Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Breaking down the grades for Bush Administration science

Science got a surprising emphasis in yesterday's State of the Union speech by Bush. The President receives some well-deserved kicks from science bloggers, but I think it's useful to split up and grade the administration's general performance so far by category:


Use of science in politicized issues (global warming, evolution, etc.): F. I agree with almost everything Chris Mooney has had to say on this subject.

Support for non-politicized science issues (i.e., funding general research): B. This doesn't get as much attention, but under normal circumstances, this would be the most important part of any president's science policy. As far as I know, Bush has mostly avoided interfering as Congress has attempted to increase science funding. This would normally be the most important effect on science 50 years down the line, but we have an abnormal circumstance - Bush's fiddling while the globe warms. That could end up being even more important.

Supporting politicized science: D-plus. Slightly different from the first category - this isn't about using the science but about making that science better. On stem cells he gets an F, on climate change a B-minus (funding for research seems reasonable), endangered species research and Data Quality Act a D to a C.

Space science: C. Same grade I'd give previous administrations - a B for unmanned space science funding, and F for pretending that manned space has anything to do with science. Earlier last year there was an attempt to cut earth observation satellites, which I suspect was intended to slow the accumulating proof of climate change, but that's just a suspicion. Some other shenanigans like a nuclear ion engine to Pluto have been attempted and fought off.

It would be reasonable to reduce every grade by one full letter to reflect how Bush budget deficits will cripple us in the future on all matters, including science funding. As for his promised increases yesterday, I'll wait to see what he submits in terms of funding for the '07 fiscal budget.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.