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Old 10-06-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
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Scientists Support Obama

Obama's brain trust
By Janet Raloff
Web edition : Friday, September 26th, 2008

As I noted last week, advisers to the presidential candidates have been fairly mum about which scientists, medical leaders and engineers have signed on to advise and/or support Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.

It’s something Albert H. Teich also noted when I contacted this director of Science & Policy Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science several weeks back. Observed Teich in August, “You don’t have any really identifiable science people associated with McCain’s campaign, whereas there are quite a few people on the Obama side.” Indeed, he said, “You could say that there is a brain trust of scientists” linked to the Democratic candidate.

Yesterday, Obama’s campaign released “an open letter to the American people” signed by 61 Nobel laureates. All received their award for achievements in physics (22), chemistry (14) or medicine (25).

In their letter, they argue that during the past eight years, “vital parts of our country’s scientific enterprise have been damaged by stagnant or declining federal support. The government’s scientific advisory process has been distorted by political considerations.”

Commenting on Obama’s stump rhetoric, the letters point “in particular” to measures that the Illinois senator said he plans to implement to meet national and global needs “through new initiatives in education and training, expanded research funding, an unbiased process for obtaining scientific advice, and an appropriate balance of basic and applied research.” Many of these points have been outlined on Obama’s website and in his written responses to Science Debate 2008 questions (all of which are also summarized in the latest issue of Science News and Science News online reports).

Alas, Obama’s plans for boosting the conduct of science and the development of a larger, better trained workforce may be compromised by current events. If, as seems likely, the public will be asked to shoulder a $700 billion-plus bailout of financial institutions in the coming year, Uncle Sam’s purse strings will be stretched taut. Just Wednesday, Obama acknowledged that such a bailout would slow the pace at which he — should he reach the White House — would be able to phase in his proposed changes.

When McCain's campaign releases the names of his science and engineering advisers and supporters, we'll post those here as well.

In the mean time, let’s just hope that the new president, whoever it turns it to be, doesn’t neglect science as he deals with Wall Street’s economic struggles. Because science is one of the best long-term investments any nation can make. And it pays off in good times and bad.

Science News / Obama's Brain Trust
I wonder why McCain hasn't released the names of his science and engineering advisers and supporters?
 
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Old 10-06-2008, 07:23 PM   #2
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Because he has none?
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Photon1001 View Post
I wonder why McCain hasn't released the names of his science and engineering advisers and supporters?
Because that would be a new and retarded way of doing things?
 
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:48 PM   #4
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This thread is very unfairly slanted against McCain. Have you done any searching on Google? There are plenty of schools and scientists that support McCain.

Miskatonic University

http://www.ohioclowncollege.com/www....owningArts.com

List of mad scientists - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:58 PM   #5
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Because Bush has them all tied up in afganistan and Iraq looking for an excuse to his war or bcause they preparing to drill over shore in previously protected areas. Poor guys are too busy!
 
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Old 10-06-2008, 10:58 PM   #6
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Here's a good site for science-based issues concerning these candidates:
Sciencedebate 2008

Bad Astronomy analyzes McCain's answers:
McCain’s Science Policy | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
 
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Old 10-08-2008, 11:30 AM   #7
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It would probably be against McCains interest to get support from the ivory tower liberal elite. They hate that sort of stuff and his base would probably lose even more respect for him if he got those sorts of endorsements.


What a sad, sad, commentary on the state of our country.
 
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:08 PM   #8
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What a sad, sad, commentary on the state of the GOP.
fixed.
 
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:26 PM   #9
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Let's be fair. Scientists and academics tend to lean liberal anyhow.
 
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:32 PM   #10
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Reality has a well know liberal bias.
-Stephen Colbert.
 
