker than you can say "empire where the sun never sets"
    • How far has Slashdot fallen when Slashdot readers fall for anything someone puts in a press realease and refuse to consider any other information or alternate point of view on a subject?

      And the powers that be want to frame it as a "you're either with science or with the Lord" kind of insane debate that went out of fashion in the 18th century.

      The new version is: "You're with the Lord? We hate you. You are now a second-class citizen."
  • by Biff Stu ( 654099 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:43PM (#16232889)
    Elect scientists and engineers! There's a contested race in CA's 11th congressional district where the challenger [jerrymcnerney.org] has a Ph.D. in mathematics and an engineering background in wind turbine technology.
  • Isn't it ironic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by segfault7375 ( 135849 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:43PM (#16232897)
    So they are fighting the politicizing of science and engineering by creating a political group? And yes, a 527 is a political organization whether they admit it or not. Oh sweet irony :) Segfault
    • And yes, a 527 is a political organization whether they admit it or not.

      And actually a dangerous venture, potentially.

      What happens when bias in the group leans outside of their current stated position? It's a fact of human nature that this will happen at some point. That's a problem with political organizations and parties; on paper they look fine and easy to support but when it comes down to the members, that's a whole different story. There is an endless migration from one political party to another be

  • Great idea!

    So, what would happen if all the rational people in the US ran for all of the available offices? Given that so many people in the US just vote randomly instead of using relevant information couldn't damn near every incumbent be pushed out in about 10 years?

    Independents, heck, they could call it the Independence Party and pool resources but not policy. Anyone running independently could basic support.

    Anyone know how many public offices there are in the US? Where's a good place for political data?
  • Science is naturally polarized. It's a threat to anyone who depends upon the public perception that authority is always right. In the era of Karl Rove, science is anti-Republican.

  • Researchers are political too, and politics and dissemination of information is important.

    Politicians do have a place in the plan.
    http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Science/Suzuki/2006/09 /27/1905846.html [canoe.ca]

    I don't want to suggest that researchers are unethical (most people, even scientists and lawyers are quite ethical IMO) but it isn't reasonable to assume someone will respond neutrally and unbiased about their own field of work.
    Much of our technology is due to the passion of the researchers, which clearly involves
  • by ConfusedSelfHating ( 1000521 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:54PM (#16233093)
    What if a teacher wants to start up a discussion about whether homosexuality is a mental disorder? What if a scientist wants federal money to evaluate racial differences dealing with violent behavior and intelligence? What if a doctor reports statistical information stating that children of interracial relationships have a higher birth defect rate? What if someone produces a study that indicates faith is related to low intelligence?

    A lot of people find that such discussions would terribly offensive and harmful to the social order. It's also easy to find scientific data which will prove just about anything. It could be because of small sample size or faulty data, but if you pick and choose the information you'll get what you want. If someone has a grudge against blacks/homosexuals/women/men/heterosexuals/whites ... they can probably find a study that demonizes them. And then they put out books like the Bell Curve.

    Some people have gone to jail for arguing that the Holocaust never happened. In Muslim countries, people have faced the death penalty for alleged slurs against religious doctrine.

    My point is that everybody has some beliefs that they feel should go unchallenged. Whether it is their faith in God, their belief in racial equality, their rejection of the supernatural, opposition/support of abortion rights, etc. Regardless of the facts.

    Where would you draw the line about debate? Are there discussions which should not take place?
  • by feepness ( 543479 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:55PM (#16233115) Homepage
    It said the government should not support science education programs that 'include concepts that are derived from ideology,' an apparent reference to creationism and its ideological cousin, intelligent design."

    Since intelligent design is an ideology, then opposition to ID is also an ideology and the government should take care to avoid that as well? Don't they see the trap this falls into?

    All they are essentially saying "We want to make sure the government doesn't fund ideologies.... except ours 'cuz ours is right!"

    I disagree with ID, but there has got to be a better way.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:58PM (#16233199)
    Honestly. Science is science. There are ways to come up with scientific proof. Belief, faith or anything supernatural has no room in scientific research. Why is this necessary? Is the US becoming a theocracy, where you may only come up with scientific finds that don't contradict some book, teaching or preaching? When I first heard about creationism and that some people try to push that theocentric mumbo jumbo into classrooms, I was first of all checking the calendar to see if it's 1st of April. Then I noticed it's real.

    What does that mean? Well, what it will mean in the long run is, that scientists who don't want to endure the hassle to fight past the clerical bullshit will emigrate. There are quite a few secular countries that won't limit you in your research, and they will gladly scoop up anyone who wants to come and do their research there. If anything, it will be bad for the US economy in the long run if this isn't put to a halt.

    I'm not saying that religion doesn't have its place. But keep it out of matters that matter.
  • Check the Title (Score:3, Interesting)

    by greysky ( 136732 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @12:59PM (#16233225)
    "Group Fights Politicizing Science and Engineering"

    Isn't what they are doing exactly what the title says they are fighting against? Don't get me wrong, I'm for what they are doing, but shouldn't the title read more like "Group Fights Ignorance/Misuse of Science and Engineering in Politics"?
  • I am curious; what methods do these scientists intend to use to achieve their agenda? Obviously a central tenet of their philosophy is that science should not be restricted by politically charged interest groups. They argue that science should be free from the effects of political posturing -- essentially popular cultural beliefs are ineffective at choosing the proper course for scientific research, largely because of religious intrusion (but not solely). They seem to be saying that religious thoughts, i
  • Statements.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HatchedEggs ( 1002127 ) on Thursday September 28, 2006 @01:08PM (#16233437) Homepage Journal
    Some statements here try to push liberals as being the scientific backbone of the country and conservatives as monkeys that hang on trees and believe every wild thing that comes along.

    I am a moderate (try to stick to the middle)... but that just isn't true. I have some conservative aspects to me, but that doesn't mean that I don't hold science as the premier authority on what is and what is not.

    In fact, I am much less religious than most that are quite liberal. Everybody has beliefs, even when they try to convince society that they don't really. That said, when I approach any situation I true to determine the truth in it and what is accurate. Many people that I know that are quite far left are just as guilty of believing without thinking. If I took evolution or ID and believed either without thoroughly disecting them, then I've just followed my belief instead of something that I know to be a fact.

    People do it every day... whether to the right or to the left. Lets start a new party. The party that uses their brains to accurately determine the truth of what is and what is not.

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