Thursday, February 02, 2006

State of the Union and Science.

I was fortunate enough to have slept through the President's SOTUS but I have been picking up some of the highlights from various sources. I saw enough footage to know that the two parties seem to have adopted the British parliamentary system that we use up here in Canada where both sides hoot and holler like drunken howler monkeys. When Curious George mentioned that his plan to fix social security failed the Hillary and the Democrats were applauding and smiling in a way that one might if one's brain just fell out of one's ass. They have no alternative plan other than borrow until they bleed, but they have their own retirement plans tied up so giving fair warning of the end of the plan is not their concern. They can probably be assured that it will not collapse until after they are out of politics. The smiling has nothing to do with the quality of the plan Bush was offering (though given the source it was probably pretty bad) but had everything to do with having defeated the very concept of a need to fix Social Security (or warn people to stop depending on it) and after having rebranded it as a partisan Republican issue. Smile away guys. It was an artful partisan maneuver.

But I have also read some of what the ring-leader had to say. He seems to be trying to be the science president now due to the criticism of his administration's science policy. Granted, if you are interested only in the physical sciences you might be enthused.
First, I propose to double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next 10 years. This funding will support the work of America's most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.
Physical science is singled out rather than those nasty old life sciences that create messy things like stem cells, evolutionists, bird flu and stuff. I should not give the impression that he did not talk about biology but lets get to that later.
Second, I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit to encourage bolder private-sector initiatives in technology.
A free market initiative? I didn't think George had it in him.
Third, we need to encourage children to take more math and science, and to make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations.
Like the school system that produced South Carolina Governor Mark Santon who seems to have an interesting view of the theory of evolution:
The idea of their being a, you know, a little mud hole and two mosquitoes get together and the next thing you know you have a human being... is completely at odds with, you know, one of the laws of thermodynamics which is the law of, of.. in essence, destruction.
And you don't need a PhD level understanding of the law of destruction to see that most other nations have better school systems that South Carolina's. In the old days, when we wanted to criticize a theory we would actually read something about it first. Call me an old fuddy duddy.

As I mentioned, it seems Georgio did get around to mentioning biology during his speech as part of his new pro science agenda. He calling on his comrades to help him pass an anti-mad scientist bill that would help limit medical research even further. PZ Meyers gives a good example of how this will impact medicine by discussing the use of mice with human genes as an animal model for Down syndrome.

In short, I am glad I missed the speech.

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