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:34 AM   #11
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Prof. Krauss takes on McCain

Lawrence M. Krauss

McCain Risks Becoming the Anti-Science Candidate

Among the possibilities that John McCain offered to those Republicans and Democrats who were looking for someone who could change the direction of that party, one that was not widely discussed but which was nevertheless significant, was the opportunity to remove the unfortunate disconnect between the current administration and the scientific community. The administration of George W. Bush has differed qualitatively from the previous five administrations, both Republican and Democratic, in its attacks on scientific integrity, censorship of scientific information, stacking of scientific advisory committees with unqualified candidates, and outright distortion of the results of studies by government scientists. The situation was of such concern that an unprecedented collection of Nobel Laureates, National Medal of Science winners, and former Presidential Science advisors (both republican and democratic), later joined by thousands of scientists, wrote an open letter to the White House to urge a change in policy.

These issues became so widespread and well known that the journalist Chris Mooney wrote a bestselling book entitled, The Republican War on Science. I thought at the time that the title was inappropriate however. The Bush administration is not representative of all Republicans, including, for example, Ph.D. physicist and congressman Vern Ehlers, with whom others and I have worked to raise the profile of science in political discourse. Indeed, over the past half-century, Republican administrations have often been more supportive of significant scientific investments than Democratic administrations
John McCain offered hope and a new direction early on in his campaign. He had previously spoken out publicly about the need to preserve scientific integrity, for example, and criticized several actions of the Bush administration in this regard. With McCain as the Republican candidate and Obama as the Democratic candidate for President, it began to look like we might finally return to an administration that would appropriately adopt the results of science in policymaking.

Unfortunately, however, since becoming the presumptive candidate, about to become the official candidate of his party, John McCain has begun to slowly backtrack from the scientific straight-talker one hoped he would be.

Things began to look bad when McCain made a silly campaign promise: a $300 million dollar prize for new battery technology to help solve our energy crisis. If $300 million could solve our energy problems they wouldn't be problems. To develop effective new alternative energy technologies requires significant fundamental research on new materials, the kind of thing that government supported research is required for, as well as new investments in infrastructure. As has recently been pointed out, for example, our current national electric grid already cannot accommodate the influx of power that is coming in from new wind sources.

Things got worse when McCain began to advocate for offshore drilling as a way to reduce oil costs. As was well known, not only will new offshore drilling not have any impact on oil production in this country for at least a decade, but even if it does come online, the total oil production will be marginal compared to current usage, and thus the impact on the price of oil at the time will not be large.

The biggest blow to one's confidence in John McCain's commitment to sound science however came last week with his choice of running mate. Sarah Palin has not only expressed her disagreement with the entire scientific climate science community by suggesting that there is no human induced contribution to global warming, but she has also indicated in interviews that both evolution and its scientifically discredited alternative, currently called intelligent design, should be discussed in science classes. To be fair, she has not explicitly said that both should actually be a part of the curriculum, but she has not argued to the contrary either. It is easy to suspect, in spite of having a father who was a science teacher, her personal views on scientifically sound concepts like evolution and the age of the earth are similar to those of another conservative Christian governor, Mike Huckabee, whose statements on these issues during the Republican primary debates were widely derided.

On global warming, Palin's actions are eerily reminiscent of the Bush administration's cherry picking of the scientific. In a New York Times Op-ed she argued against listing polar bears as endangered species, saying her decision was based on a "comprehensive review by state officials." However a freedom of information request by Ed Steiner to see the review revealed that the officials had in fact concurred that the scientific literature indeed suggested that the polar bear population will significantly decline.

Finally, the Obama campaign has now officially responded to the request put out by various organizations, including ScienceDebate2008, to answer 14 questions on science and technology policy. John McCain's campaign has indicated they too will issue specific responses, however they have not yet done so. (It will be particularly interesting to me to see how they respond to the question of balancing belief vs scientific evidence.)

All of this puts Mr. McCain in a difficult position. If he public disavows Gov. Palin's misstatements on these issues and others he risks driving a wedge between himself and his chosen running mate. If he does not, he risks continuing or even exacerbating the unfortunate divide created by the current administration between Republicans and good science.
Obviously, McCain has since responded with his answers to the science questions.

