Obama answers Sciencedebate questions

How good is this. The Intersection and Greg Laden point it out…

Some highlights:
On stem cells:

I recognize that some people object to government support of research that requires cells to be harvested from human embryos. However, hundreds of thousands of embryos stored in the U.S. in in-vitro fertilization clinics will not be used for reproductive purposes, and will eventually be destroyed. I believe that it is ethical to use these extra embryos for research that could save lives when they are freely donated for that express purpose.

I am also aware that there have been suggestions that human stem cells of various types, derived from sources other than embryos, make the use of embryonic stem cells unnecessary. I don’t agree. While adult stem cells, such as those harvested from blood or bone marrow, are already used for treatment of some diseases, they do not have the versatility of embryonic stem cells and cannot replace them. Recent discoveries indicate that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed to behave like stem cells; these are exciting findings that might in the future lead to an alternate source of highly versatile stem cells. However, embryonic stem cells remain the “gold standard,” and studies of all types of stem cells should continue in parallel for the foreseeable future.

Big fat “YES!!!”

On NIH and other federal institutes:

Federal support for the physical sciences and engineering has been declining as a fraction of GDP for decades, and, after a period of growth of the life sciences, the NIH budget has been steadily losing buying power for the past six years. As a result, our science agencies are often able to support no more than one in ten proposals that they receive, arresting the careers of our young scientists and blocking our ability to pursue many remarkable recent advances. Furthermore, in this environment, scientists are less likely to pursue the risky research that may lead to the most important breakthroughs. Finally, we are reducing support for science at a time when many other nations are increasing it, a situation that already threatens our leadership in many critical areas of science.

This situation is unacceptable. As president, I will increase funding for basic research in physical and life sciences, mathematics, and engineering at a rate that would double basic research budgets over the next decade.

He did indeed say “unacceptable”… almost as good as “ENOUGH”

On Scientific Integrity:

More broadly, I am committed to creating a transparent and connected democracy, using cutting-edge technologies to provide a new level of transparency, accountability, and participation for America’s citizens. Policies must be determined using a process that builds on the long tradition of open debate that has characterized progress in science, including review by individuals who might bring new information or contrasting views. I have already established an impressive team of science advisors, including several Nobel Laureates, who are helping me to shape a robust science agenda for my administration.

A panel of college graduates would have been enough for me but I’ll take the Nobel Laureates (just not the ones that do nothing but surf all day).

Good stuff… congrats to all of those that put this together.

11 responses to “Obama answers Sciencedebate questions

  1. As president, I will increase funding for basic research in physical and life sciences, mathematics, and engineering at a rate that would double basic research budgets over the next decade.

    Last I checked, Obama was running for President, not King. There is this pesky little thing called the Congress that happens to control the purse of the United States.

  2. Always the realist PP. However, last I checked it was a near certainty that Dems will hold nice majorities in both congressional chambers. I think that this one is readily accomplishable. Moreover, since when did congress actually exert any control over purse strings in terms of funding a certain war?

  3. PP,
    “President” does not equal “king”? WTF? Have you been paying attention these past eight years? You need to cut back on the Bombay Sapphire dude.

  4. PP, who we must now dub “GG” for GrumpyGus misses the point here. We are not naive wide-eyes who imagine that every campaign promise will be delivered. The point is that at least someone is saying the right damn thing this time. Instead of all that stupid wrong headed shit about evildoers. That’s the point.

  5. Precisely

  6. I don’t think GG/PP (Perpetual Pessimist? Petulant Pouter?) is missing any points. I just think he loves to tweak the citizens of ObamaNation. Even the fairly rational, non-swoon-y ones.

  7. I like Obama and I think he should be President, but in my lifetime I’ve heard a number of great speeches from candidates for President or for Prime Minister (I’m a Canuck, byt he way) and not a whole lot ever really changes. If it does, it’s slowly. So although he sounds great and his support of science is commendable, let’s see what happens when he gets in.

  8. PP is just upset that Clinton is not on the ticket. GET OVER IT!

  9. Citizens (and often circumstances) usually have to push the government to implement changes, but it helps to have a president who is open to change. Thus far, Obama has shown himself as such, and I’m digging it.

  10. Funkyneuron wrote:

    I’ve heard a number of great speeches from candidates for President or for Prime Minister (I’m a Canuck, byt he way) and not a whole lot ever really changes. If it does, it’s slowly.

    and “let’s see what happens when he gets in

    Precisely. That’s how Obama plans to get elected. He’s running on promises of “change you can believe in” but his actions say “not that much change and not that fast.”

    Thus he wants to rally the Dem base by promising sweeping change and simultaneously placate the entrenched interests by persuading them that their boats will not be rocked.

    Doing both is, of course, impossible. Somebody is going to have to be let down if he’s elected.

    But at least he understands one crucial point, which is not lost on his Rovian competitors either – getting elected is NOT about what you are actually going to do, getting elected is about “perception management.”

    We have seen what happens when a candidate promises sweeping reform and makes no promises to the establishment: that candidate gets a big fat media blackout, and any memory of his having campaigned is erased from the collective. John Edwards, anyone?

    We can nail Obie for not always telling the truth straight out, and that is good because it helps up the level of the debate.

    However, we must realize, as he does, that doing so would make him absolutely unelectable.

    The GOP, conversely, starts out from the assumption that it is all about lying and treachery. That’s why they love Palin so much: of course they know she’s a lying backstabber. That’s just the kind of candidate they like.

    As for “let’s see what he does when he gets in”, that’s not a given by a long shot. For a number of reasons:

    The Military-Industrial-Political-Complex is not behind him.

    The mainstream media is not behind him. Even on the internet the main buzz right now is how cool Palin is and how she’s just like Every American Mom.

    AIPAC will, of course, support the McCain/Obama ticket over Obama/Biden.

    The Rovites will, of course, have control over the voting machines again during this election. Yes, the same voting machines that the manufacturers refuse to fix election after botched election. The same, easily hackable, insecurable machines that “company workers” access before the votes get tallied.

    Also expect more shenanigans designed to prevent Democratic voters, particularly poor black people, from having their vote in Ohio, Florida, and other battleground states.

    There are a lot of serious, deep, basic flaws in the US political process right now, and the machinery is all geared towards making it worse.

    It will take an overwhelming popular vote for Obama to turn it around. Enough to overcome the percentage points the GOP will gain by cheating and fraud, plus enough to overcome the constant propaganda barrage of the mainstream media.

    And that is not a given, despite his lead in the polls right now.

    A strong point for Obama is that he will get votes of people like me, who don’t believe all the promises, but are basically casting a vote “against” the candidate they don’t want.

    I’m hoping to stall the trainwreck that American politics is heading towards, and I would like to believe – although as I get older, even this hope fades – the America people, as a whole, have the common sense to try to get the Constitutional government back on track.

    Unfortunately, as I look out across the American political landscape, the amount of common sense I see is not real inspirational.

  11. What’s he going to do for us agriculture-based researchers? We going to get some love too? And not just in the area of GMOs.

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