Wallflowers II: Where’s the Science Adviser?

Obama promised.

Barack Obama promised in the campaign to restore proper science advice to the presidency (here, question 12):

I will restore the basic principle that government decisions should be based on the best- available, scientifically-valid evidence and not on the ideological predispositions of agency officials or political appointees.[snip]

[I will] strengthen the role of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) by appointing experts who are charged to provide independent advice on critical issues of science and technology. The PCAST will once again be advisory to the president.

Obama already has a decent advisory panel already, so where’s the appointment of the science adviser (in his apparent scheme, the Chair of PCAST)? Few other decisions can signal more strongly that policy will be based on reality. We can agree that economics isn’t science, but Obama’s other two domestic priorities – climate change and health care – cry out for scientific input. This is especially important when agency heads are chosen, as several have been, for executive and political skills rather than wonk cred.

(10-day wait for unacknowledged takeup by MSM and Big Bloggers)

Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web