In case anyone was wondering, I am far from alone in my call for a new science policy in the coming administration. It is the topic of the editorial in a recent issue of Science Magazine America’s premier scientific journal:
For the past 7 years, the United States has had a presidential administration where science has had little place at the table. We have had a president opposed to embryonic stem cell research and in favor of teaching intelligent design. We have had an administration that at times has suppressed, rewritten, ignored, or abused scientific research. At a time when scientific opportunity has never been greater, we have had five straight years of inadequate increases for U.S. research agencies, which for some like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) means decreases after inflation.
All of this has been devastating for the scientific community; has undermined the future of our economy, which depends on innovation; and has slowed progress toward better health and greater longevity for people around the world.
Dr. Porter, the editorialist, goes on to ask
So if you are a U.S. scientist, what should you do now?
He offers a number of ideas, most of which are probably not practical for a graduate student like myself (“volunteer to advise … candidates on science matters and issues.”).
The one that is most practical and which anybody can do is to promote ScienceDebate2008.com. He acknowledges that the program’s goal — a presidential debate dedicated to science — will not be accomplished in 2008, bu the hope is to signal to the media and to politicians that people care about science and science policy.
And who knows? Maybe there will be a science debate is 2012?