Posted by: Dan | October 22, 2008

Obama on the Brain

NeurObama 08 by gpot9883

“Scientists agree that Obama has their best interests at heart and will lead this country along a pathway of innovation and discovery.”



  1. How about Obama in your brain? Can you as a scientific guy tell me specifically WHAT you will be getting from an Obama administration that you will not get from McCain or from some other Democratic candidate four years hence?

    What’s the hurry? And why should a sense of urgency cause you to be suspicious?

    Ever bought a used car, Dan? Hope you checked out the car and ignored the salesman.



    I link you again to my “enlightening” article. Would love to hear your thoughts, but the link within my link is a 67 page document that takes reading as well as additional research into Milton Erickson’s psychological research.

    Did you know that your guy smokes? And I wonder why he doesn’t want you to know that even though he was totally up front about his cocaine use in Dreams of my Father?

  2. Since you offer a substantive question:

    Can you as a scientific guy tell me specifically WHAT you will be getting from an Obama administration that you will not get from McCain or from some other Democratic candidate four years hence?

    Two things, primarily:

    1. Science funding. Obama recognizes that fully 50% of the GDP in the US economy has been tied to advances in science and technology in the latter half of the 20th century, and continued science funding is the best way to continue growth of the GDP over the long-term. McCain and Palin would likely continue Bush’s trend in slowly reducing federal science funding, while Obama has specifically said this trend would be reversed under his administration.

    2. A science advisory board. Obama has already listed who he would have as science and technology advisers. And he generally talks as though he knows what he’s talking about – suggesting that he actually knows what he’s talking about. No such luck with the McCain team, with some specific gaffes on their part that I could mention if you like.

  3. For more, check out Science Debate 2008:
    “The candidates answers to the top 14 science questions facing America.”

  4. Alex has another (better?) explanation Why the vast majority of scientists are supporting the Democrats.

  5. Where is Alex’s evidence? Most? Who? His friends?

    Not science. Sorry.

  6. For a brief example of the massive support for Obama coming from scientists.

    76 Nobel laureates endorse Obama. McCain? 0

    Massive number of Op-Eds endorse Obama because of science

    A Vote for Science has the “I’m a scientist and I’m voting for…” Youtube challenge.

  7. ANF,

    You want data?
    Read Chris Mooney’s book The Republican War on Science.
    Read Thomas Frank’s book The Wrecking Crew.
    Read Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

    Most years, about 10% of scientists vote for the GOP, but this year not a single conservative scientist that I know of supported McCain. Belief what you will, I’m telling it like it is.

  8. Dear apalazzo,

    Taking a poll of one’s friends obviously isn’t science. Is it? Moreover, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (if you’ll pardon the pun) to recognize that scientists as a collection of human beings can be as easily affected negatively by peer pressure as any other group of human beings.

    Once you’ve made it anathema to be an icky Republican, it’s most unlikely that people will eagerly come forward and embrace the label.

    I’ve been in settings where “everybody” is a Democrat all the time. Once it was at a kid’s birthday party. A mother began her sentence asking the hostesse if she was familiar with the latest “stupid thing” the Republicans had done. Then she reconsidered and with a disgusted look added, “I guess I shouldn’t say that — maybe someone is a Republican.” And then she asked, “is anyone a Republican?” with the same look of contempt on her face.

    Needless to say, I did not raise my hand.

    Quite the contrary, I slipped out of the room to join the children in another part of the house. The children were of an age not to care about labels and happily accept other people as they are.

    If you want to foster tolerance for views within your discipline, my advice is to relax your prejudice. You might be surprised how diverse the views can be when you stop stigmatizing people for being so terribly uncool.

    The prejudice against Republicans in various sectors is quite different from something like racism. An black person obviously cannot conceal being black. But it’s quite easy to conceal being a Republican.

    So, your survey proves absolutely zilch.

    Best wishes,


  9. ANF,
    You really shouldn’t pretend that you have a clue what you’re talking about. I mean:

    “But it’s quite easy to conceal being a Republican.”

    Oh they’re all hiding and trying to not let us know that they’re Republicans? What a pathetic rationalization to deny the obvious – Scientists are overwhelmingly rejecting Republican policies. They’re not the standard demographic though, that’s true. I’d love to see a poll myself, but I really doubt that “Are you a scientist?” is asked by pollsters during elections.

  10. Dan,

    What is evident to me is your prejudice which you do not even recognize as being prejudice. Also it’s quite obvious that your notion of what constitutes a Republican is stereotyped.

    Either you respect intellectual diversity or you don’t. What amazes me about your notion of “the scientist” as a demographic is that the sense that scientists “should” all come from the same cookie cutter — even when there are only two types of “cookies” (since for all practical purposes there are only two political parties that matter).

    Certainly you have a narrow world view. Funny that my party should be the genuinely liberal one, even though we don’t wear that label.



  11. A narrow world-view? For pointing out that you don’t know much about scientists or how anti-science Republicanism is in the past ~decade? I must say that it is ironic for you to continue to avoid acknowledging any of the links that Alex and I provided you describing what we’re talking about, which is not something you have any experience in nor have read much about at all, and the best that you can say is “You have a narrow world view.”

    Very ironic.

    But if being informed makes one narrow-minded or prejudiced, even in an Orwellian sense, then I welcome that label.

  12. Another good reference, specifically for abuses of science under the Bush administration, the Union of Concerned Scientists has the A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science. Be sure to check out the time-line format as well. It’s pretty cut-and-dry if you take the time to read up on it a bit.

