Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Obama and Science

Evan Robinson notes the president's appearance at the National Academy of Science.

President Obama spoke yesterday (2009.04.27) at the annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington DC. While he highlighted several specific policies and budgetary priorities, I believe his most significant contribution was, as Woody Allen famously said, "just showing up".

We of the progressive left feel that science has been under attack in America for decades. From James Watt to Rush Limbaugh, the Republicants and their media allies/masters/attack dogs have routinely belittled science, bent science, or just dismissed science. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they derided those of us who believed in science as hopelessly "reality-based".

And now here comes Obama, who shows up at the National Academy and delivers a few thousand well-chosen words (and as Ben Fry says, "did our former President spill that many words for science during eight years in office?"), laying out a 3% of GDP target for R&D, establishing a new ARPA for energy, and talking about the necessity of basic research!

As portions of our reality-based world seem to spin out of control via potential pandemic, peak oil, species loss, ocean dead zones, and the seemingly endlessly accelerating consequences of climate change, it's nice to have someone on board who gets it.

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