Believe it or not, of all the reprehensible, corrupt and unprincipled acts perpetrated by the Bush Administration, its staggeringly audacious battle against science always struck me as the most insidious. I mean, as disgusting and intellectually dishonest as it is to argue semantics when it comes to what does and doesn't constitute torture -- and as much as Bush himself is almost inarguably guilty of lying through his teeth about what this country was up to -- at least the subject can legitimately be debated.
On the other hand, the Bush White House's seemingly bottomless reservoir of distrust, obfuscation, parlor trickery and outright horseshit when it came to its treatment of science and intellectualism still boggles the mind. I doubt that ever before in human history was there such a pointed correlation between the quality of scientific work being done and the amount of doubt in that work being sown by a supposedly enlightened and civilized bureaucracy. From stem cell research, to global climate change, to evolution, to birth control, proven fact was regularly demonized or simply ignored when it didn't support firmly held right-wing dogma. What's worse, scientific advancements were often unfairly questioned or halted altogether simply to appease a voting bloc whose belief system was rooted solely in the teachings of a 2,000 year old book. Faith trumped reason constantly -- so often in fact that it became a kind of global punchline that, in the United States, you could argue that two plus two no longer equaled four and people would actually listen. A fierce intellect wasn't something to strive for; it was something to distrust -- or worse, to ridicule.
So where do we go from here?
How do we rebuild this country's scientific foundation after eight years of scorched earth?
Read on, and hope that President Obama is listening.
Mother Jones: Return of the Geeks (From October of Last Year, h/t Elvis Dingeldein at GDAB)
DXM: Six of Dumb, Half Dozen of Dumber/10.2.08
DXM: He Blinded Me Without Science/8.12.08