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Why doesn’t America like science? - Comments

pipsy's Avatar Comment 1 by pipsy

More teaching and less preaching, more realizing and less proselytizing.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 02:48:53 UTC | #893160

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 2 by Neodarwinian

The Republican candidates hoist themselves onto the petard of their own stupidity for all the world to see, so no stealth ignorance there.

What worries me is that the other ideology has it's own science ignorance that goes by the board because the Republican ignorance is so loud.

Scientific illiteracy really does not have a political position, especially when politicians are so many layers and business types.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 03:04:46 UTC | #893163

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 3 by brighterstill

And as post-modernist ideas spread, this has undermined the demand for scientific evidence. Today, any idea can be promoted as worthy, irrespective of facts – and tolerated in the name of “fairness”.

"Scientists, being held responsible for their ideas, have not found post-modernism useful."

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 03:26:05 UTC | #893169

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 4 by Jos Gibbons

The article says there are 8 Republican candidates. According to Wikipedia, there are 14. Does anyone have any idea which 8 "count"? (It might be quicker to say which 6 don't.)

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 08:14:36 UTC | #893225

stuhillman's Avatar Comment 5 by stuhillman

Innovation continues to be worshipped, particularly when it produces entrepreneurial companies and clever gadgets (think Apple’s iPad).

Sometimes the debate is confusing as "science" is compared to engineering - no matter how innovative the engineering is. The iPad is not science, it's clever, but it's still engineering.

If we are to be effective in debating the scientific issues we must make the distinction between engineering and "real" science. On the other hand, it's difficult to convince the average Joe that the Large Hadron Collider has anything to say which might benefit him. Perhaps we can stress the achievements of NASA - although based on real science from several hundred years ago - in order to impress Joe. But unless the distinction is clear in our minds we will make mistakes.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 09:00:32 UTC | #893234

luka_qnice's Avatar Comment 6 by luka_qnice

I hope it's all right if I just copy an article from http://reason.com/archives/2011/10/04/more-anti-science-democrats-or . The Original and links are also there.

Are Republicans or Democrats More Anti-Science? Comparing the scientific ignorance of our mainstream parties

Ronald Bailey | October 4, 2011

A fight has broken out in the blogosphere over whether Team Blue or Team Red is more “anti-science.” Microbiologist Alex Berezow, editor of RealClearScience, struck the first blow in the pages of USA Today. "For every anti-science Republican that exists," he wrote, "there is at least one anti-science Democrat. Neither party has a monopoly on scientific illiteracy."

The battle of the blogs was joined when Chris Mooney, author of The Republican War on Science, denounced Berezow’s column as “classic false equivalence on political abuse of science,” over at the Climate Progress blog at the Center for American Progress. He accused Berezow of trying “to show that liberals do the same thing” by “finding a few relatively fringe things that some progressives cling to that might be labeled anti-scientific.”

Berezow acknowledged that a lot prominent Republican politicians including—would-be presidential candidates—deny biological evolution, are skeptical of the scientific consensus on man-made global warming, and oppose research using human embryonic stem cells. As evidence for Democratic anti-science intransigence, Berezow argued that progressives tend to be more anti-vaccine, anti-biotechnology when it comes to food, anti-biomedical research involving tests on animals, and anti-nuclear power.

In support of his claims, Berezow cited some polling data from a 2009 survey done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. In fact that survey identified a number of partisan divides on scientific questions. On biological evolution, the survey reported that 97 percent of scientists agree that living things, including human beings, evolved over time and that 87 percent of them think that this was an entirely natural process not guided by a supreme being. Some 36 percent of Democrats believe that humans naturally evolved; 22 percent believe that evolution was guided by a supreme being; and 30 percent don’t believe humans have evolved over time. The corresponding figures for Republicans are 23 percent, 26 percent, and 39 percent, respectively.

On climate change, the Pew survey reported that 84 percent of scientists believe that the recent warming is the result of human activity. Among Democrats, 64 percent responded that the Earth is getting warming mostly due to human activity, whereas only 30 percent of Republicans thought so. That is truly a deep divide on this scientific issue.

