Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Can Washington Get Smart About Science?

This is an op-ed piece written by Alan Sokal and Chris Mooney. If those names sound familiar to you, then you're up to speed on the situation with how science is done among the academicians and politicians.

Alan Sokal became a physics household name when he did his infamous Sokal Hoax on Social Text journal. In a masterful, ingenious sweep, he revealed the fallacy (and frankly, the utter nonsense) of postmodernist delusion of knowing what science is. It was a perfect attack on how science (and especially physics) was abused by this group of people.

Chris Mooney became well-known due to his article "The Republican War on Science", his attempt to expose how the Republican, after gaining power, tried to either squash, or change, science to suit their personal agenda or beliefs.

So this op-ed piece in LA Times from these two well-known defender of science is VERY hot, so hot that it just sizzles with scathing attack on how science has been mistreated during this past few years. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat, or independent, etc.. this is an essay that should be read because these are points that must be addressed. Whether one agrees with it or not, one fact remains very clear - that there HAS been a deliberate effort to subdue scientific works and results during the Bush administration.

Look, none of us are naive enough to not think that every administration will try to enhance scientific reports that agree with their position. We were not born yesterday, and most of us have enough cynicism in the system to at least be aware of such a thing. However, there have been many evidence that the current administration has done unprecedented actions to stifle scientific results, and even supported the teaching of "intelligent design" in schools. I have seen physicists, who are normally conservative in their politics, completely changing their tunes after seeing what has transpired.

As the article said, it is ironic that the Republican party, that had always tried to promote itself as the champion of science, is now directly at war against it. I also don't doubt that the backlash against religion as evidenced by the popularity of Dawkins book, and the recently released attack on religion by Stenger that I mentioned in the previous post, is a result of the extreme religious fanaticism imposed into the American political and social scene. I think those who are stuck in the middle have very important choices to make.


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