Science and Congress

Scientists and congressmen don’t always see eye to eye on subjects involving science. It isn’t the most equitable relationship. A scientist who takes a dim view of what a congressman is doing only really has a handful of options – the same sort of options we all have over these onerous old men – campaign against them, vote against them, et cetera.

When a congressman doesn’t like what a scientist is doing, however – then they can just cut their grants. These studies – approved by the NIH – were aimed at HIV prevention in populations identified as vulnerable. And the doctors, professional administrators, and trained public health officials – people who work hard at understanding the tradeoffs in protection versus money spent – approved of them. But a congressman, the media-friendly Darrell Issa (he earns one of them fancy “R”s behind his name) of the always rational state of California, didn’t like them. So he’s attempting to block the funding.

Of course, if you’ve got a pseudo-scientific idea you’d like to get funding for, congress can be just as helpful as Issa isn’t. Even as the NCCAM funded 2.2 billion dollars (I’ve also heard 2.5, but who’s counting?) worth of alternative medicine studies and found nothing useful – they’re still defending it. And they’re spending our money on it.

But the woo pours in closer to home, as well. By now, you may well have seen a petition from Personhood Mississippi a pro-life, anti-cloning/stem cell organization. They want legislation defining human life as something that begins at the fertilization of sperm and egg.

Now, your abortion beliefs should be your own and if you want a law against abortion, by all means get one passed through the proper channels, and see if the supreme court upholds it. That’s how these sort of things should work. But these guys are taking a not-entirely new, entirely disingenuous manner of – defining human life.

And their definition is one that has been beaten in a few court cases so far (one wonders if they research this sort of thing) – and a highly troubling one.

The “sperm + egg” definition makes birth control pills illegal (a monthly murder!) an ectopic pregnancy into a murder/suicide, and numerous other bizarre conflicts of interest.

So, by skirting the non-political requirements on tax-exempt churches (many in Mississippi are not) the personhoood Mississippi people are getting signatures in church. But once it gets out into the political world, I’m sure we won’t be hearing the last of it.

Ah, politics – is there anything it’s lich-like touch cannot corrupt?

One response to “Science and Congress

  1. Pingback: Science » STARBASE exercises kids’ brains - Journal & Sunday Journal

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