06 November 2005

US hostile to science

The entire article is worth reading, but I'll quote you a few parts just to get you hooked.

"Among the most significant forces is the rising tide of anti-science sentiment that seems to have its nucleus in Washington but which extends throughout the nation," said Stanford's Philip Pizzo in a letter posted on the school Web site on October. 3.
In the past five years, the scientific community has often seemed at odds with the Bush administration over issues as diverse as global warming, stem cell research and environmental protection. Prominent scientists have also charged the administration with politicizing science by seeking to shape data to its own needs while ignoring other research.
Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller believes the rhetoric of the anti-evolution movement has had the effect of driving a wedge between a large proportion of the population who follow fundamentalist Christianity and science.

"It is alienating young people from science. It basically tells them that the scientific community is not to be trusted and you would have to abandon your principles of faith to become a scientist, which is not at all true," he said.
[A] CBS poll this month found that 51 percent of respondents believed humans were created in their present form by God. A further 30 percent said their creation was guided by God. Only 15 percent thought humans evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years.

Other polls show that only around a third of American adults accept the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, even though the concept is virtually uncontested by scientists worldwide.

"When we ask people what they know about science, just under 20 percent turn out to be scientifically literate," said Jon Miller, director of the center for biomedical communication at Northwestern University.
Scientists bemoan the lack of qualified U.S. candidates for postgraduate and doctoral studies at American universities and currently fill around a third of available science and engineering slots with foreign students.



Brad said...

And people get all pissed off when one asserts that America is, at its core, a very, very stupid country.

zandperl said...

And they also wonder why our students do so crappy on tests. Not only are we not teaching them the right stuff, their parents are telling them that what we do teach them isn't right! Critical thinking skills are going down the drain as kids are taught to just parrot back what each person tells them to say and not think about it at all. And sadly, homeschooling is on the rise primarily among those very fundamentalists who have a distorted picture of the world. *sigh*

Unfortunately, ignorance is evolutionarily advantageous due not believing in birth control.

utenzi said...

That last line is hilarious--and probably true.