The Pew survey next asked about federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research. Democrats favored such funding by 71 percent compared to only 38 percent among Republicans. The Republican response is likely tied to two issues here: (1) the belief that embryos have the same moral status as adult people; and (2) less general support for spending taxpayer dollars on research. With regard to the latter, the Pew survey reports that 48 percent of conservative Republicans believe that private investment in research is enough, whereas 44 percent believe government “investment” in research is essential. As Mooney might say, the partisan differences over stem cell research might be considered a “science-related policy disagreement” that should not be “confused with cases of science rejection.”

But what about Berezow’s examples of alleged left-wing anti-science? Mooney’s basic response is that some groups on the left are in fact anti-science with regard to those issues, but he asserts that they are fringe groups with no power, unlike the Tea Party activists who are driving Republican politics. For example, Mooney argues that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) “is not a liberal group commanding wide assent for its views on the left, doesn’t drive mainstream Democratic policy, etc.” Fair enough. But the Pew survey does report that Democrats are split right down the middle on using animals in scientific research, with 48 percent opposing it and 48 percent favoring it. Republicans divide up 62 percent in favor and 33 percent opposed. Like stem cells, using animals in research is often framed as a moral issue.

With regard to nuclear power, the Pew survey found 70 percent of scientists in favor of building more nuclear power plants. For their part, 62 percent of Republicans favored more nuclear power plants, compared to 45 percent of Democrats. This difference is likely related to views on nuclear safety. For instance, a 2009 Gallup poll reported that while 73 percent of Republicans are confident in the safety of nuclear power plants, only 46 percent of Democrats agree.

Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm chimed in to Mooney’s column, arguing that the nuclear power industry was done in by commercial considerations rather than leftwing opposition. And that’s true because coal and gas-fired electricity generation plants are considerably cheaper to build. However, if policies limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels are adopted, nuclear becomes more commercially attractive. In fact, much more attractive than the solar power alternatives pushed by Democrats like Romm. But that is not a scientific argument; it’s an economic one.

What about partisan attitudes toward genetically enhanced crops and animals? A 2006 survey [PDF] by the Pew Trusts found that 48 percent of Republicans believe that biotech foods are safe compared to 28 percent who did not. Democrats at 42 percent are just slightly less likely to think biotech foods are safe while 29 percent think they are not. Back in 2004, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a report on the safety of biotech crops that noted: “To date, no adverse health effects attributed to genetic engineering have been documented in the human population.” That is still the case today. In 2010, the NAS issued another report that found that biotech crops offer substantial environmental and economic benefits.

Mooney in his response to Berezow allows with regard to genetically enhanced crops and animals that “there’s some progressive resistance and some misuse of science in this area—no doubt.” But he waves that resistance off and asserts, “it is not a mainstream position, not a significant part of the liberal agenda, etc.” But that only holds true if groups that oppose biotech foods such as the Sierra Club, the Consumers Union, and Greenpeace can be considered to be on the fringe of Democratic Party politics.

Mooney does however acknowledge that he doesn’t know if Democratic congressional resistance to allowing the Food and Drug Administration to go forward with its process for evaluating a biotech salmon variety that grows faster than conventional ones should count as a “misuse of science.” He suspects that it is a mere “policy disagreement.” Maybe. But consider that a bunch of mostly Democratic lawmakers sent a letter opposing FDA approval this summer. One signer of the letter, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), asserted, "We don't need Frankenfish threatening our fish populations and the coastal communities that rely on them.” Actually a formal environmental assessment [PDF] submitted to the FDA last year concluded that producing the biotech salmon would be “highly unlikely to cause any significant effects on the environment, inclusive of the global commons, foreign nations not a party to this action, and stocks of wild Atlantic salmon.”

What about vaccines? Berezow mentions data showing that vaccine refusals are highest in notoriously Blue states like Washington, Vermont, and Oregon. However, he could have cited the Pew poll that shows that 71 percent of both Republicans and Democrats would require childhood vaccination. Scientists favored mandatory childhood vaccinations by 84 percent.

