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Old 01-08-2013, 06:06 PM  
donkhater donkhater is offline
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Good perspective on the future of Science

http://www.nature.com/news/science-m...divide-1.12119

Science must be seen to bridge the political divide

To prevent science from continuing its worrying slide towards politicization, here’s a New Year’s resolution for scientists, especially in the United States: gain the confidence of people and politicians across the political spectrum by demonstrating that science is bipartisan.

That President Barack Obama chose to mention “technology, discovery and innovation” in his passionate victory speech in November shows just how strongly science has come, over the past decade or so, to be a part of the identity of one political party, the Democrats, in the United States. The highest-profile voices in the scientific community have avidly pursued this embrace. For the third presidential election in a row, dozens of Nobel prizewinners in physics, chemistry and medicine signed a letter endorsing the Democratic candidate.

The 2012 letter argued that Obama would ensure progress on the economy, health and the environment by continuing “America’s proud legacy of discovery and invention”, and that his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, would “devastate a long tradition of support for public research and investment in science”. The signatories wrote “as winners of the Nobel Prizes in Science”, thus cleansing their endorsement of the taint of partisanship by invoking their authority as pre-eminent scientists.

But even Nobel prizewinners are citizens with political preferences. Of the 43 (out of 68) signatories on record as having made past political donations, only five had ever contributed to a Republican candidate, and none did so in the last election cycle. If the laureates are speaking on behalf of science, then science is revealing itself, like the unions, the civil service, environmentalists and tort lawyers, to be a Democratic interest, not a democratic one.

This is dangerous for science and for the nation. The claim that Republicans are anti-science is a staple of Democratic political rhetoric, but bipartisan support among politicians for national investment in science, especially basic research, is still strong. For more than 40 years, US government science spending has commanded a remarkably stable 10% of the annual expenditure for non-defence discretionary programmes. In good economic times, science budgets have gone up; in bad times, they have gone down. There have been more good times than bad, and science has prospered.

In the current period of dire fiscal stress, one way to undermine this stable funding and bipartisan support would be to convince Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, that science is a Democratic special interest.

This concern rests on clear precedent. Conservatives in the US government have long been hostile to social science, which they believe tilts towards liberal political agendas. Consequently, the social sciences have remained poorly funded and politically vulnerable, and every so often Republicans threaten to eliminate the entire National Science Foundation budget for social science.

“Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by bipartisan groups of scientists.”

As scientists seek to provide policy-relevant knowledge on complex, interdisciplinary problems ranging from fisheries depletion and carbon emissions to obesity and natural hazards, the boundary between the natural and the social sciences has blurred more than many scientists want to acknowledge. With Republicans generally sceptical of government’s ability and authority to direct social and economic change, the enthusiasm with which leading scientists align themselves with the Democratic party can only reinforce conservative suspicions that for contentious issues such as climate change, natural-resource management and policies around reproduction, all science is social science.

The US scientific community must decide if it wants to be a Democratic interest group or if it wants to reassert its value as an independent national asset. If scientists want to claim that their recommendations are independent of their political beliefs, they ought to be able to show that those recommendations have the support of scientists with conflicting beliefs. Expert panels advising the government on politically divisive issues could strengthen their authority by demonstrating political diversity. The National Academies, as well as many government agencies, already try to balance representation from the academic, non-governmental and private sectors on many science advisory panels; it would be only a small step to be equally explicit about ideological or political diversity. Such information could be given voluntarily.

To connect scientific advice to bipartisanship would benefit political debate. Volatile issues, such as the regulation of environmental and public-health risks, often lead to accusations of ‘junk science’ from opposing sides. Politicians would find it more difficult to attack science endorsed by avowedly bipartisan groups of scientists, and more difficult to justify their policy preferences by scientific claims that were contradicted by bipartisan panels.

During the cold war, scientists from America and the Soviet Union developed lines of communication to improve the prospects for peace. Given the bitter ideological divisions in the United States today, scientists could reach across the political divide once again and set an example for all.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:04 PM   #31
cdcox cdcox is offline
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
Ever heard of abortion?
Science can tell you if a fetus is viable outside the womb or not.

Science cannot assign value to a non-viable fetus. That evaluation depends on morals, ethics, philosophy, religion etc.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:06 PM   #32
petegz28 petegz28 is offline
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Originally Posted by cdcox View Post
Science can tell you if a fetus is viable outside the womb or not.

