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Author Topic: Positive News for Science in America  (Read 916 times)

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Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Positive News for Science in America
« on: December 21, 2008, 03:33:08 AM »
Since President-elect Obama still has almost a month before taking the oath of office and actually governing we can evaluate on the strength or weakness of its progressive nature, any move he makes by nominating a person to a cabinet or advisory post or by giving a speech doesn't reflect governance or policy.  Policy wonks and political junkies like myself have to speculate on what the symbolism is of various choices (and the symbolism of Rick Warren upsets me very much).

But some signs, especially on the science front, are very, very good.

The director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy will be John Holdren of Harvard University, a professor of environmental policy well versed on the science of global climate change.

The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be Jane Lubchenko, a professor of marine biology at Oregon State University.

Harold Varmus, who won a Nobel for his work on viral oncogenes, and Eric Lander, a genomics researcher, will co-chair the Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

Another Nobel laureate, Steven Chu, will be the Secretary of Energy. Chu is a strong promoter of alternative energy sources and head of the Berkeley National laboratory.

If the president-to-be takes the advice of these good people and are influencing the policy that comes from the Obama White House, I expect to see major improvements in energy policy and some serious attention paid to carbon emissions. This is, overall, a net plus for science and a real strike against anti-science we've seen from the White House in the last 8 years.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Positive News for Science in America
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2008, 05:44:01 AM »
There goes more of our tax dollars sucked into the void trying to fight Global Warming. (looking into my crystal ball)

May the special interests counter this with money and practical common sense as long as we have cheap coal and oil we don't need to work that much on alternative energies. It might be useful to maybe nudge it for a hundred years or so when it will be needed however. And you do know if you force power companies to use solar its expensive and will pass this cost on the consumers, in Florida they are socking us with a 25% increase for a new nuclear power plant before its built.

You must not like the less affluent people if you eliminate coal what are coal mining states supposed to do the miners are not exactly college graduates they are hands-on tradesmen of modest educations? Many also have large families relocating is not exactly practical for many of these people.

Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Re: Positive News for Science in America
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2008, 07:31:30 AM »
As I once saw on a coffee cup; "So-called “global warming” is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st-century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable."

Online Oniya

Re: Positive News for Science in America
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2008, 07:41:04 AM »
Excuse me - I happen to be descended from a coal-mining family.  Read up on the Monongah Coal Mine explosion, and you've got part of my family history on public record.  People work the mines because there's no choice.  Most of them would rather be doing anything but mining.  Machine repair and maintenance is something that will always be needed.  Driving heavy equipment is something that will always be needed.  Doing it deep underground in tunnels with methane gas, coal dust, and cave-ins will hopefully not always be needed.

The Green Revolution is still going to require hands-on tradesmen.  Doing something positive for our environment and our future does not mean that anyone 'must not like the less affluent people'.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2008, 07:42:34 AM by Oniya »

Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Re: Positive News for Science in America
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2008, 09:00:56 AM »
The Green Revolution is still going to require hands-on tradesmen.

It almost seems like a logical fallacy to say otherwise.  Bear with me for a second:

p:  Development of technology a will have a negative economic impact on group s.
q:  It is desirable to not negatively impact group s.
Therefore ~p

Actually, this is a logical fallacy, now that I think about it.  Begging the question, or an unstated major premise.  A more succinct rewrite would be

p`:  Development of technology a would have the undesireable impact on group s.
Therefore ~p`

But there is an unstated major premise

z: There is no positive economic impact that would follow from developing technology a.

It seems to me that this premise is not only unstated, but false on the face.  I don't think I know of a major new technology that hasn't created a new subsection of the economy in the long run.

In everyday language, I call this specific case the whale-oil lantern maker fallacy.  Think of all the whale oil lantern makers that went out of business when Thomas Edison invented the incandescent lightbulb.  Thomas Edison should therefore not have invented the incandescent lightbulb, because the whale-oil lantern makers need to stay in business.