However, the vaccine/autism scare was fueled in part by prominent lefties like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. writing in popular publications like Rolling Stone and Salon. In fact, such fringey characters as then-Sen. Barack Obama lent further credence to the vaccine scare when in 2008 he declared, "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it." Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) made similar statements.

Mooney modestly asserts that “liberal journalists like myself… have pretty much chased vaccine denial out of the realm of polite discourse.” And good on him. With similar modesty, I note that some of us who are not left-leaning have been working to do the same thing for some years now.

Over at the DeSmogBlog, Mooney continues his rousing defense of liberal scientific probity. The left doesn’t abuse science; it merely has policy disagreements about what it all means. As an example of how policy disagreements can arise over scientific data, Mooney cites the left’s affection for the precautionary principle. “There is always much scientific uncertainty, and industry claims it’s safe, but environmentalists always want to be more cautious—e.g., adopting the precautionary principle,” he notes. Then he adds, “The precautionary principle is not an anti-science view, it is a policy view about how to minimize risk.” Really?

As University of Chicago law professor and current administrator of the White House Office Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein noted in 2003, the precautionary principle [PDF] “imposes a burden of proof on those who create potential risks, and it requires regulation of activities even if it cannot be shown that those activities are likely to produce significant harms.” Note specifically the latter point. Furthermore, Sunstein observed, the precautionary principle has become pervasive, being applied to areas such as “arsenic regulation, global warming and the Kyoto Protocol, nuclear power, pharmaceutical regulation, cloning, pesticide regulation, and genetic modification of food." The precautionary principle is unscientific in the sense that it demands the impossible: Researchers can never show that any technological or scientific activity will never produce significant harm.

As law professor Dan Kahan and his colleagues at the Yale Cultural Cognition Project have shown, the strong urge to avoid scientific and technological risk is far more characteristic of people who have egalitarian and communitarian values, that is to say, left-leaning folks. As I reported earlier, according to research by Kahan and his colleagues individualists tend to dismiss claims of environmental risks because they fear such claims will be used to fetter markets and other arenas of individual achievement. Hierarchicalists tend to see claims of environmental risk as a subversive tactic aiming to undermine a stable social order. In contrast, Egalitarians and Communitarians dislike markets and industry for creating disparities in wealth and power. In fact, they readily believe that such disparities generate environmental risks that must be regulated.

In other words, everybody has values that they are anxious to protect and everybody, including liberals, struggles with confirmation bias. The operation of the scientific process is the only truly effective way humanity has developed for overcoming confirmation bias and figuring out reality. In most cases it can reduce, but not eliminate, uncertainties, and correct mistakes as we go along. Unfortunately, as the autism/vaccine incident shows, unscientific approaches like the precautionary principle actually feed into the confirmation biases associated with a specific ideological tendency.

Lest anyone think that I’m defending Republicans, I will point to my various critiques of Republican views with regard to stem cell research, biological evolution, and climate change. Finally, the question recurs: Who is more anti-science, Democrats or Republicans? On the specific issues discussed above, I conclude that the Republicans are more anti-science. However, I do also agree with Berezow that scientific “ignorance has reached epidemic proportions inside the Beltway.”

Ronald Bailey is Reason magazine's science correspondent. His book Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution is now available from Prometheus Books.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 09:46:53 UTC | #893240

old-toy-boy's Avatar Comment 7 by old-toy-boy

CEOs are in the business of making money. Most (but not all) presidential candidates are in the business of getting votes first, becoming rich second, supporting their party third, and helping the nation forth, and then maybe the world if they have any time left.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 09:52:45 UTC | #893242

Pete.K's Avatar Comment 8 by Pete.K

Comment 5 by stuhillman :

Innovation continues to be worshipped, particularly when it produces entrepreneurial companies and clever gadgets (think Apple’s iPad).

Sometimes the debate is confusing as "science" is compared to engineering - no matter how innovative the engineering is. The iPad is not science, it's clever, but it's still engineering.