Lawrence M. Krauss: McCain Risks Becoming the Anti-Science Candidate


Here's also a good video of Prof. Krauss talking about politics and science:

Last edited by Schrödinger's Cat; 10-09-2008 at 03:40 AM..
 
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Old 10-11-2008, 04:21 AM   #12
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More of McCain vs. Science

Now it's McCain vs the universe - Short Sharp Science - New Scientist

The US election has been like a spectator sport lately, with all the drama of a tight race for high stakes. It's also the kind of sport where the spectators can suddenly find themselves part of the game - like baseball fans do when a foul ball comes rocketing their way.

Imagine the surprise for Sarah Beck, manager of public relations for Chicago's historic Adler Planetarium, when she found herself in that very situation during this week's presidential debate. Beck was one of 63.2 million US viewers watching the debate on television Tuesday night when Senator John McCain unexpectedly singled out her institution during an attack on rival candidate Barack Obama.

As he accused Obama of voting for government spending on pork barrel projects, McCain cited, as his example, "$3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?"

"I was really shocked," says Beck. "It was not what I thought was coming."

McCain was apparently talking about a new projection system the Adler is trying to raise money for to refurbish its 78-year-old Sky Theatre. No federal funding has been allocated to the project, although Obama, Senator Richard Durbin and Illinois congressmen from both major political parties have all supported the planetarium at various times in its efforts to secure federal grants for specific exhibitions and educational programs.

For the record, it will cost $3 million to 5 million to replace the Adler's existing projector, part of an overhaul that is expected to cost $10 million in total.

"Our goal is to offer Illinois children a 21st Century museum experience, designed to inspire them to engage in exploring science," said Paul Knappenberger, president of the museum.

Over 35 million people have visited the planetarium since it opened in 1930, the gift of Max Adler, an executive of Sears Roebuck and prominent Chicago philanthropist.

So much for the facts. The interesting question is why did McCain target, of all things, the first planetarium in the western hemisphere - a not-for-profit institution dedicated to increasing science literacy?

It was certainly a calculated move. McCain has already trotted out the Adler dig in earlier campaign speeches, referring to "planetariums and other foolishness" when listing federal appropriations - better known as earmarks - that congressional politicians have a tendency to insert into spending bills to benefit their home constituencies.

"We've been hearing flutterings about this since August," says Beck. "I felt there would be an earmark fact of some kind in the debate, but I didn't imagine this."

What may be most troubling to science educators is the fact that McCain clearly presumed that the wastefulness of spending money on a planetarium would be self-evident without any further explanation or context.
Despite the fact that McCain has taken pains to declare himself pro-research and innovation, and pro-space exploration in particular, the comment suggests an effort to connect with a voting population that is not enamoured with science, and so would find the idea of funding a planetarium outrageous or amusing.

The Tuesday remark was reminiscent of another project McCain is fond of ridiculing, a study of grizzly bear DNA in Montana. Biologists say the study is essential for understanding the population of an iconic and threatened species. McCain has joked about paternity tests for bears. The research ruckus got weirder when Democrats pointed out that McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin, had earlier supported a federal earmark to study the DNA of harbour seals in Alaska.

Whatever McCain was hoping to achieve on Tuesday, the move appears not to have worked in his favour. Science bloggers are up in arms about the comment and the Alder has received nothing but supportive calls from the public since the debate.

"It seems to have touched a nerve," says Beck, "especially with those who have worked their entire lives in science education."
Ivan Semeniuk, US bureau chief (Image: Adler Planetarium)
It's a pretty odd thing for him to add in his examples of pork spending.
 
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:57 AM   #13
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^ Its the same kind of baseless ignorance I hear from Republicans all the time, like how launching space shuttles is "a complete waste of time".
 
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Old 10-15-2008, 09:25 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Photon1001 View Post
^ Its the same kind of baseless ignorance I hear from Republicans all the time, like how launching space shuttles is "a complete waste of time".
Many people don't believe that improving our knowledge of the universe is a waste of time or money. As it concerns education, it is also not a waste of money to give our students the best education possible.

