Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ACLU Weighs in on the Attack on Science

The Washington Post is carrying an article on an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report stating that
"The Bush administration's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks has dangerously undermined U.S. scientific enterprise and national security by abridging the constitutional and academic freedoms that have long fostered the nation's technical superiority"
In my opinion this is clearly true. The most obvious damage can be seen in the drop in the number of foreign applicants for U.S. Ph.D. positions. On multiple occasions I have had colleagues from Europe and Canada tell me that there is, in fact, one thing they have President Bush to thank for, and that is the increase in quality foreign Ph.D. students they have seen over the last few years.

However, I actually think that the response to 9/11 is not the primary problem with the current administration's attitude to science. As I've mentioned before (a number of times), the main problem is with the willingness to twist, modify, ignore, politically manipulate and outright lie about any scientific results or approaches that conflict with the religious or corporate interests that have a stranglehold on our nation.

This attitude is harming progress on preventing teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases; is a threat to women's health; is preventing us from aggressively addressing the causes behind climate change; is clouding public understanding of established scientific theories such as evolution and threatens to undermine the technological and scientific base crucial to a vital future for our country.
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