Friday, September 14, 2007

People keep bossing me around

I was looking forward to enjoying a few lazy hours of guilt-free snark when I came across this post from MarkH at Denialism Blog, that task master. According to Mark, “It isn't really enough to merely react constantly to anti-scientific behavior which seems to permeate the media, the interwebs, and policy discussions on Capitol Hill these days.” No? But I do so enjoy partaking in a bit of righteous indignation and media mocking. Apparently, though, there once existed
an office on the Hill, named the Office of Technology Assessment, which worked for the legislative branch and provided non-partisan scientific reports relevant to policy discussions. It was a critical office; one that through thorough and complete analysis of the scientific literature gave politicians common facts from which to decide policy debates.
Hummm… that does sound like a good idea. Naturally, the OTA, being wise and good, was axed by a Republican congress. Politicians now make important policy decisions without non-partisan expert opinions. Instead, any fool with a chart can stand up and talk about *science* - just look at the infamous Brownback presentation on frozen embryos (really, go watch – this is one of those classics that only gets funnier with multiple viewings - via Brad DeLong). While presentations like Brownback’s are highly entertaining, reliance on these types of emotional appeals from non-experts who lack any data make for bad policy decisions and we are all suffering the consequences. So, we really should do something to bring back the OTA. MarkH gives a link with senators' emails. I now feel like I should motivate my science buddies to write letters - or to at least sign one that I draft. I have the sinking feeling that, if I keep letting people manipulate my desire to enact positive social change, it might start interfering with my TV time.

3 comments:

Mächtige Maus said...

Ah, habla...I am slave to your instructions. I was forced, *forced* I tell you to go watch the Daily Show video. May I just say, I'd rescue a talking embryo myself if I thought it'd grow up into a Bald Eagle.

Also as instructed (by CMan this time...I am nothing if not amenable to subliminal, no...make that overt powers of persuasion) I was doing my bit of research on denialsm so I saw that entry by MarkH and already found myself ready to shoot off the necessary emails in order to bring back the OTA. So, if you draft it, they will sign! Either that or I will attempt to draft my own.

La Pobre Habladora said...

Oh, good - do it for me, amenable one. If you single handedly save the nation from ignorance, I'll have time for my nap.

Oh, and save any talking embryos or zygotes you find - Jon tells me they grant wishes.

Anonymous said...

Habla,
you need to go tell MarkH to fix your link.