The American Anthropological Association blog (on the Huffington Post) included a post last week by AAA President Leith Mullings, commenting on President Obama’s address to the National Academy of Sciences: “President Obama Supports Scientific Integrity of Anthropology”.
Mullings quotes from President Obama’s remarks:
And it's not just resources. I mean, one of the things that I've tried to do over these last four years and will continue to do over the next four years is to make sure that we are promoting the integrity of our scientific process; that not just in the physical and life sciences, but also in fields like psychology and anthropology and economics and political science -- all of which are sciences because scholars develop and test hypotheses and subject them to peer review -- but in all the sciences, we've got to make sure that we are supporting the idea that they're not subject to politics, that they're not skewed by an agenda, that, as I said before, we make sure that we go where the evidence leads us. And that's why we've got to keep investing in these sciences.
The President’s comments are important, considering the last few weeks’ news of Congressional antipathy toward NSF funding of work in the social sciences. Although many cultural anthropologists consider themselves to be pure humanists and non-scientists, the National Science Foundation does not fund work that is non-scientific in approach. Emphasizing the importance of hypothesis-testing and peer review in anthropology is something I think most anthropologists can rally around.
That sounds like science has to be a part of any viable long-term plan…