Attacks on science: Government antiscience on the rise

0

What the hell is going on with my government?


I’m used to attacks on science; they’ve been endemic for years now. Antivaxxers, global warming deniers, creationists, what have you. And I’ve even gotten used to, at some level, egregiously antiscience rhetoric and machinations from government officials.

But over the past few days and weeks things seem to have gone to 11. I’m reeling from the absolute unfettered nonsense and sheer manipulation going on by our elected officials, and I’ll be honest: It’s scary.

To start, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who is a global warming denier, by the way, is the head of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He has recently decided that the National Science Foundation—a globally respected agency of scientific research and investigation—should no longer use peer review to fund grants. Instead it should essentially get political permission for which research to fund.

This is not a joke. Smith wants politics to trump science at the National Science Foundation.

Written By: Phil Plait
continue to source article at slate.com

NO COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by Serdan:

      It was pointed out elsewhere that there are some interesting* parallels to some dictatorships.

      e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism

      *By ‘interesting’ I of course mean ‘horrifying’.

      I’ve been thinking about Lysenko quite often lately. The parallels really are scary and we are getting pretty close in the US to the same type of situation. If Romney had won for example I’m sure he would have followed the Bush tradition of putting religious ideologues who at best know nothing about science or at worst actually despise it in charge of agencies like NSF and NASA.

  1. Those who support this nonsense don’t necessarily want politics to trump science, they want religious dogma to do so.

    We had some Lysenko type tripe in the UK recently with the Chemist David Nutt being sacked over his findings on drugs, because they didn’t tally with the Government line.

    Short term policies to gain votes which will cost the country dear in the long term.

    It’s high time we had some grown-ups with integrity in Government.

  2. Still today, a large part of the republican power base does not like science challenging their beliefs in a universe created by a god some 6000 years ago. This is American politics: saying anything stupid, doing anything stupid, just to keep your stupid power base happy.

  3. Really smart rational people get on with generating wealth, medical research, healthcare, scientific advancement, breakthrough technologies, construction, engineering and all the other marvellous things that have given the human race a one time opportunity for global security, health, comfort, education, nutrition, peace and leisure on a scale that even fifty years ago would have been considered impossible. What do greedy ambitious grasping less smart people do. Well they become politicians who seek wealth and power through deceit and manipulation of the credible masses. And how do you get the credible masses. Well you foster religious beliefs through a state sponsored coven of equally power hungry theocrats to indoctrinate and control the population who you educate only to the level necessary to function as the unquestioning malleable dullard workforce. And when the smart scientist types start to threaten your position you legislate to control them through fiscal constraint. You don’t have to be smart to be a senator – just morally corrupt, dishonest, ruthless and greedy. This is the tragedy of the USA. The wrong people are in control. And it’s the same the world over.
    Are you of only moderate intelligence but grasping and ambitious? Wanna be wealthy, powerful and in control? Then become a politician or priest.

    • I_In reply to #6 by thebaldgit:_

      If you allow politics to trump science then you leave the door open for the religious to come in and ruin everything.

      From my point of view, the religious are already in, and they are ruining everything.

  4. The right wing appears to have shifted into aggressive attack mode nationwide and on all fronts, from monopolization of communications (the Kochs, Murdock), evolution, church-state separation to effectively out-lawing abortion by subterfuge and, it seems, outmaneuvering and neutering the ineffective Obama administration on fiscal policy, unemployment, infrastructure (i.e., recovery from the Lesser Depression).

    • In reply to #7 by whiteraven:

      The right wing appears to have shifted into aggressive attack mode nationwide and on all fronts, from monopolization of communications (the Kochs, Murdock), evolution, church-state separation to effectively out-lawing abortion by subterfuge and, it seems, outmaneuvering and neutering the ineffective…

      A Union tearing itself apart, let alone the antipathy too science. Unable to control gun violence, create a health service, produce government institutions which work, with the highest rate of executions in the free (?) world, manifold disaffected minorities, states refusing to recognise the authority of the federal government, intolerant and out of control “patriotism”, and now poised to plunge into another war. End days for the USA?

  5. I don’t know why anyone would be surprised at this.

    Politicians have, from time immemorial, been those people who want to be in charge – no matter what.

    In Britain we have politicians who pretend that simply winning more votes at an election makes them magically more capable than anyone else at:

    • Telling the Military what equipment it can buy

    • Managing health services – incl. telling doctors what they can and can’t do

    • Running complex transport systems

      … this list goes on and on.

    What should really concern us is not this one story – that’s business as usual – it’s the way that professions are being devalued by amateur politicians and the idea that politicians should be in charge.

    Scientists are not a special case.

    This story highlights, for us all, that there needs to be a new commitment to checks and balances on power.

    Peace.

  6. But what should be done about this? How do we solve this problem?

    Should we use the same tactics, act as if we’re the underdog, lobby amongst politicians, organize ourselves….?

    Apart from some initiatives by a few people not a lot is being done to counter this blatant ongoing attack on science.

  7. Although I’m tempted to have a go at the stupidity of anti science Americans,come to think of it,they can,t be so stupid and yet a mighty nation feared and respected militarily and economically.They are dangerously uneducated,I think.

    • Chimps with guns and bombs.
      In reply to #12 by kamel:

      Although I’m tempted to have a go at the stupidity of anti science Americans,come to think of it,they can,t be so stupid and yet a mighty nation feared and respected militarily and economically.They are dangerously uneducated,I think.

  8. Committees on science should be made up of scientists. Politicians should take their cues from scientists, not the other way around. Most of these state reps and senators – at least the Republicans – have no scientific education or expertise, and many seem barely literate. To have people who don’t understand grade school level math and science (and who refuse to take advice from those who do) running a country is terrifying.

    • Not to mention that reality is not decided by votes.

      In reply to #13 by Sue Blue:

      Committees on science should be made up of scientists. Politicians should take their cues from scientists, not the other way around. Most of these state reps and senators – at least the Republicans – have no scientific education or expertise, and many seem barely literate. To have people who don’…

  9. Lamar Smith…what an incredibly ignorant man. It isn’t bad enough he wanted to kill the Internet with SOPA, now he wants to kill science. He actually has a desire to halt scientific progress, just so that science falls in line with his political doctrines.

    This man does not deserve his position. Such irresponsibility and ignorance should lose him his position. The phrase “anti-science” perfectly describes his stance. Ugh. Makes me sick.

  10. i’m sure it’s just a blip

    you wait, 10 years from now america will be a mecca for exciting new scientific discoveries.

    i for one would look forward to that day, just a shame all their journals will be printed in chinese…

Leave a Reply