Monday, January 12, 2009
Finally, they feel free to speak out. That they haven't, heretofore, and are now, speaks volumes. Nor is it limited to the FDA: science (facts of all kinds), to George Bush, has been something to be avoided. Redacted. Distorted. Be it climate science, reproductive science, public health, environmental, geological or political science (although that last one might be an oxymoron), we've been through eight years of ignorance, in both senses of the word, the latter one being the act of ignoring.
It's not as if science is all there is. But as a method of evaluating reality it's the best we have: self-correcting, open to questions, orderly, fact-based. There are those who like to point to the past errors of science; but it's the very fact that once-held scientific conclusions are subjected to constant scrutiny and updated and corrected, that confirms its power. Contrary to the contrarians.
Even the most steadfast deniers don't really reject science. (Ben Stein, by the way, is a despicable prick. Smug. And most colossally wrong whenever he opens his mouth; especially on the economy.) How many creationists and young-earthers refuse to fly on airplanes? Won't use GPS, or computers, or the internet? Refuse antibiotics or chemotherapy? How many deny the ability to calculate and predict radiation decay and conclude nuclear reactors are impossible? Refuse radiation treatments? Such self-selection of facts is, of course, anathema to actual science; and it's been the defining modus operandi of the current (still??? My god, it's like waiting for a bus when you're late to work) administration.
So it's refreshing that some scientists are (belatedly) speaking out. It suggests they believe they'll have, in the new White House, a sympathetic -- and intelligent and curious and thoughtful -- ear. Which, by all indications, they will.
Praise the lord!