The Intersection

My latest Science Progress column attempts to imagine what Barack Obama would do if he had been elected “president of science.” My answer: He would try to close the gaps between scientists and the public, and try to defuse the divisive culture war over science and religion.

You can read the full column here.

Comments

  1. #1 Wes Rolley
    November 21, 2008

    Chris,
    I think your assessment is pretty accurate. I seems that more than a few of the public are listening to similar ideas. Readers of Andrew Revkin’s dotearth blog ranked Gary Peter’s suggestion to Obama as #1. “President-elect Obama has much on his plate, but I would encourage him to establish a high-level Science Advisory Board and to make clear to those around him, including members of Congress, that science, not politics, would inform his decision-making in every appropriate area of concern.” This is preceded by several quotes from your War on Science book.

  2. #2 Steven Earl Salmony
    November 23, 2008

    Dear Wes, Chris and Friends,

    Perhaps we can agree that science is indisputably the finest source for gaining an adequate understanding of the way the world we inhabit actually works and for accurately enough grasping the “placement” of the human species within the order of living things on Earth. But, as others have noted with such clarity and coherence, too many world-class scientists have treated the human overpopulation of Earth as a taboo topic and, even worse, perniciously participated in the politicization of the science of climate change. Barack Obama cannot know whatsoever could somehow be true, in large part, because so many scientists have failed to reasonably assume their responsibilities to science as well as to sensibly fulfill their duties as scientists.

    Rather than do what I have been doing over the past 7 years by extolling the virtues of good science, today I am going to try something different.

    What follows is a brief artistic expression that is intended to convey a symbolic meaning parallel to but distinct from, and more significant than, the literal meaning.

    Please consider an allegory: that a titanic struggle between human beings and the natural world is in the offing. It seems this struggle is fulminating now precisely because too many leaders of the 6.7 billion {soon to be 9+ billion} members of the human family generally do not share the distinctly scientific, evidence-based perspective of many within this community. Many too many of our brothers and sisters, especially those with great wealth and power, pompously and erroneously believe that human organisms are separate from, and somehow superior to, life as we know it on Earth.

    At least to me, it appears that an epochal contest is taking shape on the far horizon between the ‘team’ of “mother culture and father profit” on one side and ‘Team’ Mother Nature on the other.

    This could be the greatest show on Earth in 10,000 years.

    The team of “mother culture and father profit” appears adamant in its willful intentionality to stay the same old business-as-usual course of recklessly overconsuming limited natural resources; relentlessly expanding large-scale production and distribution capabilities without regard to physical limitations of the natural world; and overpopulating our planetary home, come what may for children and coming generations, biodiversity, the environment and the Earth’s body.

    Team Mother Nature simply is.

    Which team will likely be seen by reasonable and sensible observers as winning the contest for success in 2012, 2020 and 2050, if the human community continues its idolatry of distinctly human overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities by choosing forevermore unbridled overgrowth activities just as we are doing now?

    If the leaders of the family of humanity do not choose change, do you have any ideas about which team will prevail and when will the outcome of the colossal contest no longer be in doubt?

    Sincerely,

    Steve

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176

    http://literature.lalisio.com/oai.html?o.0.au=Salmony%2C+Steven+Earl

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