- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2000

American scientists are reading a closeup of how Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush compare
on, among others, the issues of missile defense, space research, weapons of mass destruction and what they would do about these issues as president.
They are reading answers to 10 key questions in the October issue of the scientific journal, Physics Today, the leading "trade journal" for the physics community (industry, academia, government labs). Answers to the questions posed by the journal were limited to 250 words for each question. While the magazine is politically nonpartisan, it keeps a close eye on Washington doings given the importance of government funding to science.
I, however, am partisan. Were I a scientist, I would say that in determining which of the two presidential candidates would be better for science and scientists, the Texas governor wins by a long shot. More importantly, the Q&A; tells only part of the story about Mr. Gore and science. The real story is to be found in a recent book titled "Policy Controversy in Biotechnology: An Insider's View" by Dr. Henry Miller, a former longtime official at the Food and Drug Administration. In the interest of full disclosure, Dr. Miller, a physician, is presently a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
But first the Q&A.; On missile defense, as far as I'm concerned, Mr. Bush had it all over Mr. Gore. The governor believes in a National Missile Defense (NMD) system to be deployed as soon as possible not only to defend the U.S. but also "our friends and allies" from missile attacks by rogue nations or accidental launches. The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, promulgated in 1972 at the height of the Cold War, is passe and must be changed whether Russia likes it or not, said Mr. Bush.
As for Mr. Gore, he wants "deployment of a limited national missile defense." The weasel word "limited" is undefined so it can mean anything. He then gives the show away: "If persuaded that NMD is needed he would not permit Russia to exercise a veto over its deployment." If And if Mr. Gore is not persuaded? No NMD.
Here's the question dealing with space:
"What are your priorities for civilian space exploration? Is NASA's current funding level adequate to ensure success? Will your administration support a manned mission to Mars or the establishment of a manned base on the moon?"
Mr. Bush said in 200 words that he supports:
The International Space Station project and hoped it could be made "operational in the near term."
Continued exploration of Mars.
Long-term exploration via robots of our neighboring planets.
Cutting costs of manned space exploration so as to make planetary exploration affordable.
He also saw in the space sciences "a wonderful source of motivation to get students to focus on mastering their skills in math and the various sciences."
The vice president's answer in a mere 80 words of sloganized, cautious generalization also favored the International Space Station, solar exploration and developing space technologies "to meet the challenges of tomorrow."
The real Mr. Gore and his Luddite attitude to modern science is to be found in Dr. Miller's book. His research demonstrates that Mr. Gore's view of modern science make him sound like someone who in another age would have favored the Ptolemaic over the Copernican universe.
Mr. Gore's wide-swinging book, "Earth in the Balance," makes the amazing argument that his fight to "save" the environment is a continuation "of the struggles against Nazi and communist totalitarianism." Our approach to technological development has, according to Mr. Gore, been shaped by aggressive male domination instead of by the nurturing instinct of women. Therefore, says Mr. Gore, "part of the solution for the environmental crisis may well lie in our ability to achieve a better balance between the sexes." Dr. Miller has selected some other choice passages from the vice president's manifesto of environmental mysticism that ought to be studied by whoever is preparing Mr. Bush for the debates.
Once before we had a vice-president, Henry A. Wallace, who was a religion window-shopper, a self-proclaimed mystic. Fortunately he was dropped from the 1944 ticket and Sen. Harry S. Truman was substituted.

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