I mentioned in an earlier blog that Physicians Concerned for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has become alarmed over the increasing hostility toward science in the United States. Katherine Stewart, the author of the book, Good News Club agrees and warns that innocent sounding programs like, “Adopt-a School” have become a magnet for religious groups who wish to promote creationism. Shawn Lawrence Otto for Scientific American shares these concerns and writes that doctrinaire thinkers are waging an assault not only on the theory of evolution but upon the notion that climate change is human-induce. (“We deny Science at Our Peril,” by Shawn Lawrence Otto, Scientific American, reprinted in The Week, 11/12, pg. 12.)
Conservatives, unfortunately, aren’t alone in promoting non-scientific agendas. Liberals, too, have their lists: a fear of vaccines, cell phones, fluoride, silver tooth fillings, pasteurized milk and anything “not natural.”
Certainly, science has made its blunders. The drug Thalidomide left a generation of babies maimed for life. In the main, however, science has served us human beings well. Nuclear fission is a mixed blessing but imagine a world where no polio vaccine or drug treatments for cancer or AIDs existed. Imagine daily life without technology of any kind and where we still believed the earth is the center of the universe.
I don’t have to lecture rational minds on this point. The bleakest days in human history occurred when dogma overruled science: the Middle Ages, the Inquisition, the Third Reich, to name a few examples. Those of us who care about science and freedom of thought should be alert to this new wave of anti-intellectualism. We may be required to confront it.
(Courtesy of doniv.org)