Monday, April 29, 2013

Barack Obama on the politicization of science

From the President's remarks today regarding the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences:
One of the things that I've tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and political science -- all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them to peer review -- but in all the sciences, we’ve got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they’re not subject to politics, that they’re not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go where the evidence leads us. And that’s why we’ve got to keep investing in these sciences. 
And what’s true of all sciences is that in order for us to maintain our edge, we’ve got to protect our rigorous peer review system and ensure that we only fund proposals that promise the biggest bang for taxpayer dollars. And I will keep working to make sure that our scientific research does not fall victim to political maneuvers or agendas that in some ways would impact on the integrity of the scientific process. That’s what’s going to maintain our standards of scientific excellence for years to come [emphasis added].
First point: President Obama has clearly called political science a science! This is something that President Wilson, an actual political scientist, rejected. So there's one for the books.

Second point: These are very eloquent comments warning against the politicization of science. However, now that Obama has taken a public stance here, that will probably cause further politicization, with Republican leaders increasingly inclined to dismiss political scientists as a bunch of eggheads who do nothing but take polls years after they're politically useful and occasionally brainwash students with the teachings of Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore. Oh, well.

1 comment:

  1. In the controversy over OTC availability of Plan B to young women, the Obama administration itself was guilty of politicizing science. The clear scientific evidence that Plan B is safe and effective for young women was ignored, and the recommendations of FDA scientists were overturned. And for purely political reasons.

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