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.
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