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Obama: Won't favor ideology over science

CHICAGO, Dec. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said Saturday he respects the scientific process and will work to restore the United States as a world science leader.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said he will not disregard "inconvenient" scientific evidence in favor of ideological dogma, a frequent complaint leveled by scientists against the Bush administration, The Hill reported.

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Obama also announced his choices to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and to serve on the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Voice of America reported.

Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State and strong advocate of action on global warming, is to head NOAA. Critics accused the Bush administration of trying to keep scientists with the agency from talking publicly about climate change.

John Holdren, a Harvard physicist and climate expert, Harold Varmus, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, and Eric Lander, who has been involved in mapping the human genome, are to serve on the council. Holdren has also been named assistant to the president for science and technology and director of the White House Office on Science and Technology Policy.

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Science "holds the key to our survival as a planet and our security and prosperity as a nation," Obama said. "It's time we once again put science at the top of our agenda and worked to restore America's place as the world leader in science and technology."

Obama promised to listen "to what our scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient -- especially when it's inconvenient."

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