The Corpus Callosum

Scientists Turn to Politics

There is an interesting article put out by Associated Press, authored
by Seth Borenstein.  Mr. Bornstein suggests that scientists
are increasingly expressing an interest in running for office.

The involvement of scientists in politics is not new.  Think
of Ben
Franklin
.  But many have been involved from the
sidelines.  Franklin, for example, did not hold an elected
position until the end of his life.  (He was President of the
Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania 1785-88.)


From the href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080509/ap_on_sc/campaigning_scientists;_ylt=AkZUBdCrAGR2Jg8_YUyZ6yms0NUE">article:

On Saturday, [Daniel] Suson, dean of engineering,
mathematics and science at Purdue University Calumet, will join more
than 70 other scientists, engineers and students at a hotel at
Georgetown University for a crash course on elective politics.

“I’ve always been interested in politics, but my participation has been
limited to yelling at my television,” said Jason Haeseler, a Florida
engineer and former registered Republican who will take the class and
hopes to run for office as an independent.

Of curse, they are taking on the issues that we focus on at
ScienceBlogs:

Scientists cite the debate over global warming as an
example of having their insights and warnings cast aside. They have
also complained the Bush administration has censored some of their
research on warming and endangered species.

Scientists are also pushing hard for a presidential debate this year
focusing on climate change and other science issues. So far, they have
not persuaded the presidential candidates to agree to the forum.

There have been notable success, such as the election of Representative
, a PhD physicist, to replace href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_Hastert" rel="tag">Dennis
Hastert.

However, I tend to think that the successes will be limited.
 If they ever approach a critical mass, so to speak, then
political machines will form against them.  Right now, they
are not much of a threat to any established power base.  I
keep thinking of what happened to the congressional href="http://www.access.gpo.gov/ota/" rel="tag">Office
of Technology Assessment.

Maybe I am wrong, but I tend to think that the intellectual influence
of scientists will be limited in the USA for at least a few decades.

Even so, any small victory is welcome.  Maybe href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Gore" rel="tag">Al
Gore, although not a scientist, showed that it is possible.
 If it is to work, though, we would have to get the media on
board first.