Speaking before the National Academy of Sciences today, President Barak Obama said that in recent years,
… scientific integrity has been undermined and scientific research politicized in an effort to advance predetermined ideological agendas.
And, as noted on the White House blog, “The President gave the context in his remarks”:
On March 9th, I signed an executive memorandum with a clear message: Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over. Our progress as a nation – and our values as a nation – are rooted in free and open inquiry. To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy. It is contrary to our way of life.
That’s why I have charged John Holdren in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy with leading a new effort to ensure that federal policies are based on the best and most unbiased scientific information. I want to be sure that facts are driving scientific decisions – and not the other way around.
As part of this effort, we’ve already launched a website that allows individuals to not only make recommendations to achieve this goal, but to collaborate on those recommendations; it is a small step, but one that is creating a more transparent, participatory and democratic government.
That website is linked here.
The President also talked about the importance of science education. As has happened so often already during his brief time so far in office, prepared remarks were overtaken by the crises du jour. He had no choice but to talk about the Swine Flu scare while addressing the National Academy of Sciences, so of course that’s what the media reported from his speech. And at the same time he was speaking, the CEO of General Motors was outlining GM’s plans to survive by closing plants and laying off large numbers of workers.
Still, in the face of all that, the Obama administration is taking stands for the integrity of science and science education.
- Here is the audio of the President’s remarks: (click to play | rollover for inline player | right-click to download).
- Click here for the text of his speech.
- Click here for the video.