On Friday, December 17, the Obama Administration issued a formal memorandum saying that government officials should not interfere with science.
So, why is this an issue at all?
I know my fellow liberals are sometimes accused of blaming the Bush Admininstration for everything. In this case, however, the shoe fits.
The Bush Administration had a strong and unequivocal record of denying the existence of scientific data that conflicted with their political and social views. The trend became so bad that thousands of scientists felt compelled to start an organization called “Defend Science” and issue a manifesto outlining the various sorts of manipulation, fabrication, and outright naked deceit that became the modus operandi of the previous administration.
Since it was written by scientists, the above link is fully referenced and meticulously sourced and I won’t outline the point-by-point arguments here.
The Defend Science position on the Bush Administration is a widely held view amongst working scientists. A recent Pew survey showed that 77% of scientists “believe claims that the Bush administration suppressed some research findings by government scientists.” Obviously, this is an issue which resonates with scientists (if not with the general public). Not surprisingly, the same survey found that only 6% of scientists support the Republican Party.
The political orientation of scientists will be the subject of a future blog post, but here’s a tease.
How can a scientist support a former Republican vice-presidential candidate and potential Republican presidential candidate who says this about evolution? Especially one who proudly proclaims that she is going to go “fossil hunting where we find evidence of ancient sea life on the high hilltops of the Last Frontier” on their TV show-cum-Presidential infomercial?
You can’t have it both ways, ex-half-Gov. Palin, and neither can your fellow Republicans.