Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

support for this important area, and at the same time increase the ability to utilize such support by State and local officials.

We recommend that the present NSF State and local intergovernmental policy planning program be expanded under NIRAS. NIRAS should not only support appropriate individual projects of the type which would increase the utilization of science and technology in solving local problems, but it should explore utilization of formula grants for this purpose also. The latter could be coupled with restrictions on their use as well as requirements to upgrade local ability to utilize technological programs, in order to avoid inefficiency in expenditures.

We further recommend increased development and experimentation with innovative administrative mechanisms by which Federal laboratories can bring their expertise to bear on the solution of problems at the regional, State and local levels.

PART II

SUMMARY OF THE HEARINGS

INNOVATIONS SUGGESTED IN THE HEARINGS

INTERNATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

SUMMARY OF THE HEARINGS

During the months of July, August, and September, 1970, the subcommittee heard from over 60 witnesses, 29 of which appeared in person to express their views on the need to formulate an explicit national science policy. While the printed record indicates the breadth and depth of concern, no attempt has been made in this section to describe all of the salient points made during this investigation. What is presented is a summary only of the highlights of these hearings.

WHAT IS NATIONAL SCIENCE POLICY?

One of the early difficulties encountered by the subcommittee in its investigation was that of defining what is meant by "national science. policy". That the establishment of any policy is a mechanism for the provision of guidance is readily apparent. As such, established policy provides a framework against which changes can be evaluated. It serves as a guidance for action, decisionmaking, and program implementation in pursuit of stated objectives. As Dr. Gerald F. Tape, president, Associated Universities Inc., has commented, "The existence of an approved policy is like a flywheel; it helps to keep a going operation moving smoothly, but it tends to inhibit change.

Several witnesses provided different interpretations as to what "national science policy" means, but one common theme emerged: That any national science policy cannot be seen in isolation from the total social and political context in which it operates. Science and technology must be viewed as part of an integrated system. And as is common with all systems, effects upon one part often have ramifications upon others. "This mutually interrelated facet of science policy," according to National Science Foundation Director Dr. William McElroy, "adds to the complexity of the topic."

Thus, in a most general sense, a national science policy is one which supports the attainment of national objectives and goals. Dr. Harvey Brooks, dean of engineering and applied physics at Harvard, noted—

Scientific priorities are themselves relatively meaningless if they are not in part matched to social priorities and national goals, and if no mechanisms exist to translate the results of scientific decisions (into) social decisions and policies.

Moreover, because of the pervasiveness of science and technology in the contemporary affairs of Government and the Nation, the problem of setting science policy was viewed by many as being both a critically important and a complex task. According to Dr. Donald F. Hornig, former Presidential science adviser and president of Brown University:

(It) is in a simplistic sense an insoluable one. We could design a structure in the government which might be optimum for the pursuit and determination of science policy, but there is a big "but;" science is only one of the goals of government, and important as I regard science, it is I don't think by any stretch of the imagination the biggest or most important goal. And so science like economics is involved everywhere and in many programs *** Nevertheless, (25)

51-322-70—3

although I don't believe there is such a thing as a perfect solution, a simplistic solution, I do think we can do better than we are doing now.

The task of formulating a national science policy was also viewed as a necessarily iterative process. Another former Presidential science adviser, Dr. Lee A. DuBridge, cautioned that

A science and technology policy, if we develop one, must be formulated on an evolutionary basis, continuously under review and subject to change with changing conditions. It must be a policy that can be implemented both by the administration and by Congress and one which will be supported by the public. It must be a policy which provides a strong base of science but also provides mechanisms for using science and technology to meet changing problems of national concern. The policy must recognize that policies and events wholly outside the field of science and technology may strongly influence our R. & D. expenditure level.

Similarly, several witnesses spoke of the need to involve members from all sectors of our society-governmental officials, legislative leaders, scientists, academicians, and businessmen-in the policy formulation process. The challenge, according to Dr. James R. Killian of MIT, "is to create a new consensus, especially a consensus of values."

Dr. William McElroy sounded a note of common concern in stressing the need to inject humanism into the policy formulation process. Referring to the views of many of our "enlightened young people" and the development of an increasingly widespread feeling of "New Romanticism," he said, "I interpret this as a very deep, very substantial, very important change in viewpoints applicable to the whole spectrum of human enterprise-music, art, literature, drama, philosophy-as well as science." Because of this new spirit, Dr. McElroy believed that scientists can no longer look at science in the future as they did in the past. He felt that a new accommodation was required:

What is this new accommodation? Somehow-and over the objections of a few scientists' credos-I believe we must inject humanism into our applications of science. We scientists have often been prideful to a fault about the neutral values of science. We have carefully not allowed our personal views to extend beyond what might be called the inner-wisdom of the science process, which we believe leads to a closer approximation of truth. We have specialized in value-free judgments, somehow never adequately relating this to application, and we have often failed to relate our knowledge to the concerns of the average man.

A similar viewpoint was shared by Mr. William D. Carey of Arthur D. Little, Inc., who said:

Science today is perceived as defense-oriented, university-oriented, and industry-oriented. This is not good enough. How can we show that science is Appalachia-oriented, inner cities-oriented, "hunger"-oriented, or housing-oriented? If science can be led out of the research installations, laboratories, and other chaste environments and put to work visibly on social problems, science will associate itself with new values of greater persuasiveness than its internal compulsion to pursue theoretical knowledge and new technology. *** I believe strongly that the time has come when science must show its humanistic side by becoming engaged in the social crisis.

Some Distinctions

Several major distinctions were made to resolve some of the ambiguity present in trying more clearly to define the scope of inquiry. Specifically, two witnesses, Dr. Herbert E. Carter, chairman of the National Science Board, and Dr. Bowen C. Dees, president of the Franklin Institute, drew a distinction between "national" and "Fed

« ÎnapoiContinuă »