If we are to be effective in debating the scientific issues we must make the distinction between engineering and "real" science. On the other hand, it's difficult to convince the average Joe that the Large Hadron Collider has anything to say which might benefit him. Perhaps we can stress the achievements of NASA - although based on real science from several hundred years ago - in order to impress Joe. But unless the distinction is clear in our minds we will make mistakes.

The distinction is that engineering is the outcome of scientific endeavour, it wasn't engineers that discovered LCD screens, science is the backbone of engineering. An engineer comes up with a concept, but it takes science to make it a reality.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 10:32:13 UTC | #893251

stuhillman's Avatar Comment 9 by stuhillman

An engineer comes up with a concept, but it takes science to make it a reality.

No, I think you have that one backwards. Science does indeed often provide the background material but it's engineers that make those ideas reality.

It's sometimes complicated but, for example there isn't much science in building a simple bridge - been there, done that. The Romans did a pretty good job of building bridges and roads without much, if any, "scientific" input although Archimedes, had some theoretical mathematical input.

Science, such as my discipline of Applied Physics, and even more appropriate, Theoretical Physics run their ideas up the flagpole and see who salutes - engineers do the saluting.

My point was, however, to be clear on the difference between science and engineering because when arguing for research funding (stem cell research, for example) or simply arguing against the anti-science religious loonys, one error will be jumped on and magnified beyond belief. RD, despite his exceptional educational qualifications and experience in debates has, occasionally, made a simple statement that a logical person will take at face value. If there is some way the loonys can misinterpret, they will.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 11:54:37 UTC | #893267

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 10 by Premiseless

Comment 7 by old-toy-boy :

CEOs are in the business of making money. Most (but not all) presidential candidates are in the business of getting votes first, becoming rich second, supporting their party third, and helping the nation forth, and then maybe the world if they have any time left.

Brilliant! It's the religious enslavement to worshiping CEOs that is the problem because they insist upon BEING every solution. Also how can you throw out the markets in a market economy? Religions are simply some of their shopfloor regulation to hire and fire the workforce.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 12:46:07 UTC | #893273

Sines's Avatar Comment 11 by Sines

So, which candidates actually believe in evolution? I know Rick Perry has come out and said he believes in evolution (He made absolutely clear it was theistic evolution, but hey, I'm willing to work with that), as has John Huntsman who has explicitly said the republican party is in trouble if it becomes the anti-science party (Although I don't think he has any real chance of winning the nomination).

Not sure about the rest. Batshit Bachmann and Rain-Dance Perry are obviously not on the side of reason, whether via genuine stupidity or simply trying to get the votes of the religious right. I was a bit surprised and saddened to hear that Ron Paul is a creationist, since he's the only candidate on either side that came off as a person, and not a politician.

So that leaves one more choice that could be pro-science. Anyone know who that is?

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 13:29:12 UTC | #893279

mmurray's Avatar Comment 12 by mmurray

Nice launch NASA. Science and engineering!

Michael

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 15:16:27 UTC | #893308

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 13 by BanJoIvie

Comment 4 by Jos Gibbons

The article says there are 8 Republican candidates. According to Wikipedia, there are 14. Does anyone have any idea which 8 "count"? (It might be quicker to say which 6 don't.)

The 8 candidates who have raised enough money, made enough of an impact to appear in polls, garnered enough political endorsements, etc., to be considered "real" GOP candidates for the 2012 nomination are:

Michele Bachmann
Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum

(Tim Pawlenty, who has already withdrawn was also a "real candidate" at one point.)

The clearest indicator separating these "real" candidates from the also-rans is that they are folks taken seriously enough to be invited by the numerous organizations hosting nationally telivised candidate debates, and thus to be visibly included in general discussions of the candidate "field."

The rest in the wikipedia list have not made enough of a splash to be taken seriously as candidates, and in fact many of them are "perpetual candidates" i.e. representatives of various narrow (and generally fringey) interests who are "running" mostly as a way means of drqwing attention to a pet cause.

I should note, that even among the 8 "real" candidates, many (if not most) do not really have any statistically credible chance of being nominated (I'm looking at you John Huntsman, Jr. and Rick Santorum.) They are essentially hanging around for the platform the race affords them and perhaps hoping to be in the right position if some unpredictable event(s) causes a giant reshuffling of support..

