LiveScience recently posted an article that does a good job of summing up the Bush Administration’s stand against science. From the article, Scientists Say Bush Stifles Science and Lets Global Leadership Slip:
In his final State of the Union address, President George W. Bush devoted several lines to science and technology topics. He called for research and funding to reduce oil dependency and reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.
“To keep America competitive into the future, we must trust in the skill of our scientists and engineers and empower them to pursue the breakthroughs of tomorrow,” Bush said. [Full Text]
But several scientists around the country aren’t buying what they see as rhetoric not backed by funding. And they are frustrated by what they view as the White House’s morality-based politics that they say ignores scientific evidence, distorts facts and leads to outright censorship of reports and scientists. The White House responded to the criticisms point-by-point.
(A Democratic congressional report in December stated: “The Bush administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.”)
While this is hardly a surprise to anyone who has been following Bush’s track record, it seems that people would be shocked and outraged that our government is censoring science. Are we back in the Dark Ages? What role should people who barely understand what cells are play in the process of legitimate scientific research?
Worst of all, this seems to have had quite an effect on the American people. When you see a panel of “experts” discussing a topic such as stem cell research, religious leaders are included. What special knowledge could these people possibly have that could be of use to the rest of us? Many Americans will make their decisions based on a gut feeling (often involving their interpretation of Jesus’ will). With a better education system and improved distribution of wealth, we’d all be smart enough to ignore the White House’s censorship. Instead, a large portion of the country seems to consider George Bush and his cronies to be authorities on science.