Sunday, February 19, 2006

You Reap What You Sow II

More scientists complaining about [insert your grant proposal here].
"It's no accident that we are seeing such an extensive suppression of scientific freedom," [David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist and president of the California Institute of Technology] said. "It's part of the theory of government now, and it's a theory we need to vociferously oppose." Far from twisting science to suit its own goals, he said, the government should be "the guardian of intellectual freedom."
Intellectual freedom is a university thing; not a government public policy. Furthermore, I think politically-active scientists could use a dose of humility and stop equating their grant proposals with righteous abstract concepts like "freedom". Case-in-point
[Susan F. Wood, former director of the office of women's health at the Food and Drug Administration] received a standing ovation from many in the audience, resigned in August to protest agency officials' unusual decision to overrule an expert panel and withhold marketing approval for Plan B, the so-called morning after pill, a form of emergency contraception. She said she feared that competent scientists would leave rather than remain at an agency where their work was ignored because "social conservatives have extreme undue influence."

Later, in response to a question, she said that she might have consulted the agency's inspector general over the Plan B decision, but that inspectors general often had to be prodded by Congress before taking action. Democrats have little power in this Congress, she said, and Republicans who care about science have been "remarkably silent."
Precisely, you don't understand the difference between scientific research and public policy. I'm sure Bush's decision to withhold approval was made for reasons other than the integrity of the research. duh.


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