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 15:48:18 UTC | #893328

Red Foot Okie's Avatar Comment 14 by Red Foot Okie

This is a situation that has worried me for quite some time. My thoughts on it are not particularly organized, but here they are.

First, I wish that I had a little context re: polling data. This supposedly golden age of American Science Acceptance (the 50s, I guess). Were the questions they were asking like "Do you support American Science?" or were they "Do you believe in the theory of evolution"? I want to know the questions and I want to know the answers before we start decrying our current dark age.

Given that, I feel that religious code-talk over the last 50 years has indeed led to "science" and "evolution" becoming almost synonymous with one another. Becuase if you support or "believe in" science, then you must simultaneously support/believe its findings: that evolution is true, and that global warming is true and caused by human activity. And if those three things are true then your holy book is not really necessary, and you are culpable in global climate change. Further, as you cliam your holy book to be the basis of your (and very likely all) morality you have to find a new basis, and if are culpable in global climate change (you put the "A" in AGW) then your lifestyle has to change.

But it gets better (or worse, depending)! Science came out and said coal power plants cause acid rain, and that smoking was very, very, bad for you, and that CFCs damaged the ozone layers, and that lead in gasoline was very, very, bad for you, and then LAWS came along to reduce or eliminate those things and certain people lost a lot of money (or simply didn't make as much as they did before).

Those were major successes that we can all look back on with pride. But by the time global climate change came around, the people who were going to lose money had gotten their act together and they were able to fight a real campaign against it. That the belief/support of science should suffer in the crossfire is of little concern to them.

As to the claim that social sciences and feminism are bringing down science, I call total BS on that. If Shawn Otto wants to waste time and money fighting that non-battle then Science-Debate needs better people. People who can leave their wounded egos back in the 60s.

I hate to bring up this next part, but I've noticed that the quality of American teachers (yes, teachers, not teaching) has dropped sharply in the last 15 years. for a guy who wants statstical basis for everything, I have zero to back this up save my own observations. It seems that so many of the people I see who are drawn to teaching are the exact kind of people you don't want to teach your kids. People who think passion trumps knowledge (and ability), people who want to bring the good news of Jesus to the kids, large, pear-shaped women who thought math was hard in school, and hate having to learn it, but hafta learn it because since the divorce they have to get some kind of job and better to be a ruler in hell than a receptionist in heaven.

Last thing, I read an interesting essay that said that as horrible as our cold war with the Russians was, it, in some ways, forced us to become better. But we have let certain elements convince our society that Western values and science and education didn't win the cold war, the free-market won the cold war. The idolatry of the free-market finds its recent grown spurt in this idea. Further, the essay went on to say, our current struggle against radical islam is not making us any better at anything, isn't forcing us to rise at all. In fact, one could argue that their fanaticism is fueling our won fanaticism, their barbarity (real or percieved) is fueling our own, etc.

That essay can be found here.

Last, last thing, I can't shake the feeling that we should stop trying to make science "fun" in our education system and focus on the fact that science is true.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 18:48:05 UTC | #893374

Red Foot Okie's Avatar Comment 15 by Red Foot Okie

Okay, it looks like I owe Shawn Otto an apology:

Shawn Otto | November 26 6:01pm | Permalink | Options Gillian inadvertently overstates my attribution to anthropology above. My position is actually quite similar to Fred Chores's and California Historian's comments. Postmodernism drew ideas from the theory of relativity and cultural anthropology, which is where the anthro statement came from. In my new book Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America http://bit.ly/foolme2 I go into this in detail. It's pretty clear that the postmodernist education of a generation has informed the approach taken by antiscience partisans on both the right and left as it suits them, though the problem is currently more pronounced and public on the right. It also influences the false balance approach in modern journalism and is widely taught in J-school. Thus we have people like David Gregory arguing that "it's not our role" to push the president about the rationale for going into Iraq when the Bush administration couldn't produce evidence of WMD. By denying the primacy of knowledge, all arguments become rhetorical and we turn to authoritarianism to settle disputes. In the case of Iraq, the costs were enormous. I know of some news outlets who instruct reporters "there is no such thing as objectivity." If you believe that then your job is simply to present varying views and call it a day, rather than dig to report the record of what really happened to the best of your ability. So which is worse? An unacknowledged bias while still attempting to report the objective truth, or total abdication of the attempt? That abdication is hamstringing public debate in the US and contributing the partisan gridlock by treating knowledge and opinion as if they were the same thing, for example pitting a climate scientist against an opinionated non-scientist "climate skeptic," and thus weighting the public debate toward extreme and irrational views.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 19:28:21 UTC | #893380

