Scientists for Dean

I'm puzzled by Scientists for Dean. As a search for endorsement by well-known scientists it appears unsatisfyingly political. Are they looking for scientists who support US presidential candidate Howard Dean's policies, or are they looking to gather the support of all scientists, by showing that, if elected, Dean will take full account of the available scientific evidence when making decisions?

Of course, when making a moral decision, for example whether or not to allow pregnancies to be aborted at a particular stage, the decision should be based in the reality that each part of the process - sperm, egg, foetus, child, adult - is a part of the human life cycle. Whether you define conciousness as appearing at a certain stage of neural development is really a philosophical decision, but a scientific basis allows those making the decisions to recognise that no ethereal spirit comes floating in after a certain amount of gestation.

So, should scientists support Dean for his politics generally (which is what Scientists for Deean seems to be after), or based on the amount of scientific evidence taken on board when defining his policies before the election, or on the amount of credence he will give to scientific opinion if elected? Then later, shouldn't the scientists called upon to assist policy making be from all parts of the political spectrum, and if they're truly being scientists (as opposed to philosophers or politicians) shouldn't they all eventually agree?