“The Geek in the Room”

During the last state of the union Barack Obama repeatedly expounded upon the value of American innovation to propel our future. He elaborated on the spirit of ingenuity of the American people to innovate. One would probably gather that he believes that the American people can develop some sort of technology to further our economy. That would imply that we need some sort of scientific breakthrough to develop for our future, thus we need to increase funding to our schools to be sure that we continue to be world leaders in science. It’s fairly safe to say that educating the youth of America in science so that they may be better equipped for the problems of the future. This doesn’t seem like an incredible intuitive leap or rocket science.

So for the rest of you engineers out there kudos for following the state of the union. For everyone else feel free to berate those students or at least that’s what the Republican Party seems to want to do. Why should we believe scientists? I mean who can ever really know what they are talking about? As the Daily Show recently observed, that whole peer review system is like having a rapist tried by a group of rapists. Doubting the world of science is nothing new among politicians. Almost every current republican candidate has denied the existence of global warming despite scientific consensus. I can understand that as a politician it would be advantageous to vilify purveyors of such bad news but if you could hold off for a little bit we would all appreciate it.

Frankly looking around there are plenty of problems that we need help with still. A study funded by oil companies even just came out and said global warming is an issue. Deforestation, endangered species, decreasing biodiversity, food scarcity, clean water, waste management, epidemics, dwindling resources, these are all intimidating and pressing issues that I want the greatest minds of our generation to be working on. I don’t want them spending their time defending their work against an ignorant media and even more ignorant group of politicians. Even more than that, I would like to see our country capable of awing the world again. When Neil Armstrong took those steps on the moon, the American flag meant the triumph of man. That day every man, woman, and child who could watch that on television saw an America that did something incredible for the entire race. So sure NASA is a billion dollar boondoggle, scientific reviews are nebulous at best, they speak in jargon that many find unintelligible, they wear funny coats and glasses, but please stop and take a second and thank the scientific community for working toward fixing our problems and awing us again.

Side Note: Why do we help Hamid Karzai? He comes out and said that he would side with Pakistan if the United States entered in a conflict with Pakistan then Afghanistan would side with Pakistan against the United States. Why are we helping his government keep peace? Who needs enemies when we have friends like Hamid Karzai?