Science & Technology
The United States leads the world in scientific and technological advances, a fact that has resulted in the development of new forms of communication, the curing of diseases, cleaner forms of energy, and improvements to so many aspects of our lives. Such progress is only possible through the investment of federal money into research programs and by promoting the work of scientists and innovators. As an accomplished researcher who has received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health, I can tell you personally that the scientific enterprise is difficult. Funding for scientific research is limited, grants are correspondingly difficult to obtain, and the collection of data is a rigorous and time consuming process. I favor increasing the budget for the National Institutes of Health and other scientific agencies within the federal government to speed the development of new medical cures and the delivery of technological innovations. Such an investment will pay dividends down the road and makes good financial sense.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the hostility that far too many Americans hold toward scientists and the scientific endeavor. By definition, the goal of science is to acquire new knowledge and, as evidence accumulates, it can force us to revise what we believe about the world. Understandably, this may be difficult for many conservatives who favor traditional explanations and policies based on personal or religious beliefs. Science cannot answer questions of morality or ethics, but lawmakers and the general public must not disparage scientists simply because the results of scientific investigations are inconvenient for one's political position. Rather, we should appreciate and respect scientists as having an important perspective that can provide useful information for those tasked with making policy decisions.