    Also from the UCS, there are plenty of surveys of federal scientists reporting significant interference in their work. There aren’t many Republicans hiding in those surveys.

  13. And in fairness, Liberals can abuse science sometimes too. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the Department of Human Health and Safety ban vaccinations though, making this complaint pale in comparison to the Republican meddling in more governmental agencies than I knew existed.

  14. Dear Ann,

    Poll of friends? I’m telling you about the views of most individuals here in the department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. Also it is clear that you do not know any scientists. Right now the mood of the community towards the GOP is VERY LOW. Don’t take my words as my opinion but rather as a general consensus of most of the biomedical community of which I am a part and of which you obviously are not part of. I am telling you the facts. Choose to ignore and to reframe what I write, however you would simply be deluding yourself.

  15. apalazzo,

    I am supposed to faint upon hearing the name “Harvard,” I suppose.

    Actually I’m more acquainted with physicists and mathematicians, it’s true — though I never cared enough about their political leanings even to ask whether they are Democrats, Republicans or something else, or whether they care a fig about politics at all.

    As to moods, the “community” that is the polity of the United States of America happens to be a bit cool toward various kinds of bio-medicine. So, it’s tit for tat. The average citizen opposes cloning, for instance, and for quite sensible reasons.

    I cannot quite understand what it is about respect for divergent views that has yours and Dan’s shorts in such knots.

    Do, please, try to get a grip. That ought to be possible even at Harvard.



  16. I cannot quite understand what it is about respect for divergent views that has yours and Dan’s shorts in such knots.

    Such dishonesty.

    Neither Alex nor I said anything whatsoever disrespecting others’ views. We were discussing scientists’ views, and not passing judgment on non-scientists’ views.

  17. “So, it’s tit for tat. The average citizen opposes cloning, for instance, and for quite sensible reasons.”


    Your statement just displays your ignorance. Yes my colleague and I sit around dreaming up ways to clone armies on the dark side of Tatooine!???!!

    What do you have to offer to the discussion? At least by reading my posts and Dan’s blog, you will learn what most bio-medical researchers think of the current situation. Tell me something that I don’t already know. Who are you? Just some anonymous blogger who thinks he/she has something to offer but just recycles the same BS that I can get off of any right-wing blogger. Instead of engaging us in a discussion or learning how a segment of the scientific community (of which you obviously know nothing about) views the current political situation, you just sit there typing out childish caricatures.

  18. Via David Frum’s Diary, for those still oblivious to, or in denial of, the fact that conservative scientists are turning away from the GOP in droves:

    I find it astonishing that conservatives can discuss the election results and their path back to power without addressing the right wing’s increasing estrangement from science. Religious conservatives have refused to acknowledge that evolution is the cornerstone of biological sciences and that the earth and universe are billions of years old, Free market enthusiasts have denied the efficacy and necessity of the Clean Air Act’s protections of the environment and human health. They have also refused to acknowledge Reagan’s leadership role in protecting the stratospheric ozone layer and the successes of the Montreal Protocol in addressing this global problem. It is genuinely difficult to find an adult discussion of climate change on any conservative web site. Conservatives find themselves arrayed against the National Academy of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society and the Academies of Science of many countries.

    Science was transformed into a partisan affair by Gingrich et al.. Prior to that time, many Republicans could be counted upon as realists concerning nature. Lincoln signed the legislation founding the National Academy of Science. T. Roosevelt established rule-making agencies that valued scientific expertise above political influence. Nixon founded the EPA and was important in passing the Clear Air Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. He appointed Ruckelshaus as EPA’s initial director. The major steps to protect the stratospheric ozone layer were made with the conscious leadership of Reagan and Bush I. Now Republican candidates are required to nod in the direction of creationism and the young earth. McCain’s brave stand acknowledging the reality of climate change cost him dearly among the most partisan Republicans. They stayed home.

    I was trained by conservative scientists who worked under a Republican administered EPA to establish the scientific foundations for the Clean Air Act regulations that have saved thousands of lives. I studied ozone depletion under Reagan. Now, practitioners who follow the data are slandered by Conservatives. 200 countries have ratified the Montreal Protocol. The world’s turn away from the release of CFCs has clearly resulted in arresting the decreases in ozone that triggered the Protocol. Poor Rush and his minions are unable to acknowledge this fundamental fact. They use Montreal Protocol as a slur. The Right Wing is estranged from both science and reality. Educated Americans are increasingly seeing a Republican Party that will lie about science to satisfy dogmatists and ideologues. Increasingly science and technology are defining the environment within which the market and policy must succeed. You are losing those who understand this century. How can Republicans rebuild their winning coalition when they insist that its members deny physical reality?

    James Charles Wilson
    John Evans Professor
    Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering
    University of Denver

  19. I’m not gonna write again and please dont try to talk to me I was just reading this and i wanted to ask you one question…

    How did it go from talking about Obama (which i think the world is gonna end because of him; but you can think he’s the Messiah if you want) to who went where, and who’s qualified and who’s not?

    Get over yourselves and stay on topic…it’s easier to follow that way…

    Don’t mean to be harsh but that’s the cold hard turkey of it.

    New Kid

    P.S. please dont email me

  20. New Kid,
    You have a point, and I’ve completely lost patience with ANF’s inability to stay on topic. Sorry for letting this person divert the conversation.


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