Well folks: The debate on NPR’s “Science Friday” is today, starting around 3:15 ET. There will be a fair number of listener calls, I believe; remember, you can call in at 1-800-989-8255. To find a way to listen live, click here.
Meanwhile, I’m continuing to prepare, and want to thank you all very much for your help on the subjects of evolution and climate change. To further my prep, I also went to see Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth last night; I thought it was very powerful. True, there were a couple spots where Gore’s presentation could have misled viewers into incorrectly thinking that global warming had “caused” Katrina, or a particularly bad typhoon season for Japan, or more outbreaks of tornadoes. But overall, Gore presented the science quite well I thought.
I’m going to go back to debate prepping right now, but for fun I want to leave you with three more Bethell arguments to respond to, this time in the generalized area of science policy:
1. Experts hate to challenge one another, just as doctors do. Often, for a specialist in one field to appreciate what others are saying, careful study must be undertaken. Time is always too short. Outsiders will fear to enter others’ fields in anything other than a deferential spirit. So challenge and disagreement rarely arise. The priesthood of science is undisturbed, and that is the way they like it. (p. v)
2. Federal funding is restricted [for stem cell research], but the research itself is legal. Yet if the medical promise is so great, why is the federal government so essential? Do venture capitalists know something the headline writers don’t? (p. x)
3. Consensus discourages disssent, however. It is the enemy of science, just as it is the triumph of politics. A theory accepted by 99 percent of scientists may be wrong. (p. xiii)
These are in some ways trickier, but I think they also need answering….