The Buzz: Science Not Serving Senator Harkin

After complaining during a U.S. Senate hearing that the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine he spearheaded wasn't yielding results that validated such practices, Senator Tom Harkin (D–IA) is facing the backlash of his statements from ScienceBloggers. Many of the alternative medicine practices Harkin advocates have already been subject to the thorough scrutiny of the NIH and other scientific institutions, which failed to find convincing evidence that these practices are beneficial compared with placebos and with established medical practices. Many have questioned whether NCCAM should continue to receive funding, but Harkin called for an end to the "discrimination" against alternative health care practices, and encouraged their inclusion in new health care policies. "He just doesn't get it," criticized ScienceBlogger PalMD. "If you choose to investigate a scientific question, you have to be prepared for 'bad news.' You don't get to decide the outcome before the fact."

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This is a great example of why science education in K-12 is so important. Even people who do not go on to study science or pursue careers in science need to understand the basic premise. Science education in this country failed Sen. Harkin. Maybe that money for NCCAM should be redirected to science education in our public schools.