Republicans should be the ones to talk about wasting money...
 
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Old 10-19-2008, 01:22 AM   #15
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Well, after listening to his energy plans, I certainly can see why intelligent ppl support Barack.


...btw, unless I misheard, I think he said something about giving every taxpayer a thousand dollars in energy relief credits..
 
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:00 AM   #16
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Just compare their remarks on the Stem Cell debate, McCain shows a complete ignorance of this scientific topic (not surprising for a Republican), while Obama is spot on:

Originally Posted by McCain
While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, I believe clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress. Moreover, I believe that recent scientific breakthroughs raise the hope that one day this debate will be rendered academic. I also support funding for other research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research which hold much scientific promise and do not involve the use of embryos. I oppose the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes and I voted to ban the practice of “fetal farming,” making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes.


Note that their's no such thing as "fetal farming", and it has never been something that has been in consideration by the scientific community (read more here). I don't know if he's that stupid, his scientific advisor is in the Bush administration, or he is pandering to the hard right.

Originally Posted by Obama
Stem cell research holds the promise of improving our lives in at least three ways—by substituting normal cells for damaged cells to treat diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, heart failure and other disorders; by providing scientists with safe and convenient models of disease for drug development; and by helping to understand fundamental aspects of normal development and cell dysfunction.

For these reasons, I strongly support expanding research on stem cells. I believe that the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations. As president, I will lift the current administration’s ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines created after August 9, 2001 through executive order, and I will ensure that all research on stem cells is conducted ethically and with rigorous oversight.

I recognize that some people object to government support of research that requires cells to be harvested from human embryos. However, hundreds of thousands of embryos stored in the U.S. in in-vitro fertilization clinics will not be used for reproductive purposes, and will eventually be destroyed. I believe that it is ethical to use these extra embryos for research that could save lives when they are freely donated for that express purpose.

I am also aware that there have been suggestions that human stem cells of various types, derived from sources other than embryos, make the use of embryonic stem cells unnecessary. I don’t agree. While adult stem cells, such as those harvested from blood or bone marrow, are already used for treatment of some diseases, they do not have the versatility of embryonic stem cells and cannot replace them. Recent discoveries indicate that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed to behave like stem cells; these are exciting findings that might in the future lead to an alternate source of highly versatile stem cells. However, embryonic stem cells remain the “gold standard,” and studies of all types of stem cells should continue in parallel for the foreseeable future.

Rather than restrict the funding of such research, I favor responsible oversight of it, in accord with recent reports from the National Research Council. Recommendations from the NRC reports are already being followed by institutions that conduct human embryonic stem cell research with funds from a variety of sources. An expanded, federally-supported stem cell research program will encourage talented U.S. scientists to engage in this important new field, will allow more effective oversight, and will signal to other countries our commitment to compete in this exciting area of medical research.

Last edited by Schrödinger's Cat; 10-19-2008 at 05:09 AM..
 
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Old 10-26-2008, 10:44 PM   #17
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Popular Mechanics gave him more good marks than anyone else in the running way back in December:



 
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Old 10-27-2008, 10:04 AM   #18
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This is why the Republicans are laughed at by the scientific community:


I kid you not....

Someone hasn't told this joke of a candidate for VP that fruit flies are instrumental in genetic research and are used in the research for a great many diseases and disorders. Wasn't she supposed to be about helping children with "special needs"? How then could she be so ignorant about the modern scientific research to help these children? Maybe she thinks prayer would be better.

Here's an example with fruit flies used in autism research:


Last edited by Schrödinger's Cat; 10-27-2008 at 10:32 AM..
 
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Old 10-29-2008, 07:29 AM   #19
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Barack speaks on technology at Google

 
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:07 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Photon1001 View Post
^ Its the same kind of baseless ignorance I hear from Republicans all the time, like how launching space shuttles is "a complete waste of time".
You realize Obama plans to shut down manned space flight for atleast the next 5 years because "it doesn't inspire people anymore"?
 
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