Bring Back the OTA  

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mark Hoofnagle at denialism blog is concerned about the lack of scientific analysis within the government. In 1994 the Office of Technology Assessment had their funding cut and since it has not been possible for them to advise Congress as they had in the past.

It used to be, for about 30 years (from 1974 to 1995), there was an office on the Hill, named the Office of Technology Assessment, which worked for the legislative branch and provided non-partisan scientific reports relevant to policy discussions. It was a critical office, one that through thorough and complete analysis of the scientific literature gave politicians common facts from which to decide policy debates.

Mark would like for you and I to convince Congress to fund this group once again. I agree with him. The group isn't responsible for policy decisions, just for advisement.
[The OTA] investigated the potenial unforeseen social, economic, and environmental consequences of a technology's widespread implementation and communicated its findings in language carefully tuned to congressional audiences. OTA used a process in which committees of science and technology experts served as advisers rather than as the report's authors. [...] OTA reports did not make specific consensus policy recommendations, but rather, sought the views of all the important stakeholders and then explained the possible consequences of alternative courses of action to help inform congressional debate.

If you're concerned about science education, not just among the general public, but in Congress too, write to them and let them know. Post about it in your blog to let other people know.

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