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What is PF doing having a Politics section

  1. Feb 9, 2006 #1

    Nereid

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    What is PF doing having a "Politics" section ...

    [rant] ... if there are essentially no threads in here discussing the way in which politics (and world affairs) shape (public) policy on physics (and science in general)?

    I mean, a political appointee at NASA (with a journalism major, but no science training) https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=108514" the scientists who work there, on the content of the scientific findings those scientists present to the public?

    Worse, when that same appointee tells staff, in an email, that "The Big Bang is “not proven fact; it is opinion [...] It is not NASA’s place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator." ... and this thread gets a miserly 8 posts and a mere 190 views, while we have dozens of threads that seem to me to have little content than multiple repetitions of certain posters' personal views.

    Sure, not everyone has a concern about astronomy, and some members may even think it 'a good thing' for political appointees to try to impose their ID and creationist views on public pronouncements by NASA scientists, but why so little discussion on this here?
    [/rant]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2006 #2

    Evo

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    I have to agree, it's time for a shift in the P&WA forum here. This is, after all, a forum dedicated to science, so discussion based on politics that affect science and academic pursuits in general should be the primary, if not the sole focus.
     
  4. Feb 9, 2006 #3
    So why have a "Technology" Forum either? You hardly see any posts in there regarding the way "Technology shapes Physics" Typically its, "can you help me fix this problem I am seeing"

    If you dont want the traffic this forum generates, then by all means you can send it my way :)

    And what about "General Discussion" what has that got to do with Science??
     
  5. Feb 9, 2006 #4

    Evo

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    It's a forum for discussing technology. :smile:

    General discussion is for "general discussion".

    Poiltical forums with the types of discussions we have here are all over the internet. A finer tuned agenda for the political forum here would be a nice differentiator and a move in the right direction.
     
  6. Feb 9, 2006 #5
    Seems to me a case of fixing something till its broken :)

    The difference between the debates that happen here compared to the other sites all over the internet is the people who are debating...

    Anyway good luck...
     
  7. Feb 9, 2006 #6

    SOS2008

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    A long time ago I asked why this section isn't included under "Other Sciences" as Political Science, and then have a sub forum within that for current events. That's basically what is discussed here. But even this is different from General Discussion where members joke around and chat about all sorts of trivia. Certainly this is just as serious as Philosophy, Economics, etc., which are no more related to physics or mathematics than politics is.
     
  8. Feb 9, 2006 #7
    Nereid, will all due respect, are they many science issues other than the NASA one you have provided? I did not even know about that one until you presented it, btw thank you for doing so. But to be blunt, I think this kind of topic is, and I am trying to be careful with my words here, of small magnitude compared to some of the things done by Bush's administration. Hence they get little air time on the general media, or in here.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2006 #8
    Exactly, good point, well presented, couldnt and didnt say it better myself :approve:
     
  10. Feb 9, 2006 #9

    Art

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    NASA has long been seen as an instrument of the government so I suppose folk just aren't that surprised that the administration would have a resident political officer on site to make sure they all sing out of the right hymn book.

    Even as far back as 1960 NASA took part in a government lie to try and cover up the loss of Gary Powers spy plane. They got caught redhanded so once credibility is lost it's very hard to ever regain it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-2_Crisis_of_1960
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  11. Feb 9, 2006 #10
    I agree with AntTech, the wonderful thing here is that people here are insightful, respectful (though some times sharp in their comments) and they do not spout opinions with out some reasoning behind it.

    In short... Smart people debating politics is a rare thing on the Internet.
     
  12. Feb 9, 2006 #11

    Art

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    Hear! Hear! :approve:
     
  13. Feb 9, 2006 #12

    Evo

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    We discussed making the forum a Political Science forum, but then the type of discussions that currently go on here would not qualify under the new guidelines, and not sure how many people here would qualify as Political Scientists, it would have very specific guidelines. So either way, I'd say we might be seeing a dramatic change in P&WA in the near future. Just what exactly has not been decided.

    Since Nereid brought it up, I believe the direction we will see is politics as they relate to science, if the forum stays open at all.
     
  14. Feb 9, 2006 #13

    Art

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    If it is decided to close or substantially change this forum would it be possible to provide sufficient notice for the regular contributors here to organise themselves and find another home? :smile:
     
  15. Feb 9, 2006 #14

    PerennialII

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    Yeah, no reason to throw something away 'simply' because it seems difficult for 'some' to form a coherent argument and behave. As much as PaWA makes :grumpy: at times, there are some truly fine posts and discussion in there (and anyways, take it out and the stuff will just flow to GD).
     
