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Pro-Science President
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In this Nature article regarding Ron Reagan's speech and stem cell research, they note:


Kerry has been positioning himself as a pro-science candidate throughout his campaign, visiting NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday and speaking out on embryonic stem cells. "We need a president who believes in science, and who is prepared to invest America's efforts to cure Parkinson's and AIDS and diabetes and Alzheimer's and do stem-cell research," he said.


Now, I'm obviously very pro-science, very interested in science...and I'm really wondering which party and President is more pro-science (or perhaps, less anti-science).

First, on the stem cell issue, as I've said before, I strongly support such research, but I won't pretend that it doesn't come with a large amount of controversial baggage. It's a morally thorny issue, and I don't think the Bush compromise (allowing existing stem cell lines to be used for research) was an altogether unreasonable one. As this Forbes article notes, in March 17 new stem cell lines were announced by the private research institute at Harvard, demonstrating that not all good research has to be funded with Federal dollars.

When it comes to space exploration, as this article notes:


Kerry doesn't talk about space on the campaign trail. And while President Bush announced in January a bold proposal that would resume human flights to the moon and eventually to Mars, he almost immediately dropped the subject even neglecting to mention it days later in his State of the Union address.


As with stem cell research, I don't necessarily want to see massive new funding for NASA. What I would like to see, especially from Republicans, is praise for private space flight, the sort of entrepreneurial, competitive, free-market vision that they're supposed to love. I'd like to hear the candidates talk about more deregulation of space and a new era of space exploration led by private industry. Sigh.

If anything, Democrats seem more hostile towards the idea of spending money on space exploration. The party of John F. Kennedy seems to have become much less visionary and much more insular. Kennedy tapped into American imagination and our competitive spirit, though that competition was primarily with the Soviet Union. But a visionary today could tap into that same spirit, noting competition among entrepreneurs and innovators. Kerry said:


"Given the Bush budget deficit, it is imperative that we balance funding for a manned mission to Mars against critical domestic needs as well, such as education and health care," Kerry told The Associated Press.


And this is a common refrain from Democrats. What are we doing in space when we can't take care of problems down here? Without realizing that "up there" and "down here" are linked. That innovation creates new industry which creates new jobs and greater prosperity.

On other issues, such as energy, Bush has spoken out in favor of hydrogen cell technology, though from what I understand of it, it's not much of a solution. Bush's missile shield sounds like pretty bad science too.

And earlier this year, a bunch of reputable scientists spoke out about what they see as abuses of science by the Federal government:


According to the scientists, the Bush administration has, among other abuses, suppressed and distorted scientific analysis from federal agencies, and taken actions that have undermined the quality of scientific advisory panels.


But as bad as Bush seems to be on the issue of science, I can't help but wonder if Kerry is really any better.


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