Science cannot assign value to a non-viable fetus. That evaluation depends on morals, ethics, philosophy, religion etc.
Um yeah, that's kind of the point of the statement. Science can however assign a value to the fact that there is no life without said non-viable fetus.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:07 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
I think a large part of your argument is a matter of perspective to say the least.
Is God confined to the natural? -- because science is.

If you start throwing around miracles and supernatural beings, science isn't able to address that.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:07 PM   #34
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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What about all those alleged christian Democrats that flock to church every Sunday to listen about tales they don't believe in, according to you anyway
What about them? Are they hypocrites when it comes to religion? Probably. Most people are. They seem to accept basic tenets of science and aren't hostile to politicians to accept them. Maybe they believe (gasp!) in God and that the Earth isn't 10,000 years old.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:08 PM   #35
petegz28 petegz28 is offline
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What about them? Are they hypocrites when it comes to religion? Probably. Most people are. They seem to accept basic tenets of science and aren't hostile to politicians to accept them. Maybe they believe (gasp!) in God and that the Earth isn't 10,000 years old.
You mean like the majority of people on the Right????
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:08 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by cdcox View Post
Science can tell you if a fetus is viable outside the womb or not.

Science cannot assign value to a non-viable fetus. That evaluation depends on morals, ethics, philosophy, religion etc.
Disagree. Science always considered it a human life—until R v W. Fetus means offspring. It was always a capital offense in the West before too.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:10 PM   #37
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Is God confined to the natural? -- because science is.

If you start throwing around miracles and supernatural beings, science isn't able to address that.
Again it's a matter of perspective. What is God? what is natural? What is a miracle? Why is what once was a miracle is now science? Why is what oncewas a miracle that is now science not God or the work thereof??
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:12 PM   #38
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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What do you want me to say about evolution? It's a theory. I don't say it's correct or not correct, thus it being a theory. Your black and white take on it all shows how simple minded you are to begin with.

Its a scientic theory that has been tested and has withstood scientific testing and confirmation. Don't play dumb.

I guess this is where I have to mention things like the "Theory of Gravity" and "Germ Theory." This wilfully ignorant act is old.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:13 PM   #39
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What about them? Are they hypocrites when it comes to religion? Probably. Most people are. They seem to accept basic tenets of science and aren't hostile to politicians to accept them. Maybe they believe (gasp!) in God and that the Earth isn't 10,000 years old.
You are engaging in a major hijacking of this thread to suit your own antagonism toward the right.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:16 PM   #40
cosmo20002 cosmo20002 is offline
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So what you're saying then is when Obama claims to be christian he is blowing smoke up our ass?
I'm sure he thinks of himself as Christian. Most "Christians" don't believe a literal Bible and they still call themselves Christian.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:17 PM   #41
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:17 PM   #42
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Disagree. Science always considered it a human life—until R v W. Fetus means offspring. It was always a capital offense in the West before too.
The way you say "human life" you are inferring a non-scientifically based value to it.

Science can tell you if an organism is intelligent, can have emotions, and whether it is self aware. It doesn't tell you if human life is valuable. Again that judgement comes from philosophy, ethics, morals, religion, etc.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:18 PM   #43
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:19 PM   #44
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The way you say "human life" you are inferring a non-scientifically based value to it.
Nope. It's alive and it's human.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:21 PM   #45
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Some of you seem to miss the basic fact that we as simple human beings just may not know every ****ing thing!!!!

It is playing God to say when or when not a fetus is considered a life? There mere fact the term "fetus" is used in political discussions shows how arrogant some can be about life. No one walks up to a pregnant woman and says "how is the fetus coming along?" It's a baby until it's time to justify it's pre-birth termination, then suddenly it's reduced to a fetus. That is playing God.

By the same token no one can disprove that evolution is not the correct theory of our coming to be. To say man was just made on a whimb by a divine being is to ignore a lot of science that tends to prove otherwise.

We cannot say there is a God and we cannot say there isn't. We cannot claim to know what God is. God in the sense of a creator could be a far more intelligent species that view us as nothing more than one of their science experiments. How they must laugh at us that the self importance we compete with each other for.

So what we can say for a fact is:
A) we don't know if God exists or not
B) we don't know that evolution is not the work of said God
C) we do know that life would never exist without first going through the stage of the disposable "fetus"

The list goes on but the facts are that when we start making definitive statements on when life begins, where life comes from and the existence of God we cleary show how stupid and ignorant we are as a species
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