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:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-06-2012
Several months ago, Greg Fish, chief blogger at weird things, penned a post titled “why scientists won’t be elected in the u.s..” Fish’s post was inspired by a New York Times article claiming that despite the fact that several countries employ scientists in key positions in the government, American cannot bring themselves to elect scientists since many of them dismiss scientists as “impractical and elitist.” Fish however, takes a different approach.
In his blog post, Fish proposes that “Americans just don’t understand scientists and aren’t really sure how to start understanding them.” Americans believe that scientists are spoiled academics who have been fattened by government grants and have no concept of the real world concerns and real world economics.
I’m not so sure that’s the reason. Does the public really believe that scientists have cushy jobs? That we don’t work hard for our money? I think that the reason fewer scientists hold public government posts in America is because they are more concerned with getting to the truth than spinning it! In America, politics is more about marketing and self-promotion than it is about sincerity and transparency.
As long as we (scientists) stick to our values of seeking the truth using objective reasoning and scientific methodology, American need not worry about having a scientist for President.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-28-2012
Politics and genetics have traditionally been considered non-overlapping fields, but over the past decade it has become clear that genes can influence political behavior, according to a review published online August 27th in Trends in Genetics. This paradigm shift has led to novel insights into why people vary in their political preferences and could have important implications for public policy.
“We’re seeing an awakening in the social sciences, and the wall that divided politics and genetics is really starting to fall apart,” says review author Peter Hatemi of the University of Sydney. “This is a big advance, because the two fields could inform each other to answer some very complex questions about individual differences in political views.”
Many public figures feel that their public status automatically turns them into experts in any subject they are asked about. Of course this is ludicrous, but so are many “facts” that come out of famous people’s mouths. This is bound to be fun so be sure to participate!
Here’s a GREAT example from one of our all time favorite politicians-Sara Palin:
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 11-03-2010
As results for the recent US midterm election roll in, I am left pondering what impact a Republican controlled Senate will have on science funding and policy making. Truth be told, I was never much of a poli-science major. I much preferred sticking with courses in molecular biology, immunology, chemistry and even (lord help me) organic chemistry. However, as I grow older and mature (OK…perhaps the use of the term “mature” is an exaggeration) I realize that decisions taken by our politicians can significantly impact our ability to do scientific research both in terms of funding (i.e. NIH budget) and various activities (i.e. stem cell research).
In a news article published today in Science, Jocelyn Kaiser writes that in the wake of last night’s electoral upheaval, the NIH is hoping that Congress will approve House of Representatives and Senate spending bills that would give NIH a $1 billion boost over 2010. She also ponders what effect election results will have on NIH’s guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research.
Googling “election results science funding” has turned up an article on researchresearch.com (I guess the url research.com was already taken) that predicts dire consequences to US research funding in 2011 should there be a big Republican win in yesterday’s elections. The articles author, Rebecca Tragger, suggests that besides Republican leaders’ promise to hold spending levels at or below those of 2010, alame duck session with an incoming Republican chamber of Congress is bound to have a significant impact on promises already made by the previous government.
It is with great sadness that I turn to you my dear American Biotechnologists, with a humble request that you please explain to me what the heck all this means!!! I know that it is important news but my brain is tuned to PCR, Western Blotting, ELISA and Chromatography and I believe that the mechanism for understanding US politics has been downregulated in my brain. I even tried watching Noam Chomsky’s explanation of American politics but I fell asleep at 1 minute and 30 seconds (take a look below and tell me if you make it that far).
What I really need is a SCIENTISTS explanation of the political system and how election results will affect my life. Is there anyone out there who can help me?
By the way…what is the term “science” doing in politics anyway (i.e. political science)? Give me DNA, RNA and Protein. Now that’s something I can appreciate!