This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Social Science Research Under Attack in Congress

In the last two days there have been very disturbing elements at work again in Congress to try to snuff out social science. You may recall attacks last year on funding for the Census Bureau. Now there are direct threats to eliminate fundng for social science research. As the American Sociological Association just noted:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is proposing a bill that will eliminate all federal funding for social science research. In addition, Senator Tom Colburn (R-OK) is proposing an amendment to a popular funding bill that will eliminate funding for political science research. The important work being done by social scientists is not being recognized by legislators. ASA website has tips on how you can communicate to policymakers.
And, the Population Association of America today sent out the following plea for action:
After being assured that Senators Coburn and McCain would NOT be allowed to offer an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution, H.R. 933, to transfer $10 million from the National Science Foundation Social, Behavioral and Economic Directorate political science research portfolio to the National Cancer Institute, we now understand that Senator Coburn is offering this amendment at 2:00 p.m. (EST) TODAY.

Please call your U.S. Senators NOW to urge them to vote NO on the Coburn/McCain amendment to transfer $10 million from the NSF SBE Directorate to the National Cancer Institute and towards overall deficit reduction. The amendment sets up a false dichotomy between medical research and research in the social sciences that we emphatically reject. The arguments for providing additional funds for NIH and specifically for NCI are obviously strong, and we wish Congress were providing more funding in FY13. However, such funding should not and need not come at the expense of political science research.
Over the past two hundred years, the Enlightenment has led to scientific knowledge that has revolutionized nearly every aspect of human existence. These un-enlightened members of Congress seem determined to turn back the clock to the scientific dark ages.

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