POLITICAL SCIENCE – AT 9:53 A.M. ET: Once again the esteemed members of the scientific community have blown an opportunity to prove that they can rise above their political beliefs. Steve Hayward at Power Line has the story, and it's very revealing:
In a post last month I recalled the 2004 remark by Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin in the New York Review of Books that “Most scientists are, at a minimum, liberals,” and the caution of MIT’s Kerry Emanuel about the dangers of “group think” and the “shocking lack of political diversity among American academics.” He concluded that “Until this profound and well-documented intellectual homogeneity changes, scientists will be suspected of constituting a leftist think tank.”
Well, this week the National Academy of Sciences had a chance to do something about this, and . . . completely blew it. A two-day symposium on science and public policy featured a panel of presidential science advisers, but the panel included only advisers to Democratic presidents, including Obama’s science adviser, the egregious John (sterilize the public) Holdren. The others were two advisers for Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter’s science adviser, the 87-year-old Frank Press.
Conspicuously missing from the panel was President Reagan’s science adviser Jay Keyworth, who is a spry 72. (He turns out to be the only living GOP science adviser.) When asked why Keyworth wasn’t invited, NAS president Ralph Cicerone said, “We didn’t want to go back that far.”
Uh, there was a time when scientists were expected to be competent in simple math. I do believe that Carter preceded Reagan. Am I wrong? Please e-mail me if I am.
So let’s see: having Jimmy Carter’s 87-year-old science adviser apparently isn’t “going back that far,” but having Reagan’s still active 72-year old science adviser would be? And please tell me again why we shouldn’t regard scientific elites with suspicion?
COMMENT: I think that part of the problem is that many modern academics believe that their job is not to seek the truth, but to promote "a higher truth," or, as it's called in the academy, "an alternative narrative." Scientists can be just as susceptible to this lure as anyone else.
Real scientists must work hard to restore the reputation of their profession. I don't see much enthusiasm for doing that, especially as the grants just keep coming.
May 24, 2012