The Bush Administration has succeeded in undermining the value of scientific inquiry in our understanding of how the world works. In the last eight years, the importance of science has taken a back seat to ideology and dogma in our relationship to the planet, a practice that has caused us to despoil the Earth through pollution and waste of natural resources (including not only fossil fuels, but wetlands, natural, unspoiled areas of our national parks and forests, etc.). We have dropped the ball on medical research, as well as our understanding of global climate change. At practically every turn, science has been ignored, in favor of a firm, incurious view of how things work. It now falls on President-elect Obama to undo this ignorant approach, and to restore the spirit of inquiry into our understanding of life, and the way we function as a civilization.
Olivia Judson has an excellent opinion piece in the online edition of the New York Times that explains this eloquently. Here is an excerpt:
"The distortion and suppression of science is dangerous, and not just because it means that public money gets wasted on programs, like abstinence-only sex 'education' schemes, that do not work. It is dangerous because it is an assault on science itself, a method of thought and inquiry on which our modern civilization is based and which has been hugely successful as a way of acquiring knowledge that lets us transform our lives and the world around us. In many respects science has been the dominant force — for good and ill — that has transformed human lives over the past two centuries."
Read the full post here.