Saturday, May 27, 2006

War On Science Update

I can't tell you how glad I am to see this:

In Speech to Medical Graduates, Bloomberg Diverges From G.O.P. Line
Published: May 26, 2006

Distancing himself from national Republicans and the Bush administration, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday urged an end to the political manipulation of science, which he said had been used to discredit the threat of global warming and undermine medical advancements in areas like stem-cell research.

In a speech to graduating students of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Mr. Bloomberg railed against what he sees as ideologically motivated arguments that have fueled debate over hot-button issues like teaching evolution in public schools and the Terri Schiavo case.

"Today, we are seeing hundreds of years of scientific discovery being challenged by people who simply disregard facts that don't happen to agree with their agenda," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Some call it pseudoscience, others call it faith-based science, but when you notice where this negligence tends to take place, you might as well call it 'political science.' " [...]
Bloomberg only cited global warming, stem cells, Terri Schiavo, and Intelligent Design.  There is a lot more that he could have mentioned, but I am sure the new graduates appreciate the fact that he didn't go on at encyclopedic length.

In his speech, Bloomberg clearly acknowledged the systematic nature of the war on science.  

From time to time, I have wondered, momentarily, if scientists are defensive about their field, imagining they are under attack, much as a subset of conservative Christians feel there is a war on Christmas.  I never think that for more than a few seconds, though.  

At other times, I wonder why scientists worry about the war on science.  After all, science will endure.  Presidents come and go, religions come and go, but science marches on.  Surely scientists can find other things to work on, at those times that petty power struggles give rise to temporary impediments.  Then, when the heat dies down, they can get back to whatever it was that the politicians or theocrats were meddling in.

But then I remember that science is actually important, now.