Darksyde has just announced a few details about the science panels that will be held at the YearlyKos Convention. One relevant piece of information is that I’m the guy in charge of the science caucus, and I have to organize something. If Darksyde had ever seen my office, organization is not a word that would have come to mind…
Anyway, there was a science caucus at last year’s convention, too, and it was a bit the-opposite-of-organized. We got together in a big room and started talking, and the conversations all converged on one issue: what the heck are we going to do about this gigantic problem of religion? It wasn’t my fault, either! Religion is always the elephant in the room when you try to talk about science policy, and sensible people will recognize that you have to address it; we differ in that some people will talk about getting rid of it by tossing a tasty bale of hay outside, while some of us fondle our elephant guns and chainsaws, but we all agree it doesn’t belong in science.
This year, though, I want to narrow the focus so that what comes out of that meeting are some specific suggestions for science policy—what do the netroots want our political leaders to do? I’m hoping to get together a few people from diverse disciplines who will say a few words to structure the session and get us to come up with ideas on specifics: what do we want the Democrats to do about stem cell research? How about space missions, high energy physics, global warming, alternative energy, and conservation and the environment? My goal would be to have a science caucus that produces an actual document that lists what we think are the important issues and what we consider the correct side to take, something that we could hand to the politicians who will be attending the meeting and say that this is the consensus of the attendees who care about science, now please do something about it.
What about that elephant? I don’t think there will be any formal meetings that express opposition to religion at the meeting, although there will be plenty of meetings supporting liberal Christianity and interfaith blah-blah. I’m going to insist on deferring the issue in the science caucus just so we can get some details done, but I think we should also do a little rabble rousing and have an ad hoc Godless Caucus, where we just take over a lobby or a hallway somewhere (or if there are few enough of us, we’ll just meet in one of the hotel rooms—but the response at last year’s science caucus suggests there may be a mob) and talk about the political goals of secularists.
If you have ideas about the YearlyKos caucuses, especially specific ideas about the science priorities we ought to set, leave them in a comment here. If you’re going to be at YearlyKos and you have some science expertise, let me know that here or in an email so I can lean on you to contribute, either by having you make a few remarks or by putting you in charge of a sub-caucus.
If nothing else, I’ll be seeing some of you in Chicago in August!