Andres Heredia's Avatar Comment 16 by Andres Heredia

It always makes me sad reading articles like these... and the rise of the antiíntellectual post-modernist philosophy, it is so absurd!!!!

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 19:59:37 UTC | #893386

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 17 by Alan4discussion

New Scientist magazine warned in an editorial that science is now under unprecedented intellectual attack in America. “When candidates for the highest office in the land appear to spurn reason, embrace anecdote over scientific evidence, and even portray scientists as the perpetrators of a massive hoax, there is reason to worry,” it thundered.

This unduly flatters the anti-science fumble-brains. The term should be unprecedented anti-intellectual attack in America.

Since the 1960s, he argues, society has been marked by a growing sense of cultural relativism, epitomised by anthropology. And as post-modernist ideas spread, this has undermined the demand for scientific evidence. Today, any idea can be promoted as worthy, irrespective of facts – and tolerated in the name of “fairness”.

Postmodernism does not have ideas. It has obfuscating verbosity, worthy of a pseudo-intellectual brain machine. - http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/ Be sure to read the explanatory section under the acknowledgements at the bottom of the page!

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 22:08:25 UTC | #893403

PastaPirate's Avatar Comment 18 by PastaPirate

Comment 5 by stuhillman :

Innovation continues to be worshipped, particularly when it produces entrepreneurial companies and clever gadgets (think Apple’s iPad).

Sometimes the debate is confusing as "science" is compared to engineering - no matter how innovative the engineering is. The iPad is not science, it's clever, but it's still engineering.

The problem here is that engineering is impossible without fundamental underlying science. Without a proper understanding of electricity, all of the engineering in the world isn't going to get you an iPad. Without an understanding of crystals and other things, you can't make an LCD screen. Etc. Etc.

I think this is the fundamental disconnect we have here - instant gratification. The same people who complain about money being spent on seemingly "useless" science have no problem using computers, TV's, the internet etc. They can't or won't bother to think forward and realize that the next generation of important technologies will likely come from today's basic research.

I think it's caused by a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works.

Sat, 26 Nov 2011 22:56:36 UTC | #893428

mysticjbyrd's Avatar Comment 19 by mysticjbyrd

The problem in America is two fold.

The first problem is religious ideas are often in conflict with scientific ideas.

The second problem is that the American people have been conditioned in such a way that they believe that everything should be democratic. They feel that they should have a vote, and their opinion is somehow just as valuable as everyone else, despite whether they know anything on the subject or not.

You can clearly see this type of conditioning on American TV, especially Faux news. Faux News constantly airs the outcome of polls, to suggest to their audience that their opinions matter, to the right. Then, to reinforce that idea further, they will often read comments left by their horde of brainless followers. Reality shows are yet another great example of how Americans seem to think.

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 14:48:50 UTC | #893580

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 20 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 19 by mysticjbyrd

The problem in America is two fold.

I would add a third factor. Given America's huge budget deficit, science ranks low down the list when it comes to apportioning dollars for funding. Keeping the Tevatron going another 3 years, funding research such as SETI, or even giving NASA a decent budget with which to operate, all count for little when compared to dollars that can be politically represented as 'political aid' to one group or another. America is not a democracy......it is a place where the most influential bid for tax dollars from politicians and the politicians use those contracts to feather their own nest and gain further political inluence. A dollar-ocracy. Nobody is interested in intellectual pursuits unless there's dollars and political capital to be made.

Sun, 27 Nov 2011 15:23:39 UTC | #893598