  16. Feb 9, 2006 #15

    russ_watters

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    The intelligent design thing has been big lately. Hurricane Katrina provided much debate regarding the technical and political issues of the levee system. Energy policy is always an issue.
    But that's just it (and to others too) - this is a physics forum. It isn't much of a stretch to see the need to discuss other sciences, technology, and engingineering in an expanded-scope scientific discussion, but what use do purely political discussions have on a physics forum?

    Important or not, they do not fit the mission of this site.
     
  17. Feb 9, 2006 #16

    Moonbear

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    While no decisions have been made yet, it might be wise to start thinking very seriously about that if your only interest in PF is the P&WA forum.

    I agree with Nereid. Forums with the sort of content we currently have in P&WA are a dime a dozen on the internet. Forums where science policy is the focus are rather rare, and it makes little sense why a site dedicated to science education should continue hosting political topics that are entirely unrelated to science, when there are plenty of places that can do this better than us. We're not political scientists and don't want to be.
     
  18. Feb 9, 2006 #17
    :frown: But I wont get to argue with my buddies, Russ, Chroot, warren, sos, and art. :cry:

    I say greg makes a spin off of PF, why it could still be PF, political forums! We could have two PFS! Membership could span to either one! I like where this idea is going!
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  19. Feb 9, 2006 #18

    SOS2008

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    I think the same can be said about the "Other Sciences" section. I tried posting economic topics under Economics and got nothing. Since economics is closely related to politics (thus there is such a thing as majoring in political economy), I found much more participation in this section so have stayed in here since.

    Certainly it is up to PF/Greg, etc., to choose what the forum consists of. It just seems the logic of the argument then would be to remove all other sciences not related to physics or mathematics. There are a couple of other sites I would be happy to recommend to members if it is decided to close this section.
     
  20. Feb 9, 2006 #19

    Evo

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    No, political discussions will not be allowed in GD, similar to the decision we made to restrict religious discussions at PF.
     
  21. Feb 9, 2006 #20

    Evo

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    I don't see you not being able to post on the new political topics, actually, I can see the discussions being quite interesting.
     
  22. Feb 9, 2006 #21
    Politics touches everything we do, from every gallon of gas we burn to how we intrepret our very existance. Politics is involved in farming as it is in determining how much tuition you will pay at a state University. Politicians ,for the most part, determine how much scientific research is done. Political appointees determine what may and may not be an ingriedient in your McDonalds hamburger (ja wunt fries withat). :smile:

    EVO is just looking for an excuse to get her out of having to break up all of the food fights in the current forum.:rofl: :wink:
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  23. Feb 9, 2006 #22

    Evo

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    Not really, social science, the new Mind & Brain forum, History stand on their own. "Politics" seems to have become a forum to air gripes about almost anything, there is no real direction, and there are many places on the internet that already do just that. We want to give it some direction.

    You've probably noticed how many forum changes have taken place in the last two months, we've had quite an overhaul, we just hadn't reached down to politics yet.
     
  24. Feb 9, 2006 #23
    Has anyone actually passed this by the web master? Do you have any idea how much traffic this one forum generates? Remove it and you will see a lot less... If that is what you want then so be it...
     
  25. Feb 9, 2006 #24

    SOS2008

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    Also, for a list of basic political science topics - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_science_basic_topics

    I doesn’t matter to me—I spend too much time here. But will you have a Political Scientist be a moderator, as well as an Economist, Philosopher, Psychologist, etc. to assist with the other sciences?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2006
  26. Feb 9, 2006 #25

    Nereid

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    Wow! 23 posts and 153 posts in, what, a few hours!

    And a thread that, IMHO, cuts to the very core of why I'm here (in case folk haven't noticed, I'm a Mentor in the Astronomy and Cosmology section, along with Janus) - political interference in the 'doing' of science at one the world's premier astronomy and space science agencies (OK, in how the work of the scientists at that agency convey their results to the American taxpayers and other global citizens) - garners but <10 posts in dozens and dozens of hours? And that political intervention (apparently) motivated by the same strains of anti-science thinking as brought us the Scopes trial, vigorous attacks on the 'separation of church and state' (is that how it is in the US constitution?), 'evolution is just another theory', and so on?!?!?

    Oh yes, I make no bones about it - I'm almost as astonished at how little attention Deutsch's (alleged) behaviour attracted here in the P&WA section of PF as I am by how low key the whole affair seems to have been treated in the popular US press.

    How do you say 'slippery slope' in political-sciencese? Why aren't (US) regular P&WA contributors out there storming the barrackades? Is it just 'oh well, those astronomers and cosmologists don't do any real physics, so who cares if a total (science) ignoramus muzzles them and/or gets them to add "opinions differ, be sure to add the appropriate scriptual text every time you mention universe or cosmology", the science which I do won't ever be affected by ID-ers and creationists!'?

    [Yes, I'm upset; when I cool down I may write in more measured tones]
     
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