Sunday, September 28, 2008

Presidential Debate 1: McCain on Science

The Scientific Research and Ecology circles are not at all happy with the glib comments made by Presidential Candidate John McCain about DNA research on Bears being pork spending and wasteful. When I was live blogging with Pam during the debate, I was livid to hear that.

He really drew a line in the sand with the science community. How dare he look down on SCIENCE? The subject and field were this nation is slipping steadily behind. But as I learned in ECOLOG, an e-community list serve maintained by the Ecological Society of America, McCain has been “joking” about this Bear Research being a waste. In fact, Scientific American published an article back in February 2008 McCain's Beef with Bears?—Pork.

First of all, scientific research like this is NOT pork or a special earmark. The Scientific and Education communities would be so lucky to have some guaranteed funding for these important lines of work. But I digress. Second, the study is very important and worth every penny. Grizzly Bears are federally endangered (listed in 1975) and research is necessary in order to understand the species and save it from extinction. "This is not pork barrel at all," says Richard Mace, a research biologist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP). "We have a federal law called the Endangered Species Act and [under this law] the federal government is supposed to help identify and conserve threatened species."

His remarks and regards don’t really surprise me; and I’ve not been secretive about my support for Obama. Check out McCain’s and Obama’s answers to the Science Debate 2008 14 Questions about Science Policy.

STEM is far too important, our nation’s children score poorly in science and math, far too many young people shy away from these subjects in college, and most American adults are scientific illiterate to shoot scientific research down as a waste of time and money. The time of ant-intellectualism and anti-education must end. NOW!

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