Monday, October 27, 2008

Contempt For Science

Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies.

If you've been paying attention, I expect you will have no difficulty determining to whom this quote refers. If you know me, you can probably guess that it is by Christopher Hitchens.

I wanted to avoid being overtly political, because that is not this blog's subject. When politics cross with science and skepticism, however, it falls within my jurisdiction.

Firstly, the three million dollar overheard projector that McCain continually brings up is actually a star projector for a planetarium. You can't argue that we need more students entering scientific study and at the same time argue against the very things that inspire students to enter scientific study. That's not wasteful spending, that's investment.

Second, McCain likes to joke about the millions spent on research bear DNA, but if we can about preventing the species' extinction it's actually a pretty important matter.

Third, Palin made a joke about wasteful spending for fruit fly research. It's more important and useful than you might think. Fruit flies go through very quick generation cycles and have fairly high rates of mutation. For studies of DNA and evolution, they are excellent subjects. DNA studies are fairly important, as they give us things like flu vaccinations. You know, the kind that Jenny McCarthy says will give you autism.

Quite simply, this year isn't about political affiliations any longer. It's about fact versus rhetoric. It's science versus religion. Obama has time and again shown himself to be aware of even the nuances of the latest scientific information. Imagine that. A president who isn't hostile to scientific inquiry and will even adjust his policies to align with fact.

1 comment:

Q said...

Fruit fly research was one of the absolutely incredible scientific breakthroughs that led to our greater understanding of DNA and biological sciences.

It is arguably some of the most important scientific research in the field of life sciences in history.

The woman is a moron, and she wants to lead our nation down a path to creating more morons with just as much scientific intolerance as she has.

Tonight, hopefully I will be reassured that she hasn't won.

Or planning my move to Canada.