RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

    
  Topic: Government and Science, Policy issues for the 21st century< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: June 09 2006,09:02   

What role should governments play in science? Should governments sponsor scientific research? Should governments control the products of scientific research? Is human health and nutrition a special case?

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 09 2006,09:43   

Quote
What role should governments play in science?


for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume you meant government at the federal/state level?

the same role they should play for any other realm of public endeavor.

-help with organization if needed
-publicize the need for good science as part of our economy, if nothing else (and there's a lot of "else").
-use the above to justify why the government spends tax dollars on research and science education.

really, I can't see burdening the government with much else, because whenever they try to take on additional roles, they fubar it.  Obviously, a lot of this has to do with abusing science for political gain, so naturally limiting the role government gets to play is beneficial.

personally, If my goal was to win grass roots support and my base thought an aspect of science was "evil", it would be a conflict of interest for me to get involved.  However, I naturally would have to choose the views of the majority of my base if I want to get elected.

I don't blame politicians for this attitude from a pure political perspective, and perhaps it's unrealistic to ask them to be more responsible (I'd like to think it's not, and that playing a leadership role will also galvanize a decent sized base).  Hence, as things stand, I would think to limit the role government gets to play in science as much as possible.

Quote
Should governments sponsor scientific research?


yes.  there is no evidence that public support is consistent enough to maintain funding for research.  Most nonprofits that do research rely on grants from governement and other ngo's to function, and public funding is almost always a secondary source of funding.

Moreover, the only way a government need to justify spending is to show how scientific endeavor leads to an improved economy.  Not hard.

Quote
Should governments control the products of scientific research?


the end products?  like resulting consumer goods?  Or do you mean the actual data?

I've seen government attempt to control (and modify) both.

I'd say the government could claim a legitimate interest in controlling the production of products and consumer goods from scientific research, but overeaches tremendously when they attempt to control and modify the data and results of specific research.

Quote
Is human health and nutrition a special case?


on the surface, in principle I would say no.  I'm sure with more thought, I could think of some counter examples, tho.

Could you perhaps be more specific here?

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 09 2006,11:18   

The Government already does do a significant amount of science. It has to to be able to make good policy. We can't allocate BLM or Forest service land without EIS's. Same with fishing treaties and policy, military concerns, economics, weather forcasting, you name it.

If you mean a subset including things like how to make human-animal hybrids, or maybe how to design zombie mind control drugs, that's what tv is. Or rather, does.

What about thin film Photovoltaic research? Should the gov't sponsor? Only if we value modern society :) (so now my politics come out)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Ichthyic



Posts: 3325
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: June 10 2006,15:37   

only slightly OT, thinking about how government actions will affect the future of sites like antievolution.org, did anybody else know about this:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world....416.ece

soon, if this passes, popular sites like this or PT might start having to pay a "surcharge", simply because they're popular.

the implications, of course, are enormous, and go far beyond PT.

it's one of those "write your congressman NOW!" times.

--------------
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."

-CC

  
  3 replies since June 09 2006,09:02 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

    


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]