Science vs. science

It's the first day of voting today in Iowa, and a perfect time to talk So says a linkurl:group of scientists; who have joined Sciencedebate2008, now urging the candidates for US president to linkurl:debate their stance; on the environment, medicine, and science policy. This debate is vital, they argue, "

By | January 3, 2008

It's the first day of voting today in Iowa, and a perfect time to talk So says a linkurl:group of scientists; who have joined Sciencedebate2008, now urging the candidates for US president to linkurl:debate their stance; on the environment, medicine, and science policy. This debate is vital, they argue, "given the many linkurl:urgent scientific and technological challenges; facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness," according to a statement on their Web site. Members of Sciencedebate2008 include Nobel laureates Peter Agre, David Baltimore, and Steve Chu, along with former science advisors to the president Neil Lane and John Gibbons. There are also university presidents, and the editors of both Science and Nature, among others. If you recognize some of the names, that's because many of the people have also signed on to other similar organizations, including linkurl:Scientists and Engineers; for America, and the linkurl:Federation; of American Scientists. I don't know about you, but I'm starting to find it hard to keep straight all of these organizations, and their role in the newest round of elections. The upcoming months will certainly be interesting, from a science-policy perspective. Stay tuned for more of our political coverage.


Avatar of: Andras Pellionisz

Andras Pellionisz

Posts: 11

January 3, 2008

Half a Century ago, Soviet Sputnik scared the US public into a frenzy to re-vamp the entire R&D structure in the USA. A single Soviet H-bomb dropped on New York City from their satellite (later, from Cuba) could have killed a few millions.\n\nToday, the menace is internal, within our own genome. Not a few, but hundreds of millions of people are dying of so-called "Junk DNA diseases" since 98.7% of human DNA was not only neglected but outright thrown out by two mistaken dogmas of Genomics for half a Century. \n\nIn the summer of 2007, a $100 M-range US Government (NIH) study produced ample evidence that both the "Junk DNA" and "Central Dogma" axioms are obsolete. The architect of ENCODE, Dr. Francis Collins, now decorated by "Presidential Medal of Freedom", issued the public mandate of the US government "the scientific community would have to re-think long-held beliefs" [of Genomics].\n\nThere are ominous signs that the US establishment might have a hard time "reforming itself" - leaving further millions dying of "Junk DNA diseases" ("Most if not all hereditary diseases are caused by the 'Junk' DNA" - Dr. Sharp, Nobel Laureate at MIT).\n\nDr. Lee Silver, Professor of Genomics at Princeton Advanced Studies (with Congressional testimonies and brilliant media-presentations from leading Journals and TV channels) wrote an absolutely outstanding article to Newsweek on the ongoing revolution in Post-ENCODE Genomics (that we call PostGenetics; Genomics beyond Genes). \n\nNewsweek decided *not* to publish Dr. Lee's article in its USA Edition (though it made the cover issue in all the International Editions of Newsweek in Asia, Latin America and Europe).\n\nWhy? \n\nOne might surmise that the US is not ready (certainly wasn't, when the shell-shock of Sputnik hit the US) with any kind of "master plan" to properly respond to the menace threatening the life and well-being of perhaps hundreds of millions. It is a well known policy that the media will *not* alarm the US public if e.g. NASA detects a meteorite hitting the Earth in three days - in order to avoid a devastating chaos even prior to the ultimate disaster. \n\nOf course, it is quite likely, that most US politicians have only the foggiest concepts of what "Junk DNA diseases" might be - though most of the mature Representatives are afflicted with conditions like Alzheimer's (remember Ronald Reagan?), Parkinson's, Cancers, Diabetes, Bipolar Syndrome, Alcoholism, High Blood Pressure, Heart and Circulatory Diseases, etc, etc).\n\nThe political problem is literally deadly serious. \n\nBefore release of the US Government Study (ENCODE) anybody could claim an "alibi" that the scientific establishment had not officially warned the public of the menace (though some scientists, including this one, have worked feverishly for 17 years in a clandestine manner knowing from facts that at least two of the "axioms" of pre-ENCODE Genomics were untrue. Substantial deployable arsenal is available).\n\nAfter the public warning from US Government (ENCODE) those who continue ignoring "Junk DNA diseases" (for instance refusing to fund research, rejecting papers without review, failing to establish proper policies even at Presidential level) - might even be subjects to class action lawsuits launched by those who have to continue to suffer and perish for (even benign) neglect of "Junk DNA diseases".\n\n"Politics" is all issues that concern citizens. The US responded in a spectacularly fast and efficient manner to the menace of Soviet Sputnik.\n\nThe new President of the US should, in this opinion, be elected based on the strongest likelihood of a comparably fast and effective re-vamping of R&D of Post-ENCODE Genomics (PostGenetics). Not only that of the Government, since it is known by now that in some notable cases the private enterprise can be more effective.\n\\n\nP.S.\n\nPublic policy requires a written response within 30 days for US citizens who provide their name and postal address. Presidential Candidates and concerned responsible politicians, please send your reflections to this scientist with loved ones worldwide suffering from "Junk DNA diseases":\n\nDr. Andras J. Pellionisz\n935 Rosette Court\nSunnyvale, California, 94086\n\n(408) 732-9319

January 3, 2008

Physics Today has tried to collect statements by the candidates on a variety of science-related issues. Although it hasn't officially launched yet, you can take a look at some of the responses by going to\n\nPlease note this is a work in progress, and will improve over the coming week.
Avatar of: krishna kallury

krishna kallury

Posts: 1

January 3, 2008

I am a deeply concerned scientist/chemist who would like to see all scientific communities of USA come together and demand from the prospective Presidential candidates what their views/ perspectives/policies are with respect to the following vital areas that affect every living object (human/animal/plant).\n\n1. Food contamination from different types of contaminants\n2. Emissions from industrial plants, especially those close to residential localities\n3. Resistant strains of bacteria and virus that do not respond to antibiotics and other drugs currently in use\n4. Recycling of plastics, paper products and metal containers must be mandatory and available to every household\n5. How public smoking and drinking can be curbed\n6. Promotion of healthy/nutritional food through susidies to such industries, if necessary.\n7. Encourage alternate fuels to reduce dependence on gasoline
Avatar of: John Aliff

John Aliff

Posts: 2

January 3, 2008

Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, says he is not descended from primates. Does he know that he is a primate? What can we expect on the issue of improving science literacy. Probably more "Intelligent Design."

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