Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Paperback Republican War on Science

Chris Mooney is doing his book tour for the paperback release of his book, The Republican War on Science, and I got to see him do his presentation and finally pick up a copy of the book myself.

His presentation was quite good, focusing more on what to do than on trying to prove the thesis of his book. A lot of his discussion concerned global warming, which is great. Two points I'd disagree somewhat with - first, he drew a stronger distinction between improving science education versus improving science policy than I would. Science education will build a constituency for stronger science policy.

Second, he politely disagreed with a questioner about targeting the nearby Congressman Richard Pombo, who's tried to do terrible things to the Endangered Species Act. Chris is right that the national Democratic party should prioritize the most vulnerable and anti-science Republicans, and Pombo isn't the most vulnerable. That doesn't mean that us locals going after Pombo is a useless act, though. If his re-election is closer than he'd like, he might modify the zealousness of some his more stupid proposals. Finally, although Chris wouldn't be expected to know this, Pombo has some corruption problems. If things break the wrong way for him, Pombo could be in real trouble.

It might not be that much of a stretch though for an anti-science congressman to have corruption problems. At heart, they're lying about objective facts - if they're willing to do that, lying for their own gain isn't too far away.

UPDATE: Chris writes about the signing here. I should clarify that Chris didn't say opposing Pombo is useless, just that it shouldn't be a national priority.

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