Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama's Science Team Big on Evolution

Much has been written and will be written about how Obama is taking science seriously.  To me, one great sign of this is that not only is evolution OK to talk about now, but - gasp - many of his science team actually have worked on evolution.   For example:
  • Eric Lander, part of Obama's council of advisors on science and technology, has written many papers either directly or indirectly about evolution. 
  • Harold Varmus also on this Council, has written about evolution of viruses (e.g. here),
  •  Jane Lubchenco is an ecologist who in much of her work has an evolutionary ecology angle
Even John Holdren, who is more of a physicist and as far as I can tell has not written explicitly about evolution recently certainly discussed it in some of his earlier publications with Paul Ehrlich.  

So - not only is science in general and life science in particular on the upswing.  But evolution is too.  Maybe this is why Darwin endorsed Obama so many months back. 


  1. So are you saying that Hillary Clinton wouldn't have taken science seriously? As I remember, Darwin's endorsement came during the primaries, not later when Obama was running against McCain. Can I hold Darwin responsible for us having our first African American president (which is great), instead of our first woman president (which would have been fantastic)?

  2. Sorry - I was trying to suggest that Darwin and Obama traded favors. Maybe Hillary would not promise Darwin that she would pick so many people who support evolution. Perhaps she wanted for physicists or chemists or MDs in her science advisors. Or maybe Darwin knew who would win the primary and was just putting his eggs in that basket before it was too late.

  3. So far the only down side in regard to evolution in the Obama camp was his choice of Rick Warren to give the (completely inappropriate, imho) prayer yesterday. Although most people are aware of Warren's homophobia, the press hasn't really focused on the more serious issue from the scientific standpoint -- which is that Warren is a Creationist. Hopefully, yesterday is the last we'll have to deal with Warren in regard to Obama.

  4. Holdren has published with Paul Ehrlich ? I don't know him, but on the picture he doesn't look old enough....

  5. Obama picked him b/c he is so good at anti-aging treatments. Or maybe it was another Paul Ehrlich.

  6. Jonathan -
    Today was my lucky day. I found your blog. So interesting!

    I'm going to be teaching a Social Justice class that will feature five popular culture films to spark discussion. One of the films, flawed though it may be, is Inherit the Wind. I would so love it if you would come over and check out my blog post today and share your thoughts. If you'd be willing to let your readers know about this request, even better! I'd so value their input on discussion questions, as well as their astute observations.

    My post is at



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