This has local relevance to us in South Dakota because politicians have benefited by taking advantage of this wave of anti-science bias. I'm thinking of course of South Dakota Junior Senator "the jury is out on evolution" Thune and our other anti-science cast of characters including Leslee "I-had-abortions-for-birth-control-so-I'm-an-expert-on-abstinence-only" Unruh, soon to be Rep. Donald "moral obsoletes" Kopp. And of course my friend at Dakota Voice Bob "my-version-of-biblical-truth-trumps-what-you-can-see-with-your-own-eyes" Ellis. (At right are fellow reactionaries and known critics of "alternative lifestyles"--whatever that is-- Rep-Elect Phil Jensen and Sen. Dennis Finch.)
Around here scientifically valid opinion polls (and voting results) don't matter, today you can go see Gordon Howie at the pre-crackerbarrel and he'll tell you that South Dakotans are still clamoring for a more perfect abortion ban. This is the land of "make your own reality".
I'm just glad the tide is turning against this in Washington. I'm not so confident in Pierre, but that's why we keep at it.
But I digress.
Ms Judson is right on when she says it isn't each individual Bush anti-science action that's been so damaging and terrifying, but the effect of the whole of them on science. I might add that the press, in an effort to be seen as "fair" has not given the side of an argument based in scientific fact the weight it should be given.
Dec 2 2008, 10pm
Back to Reality
President-elect Obama already has a long to-do list. But here's another item for it: to restore science in government.
The most notable characteristic of the Bush administration's science policy has been the repeated distortion and suppression of scientific evidence in order to fit ideological preferences about how the world should be, rather than how it is....
The distortion and suppression of science is dangerous, and not just because it means that public money gets wasted on programs, like abstinence-only sex "education" schemes, that do not work. It is dangerous because it is an assault on science itself, a method of thought and inquiry on which our modern civilization is based and which has been hugely successful as a way of acquiring knowledge that lets us transform our lives and the world around us. In many respects science has been the dominant force — for good and ill — that has transformed human lives over the past two centuries.
More here at the NYT Science blog.