Today President Obama signed an executive order effectively lifting the ban on stem-cell research. While that line of research will remain controversial, and I’m not going to comment on it directly, there were other things that the president said that were very encouraging.
CNN perhaps puts it best…
Bush’s critics argued the former president allowed political factors improperly to influence funding decisions for science initiatives as well as to skew official government findings on issues such as global warming.
Obama’s memorandum directs the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy “to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making.”
In a thinly veiled criticism of his predecessor, Obama reiterated a promise to base “public policies on the soundest science” as well as to “appoint scientific advisers based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology.”
This Bush policy was most often seen when dealing when dealing with environmental issues, appointing industry-friendly individuals to Department of Interior and and other high offices. Laura often saw this on the types of research that received federal funding.
Some critics fear that this will open the doors to all sorts of spurious research – why cows fart, why people get fat, and other endeavors that use the letters f, a, and t. I’m sure that some of this will slip under the radar. What I hope is that Obama will really follow through with this, and that policy decisions will be based on good science, and not pre-conceived ideology. I think that’s what got us into this last war.