For some reason American politicians are being asked to weigh in on matters scientific, notably global warming and evolution. I’d love to know what Angela Merkel thinks of the models supporting climate change (she has a PhD in physics after all). Why a governor’s or representative’s opinion on something far beyond their area of expertise should be of interest is beyond me.
To join in the fun, here are a few more questions for politicians, that I doubt you’ll find anyone in the press asking.
#1. This year a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (volume 108 pp. 11790 – 117930) contained the following “Data for global surface temperature indicate little warming between 1998 and 2008. Furthermore, global surface temperature declined .2 degrees Centigrade between 2005 and 2008″. Data are data, and the paper went on to try and explain why. Do you find these explanations convincing?
#2. Do you think race is a scientific concept? Now that we can sequence the genomes of many people so easily, people are writing papers like the following [ Science vol. 328 p. 1342 '10 ] showing a common genetic ancestry for Jews. Another study [ Science vol. 324 p. 575 '09 ] studied 98 American Blacks, 3194 blacks from 113 African populations and 952 people from all over, showing that only 71% of the American Black genome is from western Africa, and 13% is from Europeans. It appears to validate the concept of race. Do you think this sort of research should be stopped? promoted? Hitler would have had a field day with it. If elected would you support or oppose such research?
#3. Do you think intelligence is hereditary? Assuming IQ testing actually measures intelligence, most studies support some degree of heritability. Do you think group differences in IQ results mean anything? Should IQ testing be stopped? Assuming race exists (see #2) how do you explain differences in IQ between races? What would you do about it if elected?
#4. We are embarking on a huge social experiment. Existing children are being adopted by same sex couples, and produced by artificial insemination and surrogate motherhood. Are you aware of any studies concerning the rate of mental illness, drug use, criminality in such offspring. Should such a study be done? Would you fund it if elected?
Don’t hold your breath until such questions are asked of people running for office.