Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-is-science? dept.

United States 1722

smooth wombat writes "As a follow-up to a recently posted Slashdot article, Reuters UK has an article which poses the question: is the U.S. becoming hostile to science? From the article: 'Among the most significant forces is the rising tide of anti-science sentiment that seems to have its nucleus in Washington but which extends throughout the nation,' said Stanford's Philip Pizzo in a letter posted on the school Web site on October 3. Cornell acting President Hunter Rawlings, in his state of the university address last week, spoke about the challenge to science represented by intelligent design which holds that the theory of evolution accepted by the vast majority of scientists is fatally flawed. Rawlings said the dispute was widening political, social, religious and philosophical rifts in U.S. society. 'When ideological division replaces informed exchange, dogma is the result and education suffers,' he said." What is your take?

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (5, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900811)

Yes. Any other stupid questions?!

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (0, Redundant)

conJunk (779958) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900818)

that pretty much sums it up.

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (4, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900845)

+1 insightful, -1 Troll, +1 underrated, -1 flamebait, and +5 right (unfortunately).

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (0, Offtopic)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900887)

Wow, you're right: Slashdot desperately needs "+5 Right" and "-5 Wrong" modifiers.

+5 Right for you.

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900858)

I've consulted the bones and they told me that the US is not becoming anti-science.

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900867)

Do inflammatory articles increase Slashdot page-views?

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (4, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900873)

The problem with science being eroded and derided in this country is largely due to the same constructs that affect voting and politics. Think about it.

And there's not really a lot you can do about it. There are few things more addictive and difficult to argue with than religion, because you're not talking about sense or reality or science or rational thought. You can't scientifically argue with people who only can respond with "well, there must be a creator, because I feel it in my bones" - or people who can't possibly conceive that evolution doesn't in any way rule out there still being a creator.

Ignorance is hard to fight. Ever been around an extreme racist and tried to convince them why they're ignorant, stupid and wrong? Then you know what I mean. :/

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (-1, Troll)

Agarax (864558) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900987)

At least we arent some pissant Third World country thats refusing pollio vaccines because of fears that the Western World laced it with HIV.

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (5, Funny)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900925)

Is it? I say we reserve judgement until I've had time to collect, validate, and interpret some data on this...

Re:Is The U.S. Becoming Anti-Science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900958)


Re:Yes but why and how. . . (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13901008)

My take on this is that capitalism in periods of crisis tends to be irrational in many ways.

Nazism is just one example of capitalism going awry under stress conditions. I know that all the great American democracy apologists will tell you that "something like that would never happen in the land of the free" blah blah blah. Bullshit power resides in the hands of those with economic power here. Your opinion and your vote doesn't mean anything in the face of economic power.

So in times of deep economic crisis (like these times for example) the ruling rich gear up for confrontation with the population that is seeing their salaries, their health care, etc. deteriorating. This involves a lot of supposedly irrational attitudes. In this case, there are no people with swastikas running around the streets spreading hatred against the Jewish community. It's more like white people running around the streets with crosses and American flags spreading hatred against Arabs (is there any real difference?).

Part of this process involves a direct attack of a lot of "rational" things, including (but not limited to) science.

There is no debate that's going to stop this trend. Things don't work that way. As the crisis deepens, we are going to see more and more of this crap that can only be stopped on the streets (as opposed to the lame ballot boxes).

So, this problem did not start in Kansas, it started on Wall Street. And is not going to be solved in elections, *if* we have any chance of solving it is by direct action. That excludes blogging.

Story (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13901029)

If anyone actually thinks there can be logical discussion about this topic on Slashdot, they should consult a doctor....or maybe just get out more.

Oh GOD (figuratively) AGAIN!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900813)

How many times in a WEEK do we need to argue the creation vs. evolution argument over and over?!?!?!

Re:Oh GOD (figuratively) AGAIN!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900970)

Until you accept the truth:
GOD >> Google

first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900819)


Re:first (2, Funny)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900840)

No no no.

It was the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then God, then Darwin, then the real first post, then your post.

Do like the british do... (5, Interesting)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900821)

The U.S. is not becoming anti-science. It only appears that way because our administration (sorry if this seems like flamebait.. it is, but its clearly the truth) prioritizes their political success, fiscal policy, and religeon over the recommendations of science. Over time, I think this attitude could prevail over the country, but I doubt if more people than before look down on science as a result of our government's viewpoints. No doubt that debate over evolution and stem cell research has brought a lot of normally suppressed voices to the forefront of political discourse.

Supposedly Britian has a somewhat separated office of science within their government to make decisions that impact circumstances on environment, wildlife and global warming... much of these decisions take more than four years to measure for results, so they're obviously going to be ignored by any U.S. president whose voters believe otherwise. The British government appoints the person in charge of that much like we do the supreme court and federal reserve chairman, which is supposed to keep it relatively non-partisan.

I say we follow the British lead on matters like this. Of course it would have no effect on creationism/ abortion/ etc regulation, but its a start. As far as science in general, the United States is by far the leaders for scientific paper production, measured by citations. However, this number taken per capita or divided by the GDP of the country in question has always put the U.S. far behind in research, primarily to European countries. I'm not sure if this number has declined in the past few years having had a strong religious president.

Mostly, I think, the scientists just keep quiet and do their job of saving lives and advancing technology and let the naysayers bicker on the internet...

Re:Do like the british do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900894)

US government was elected. So it voices out what citizens want. Their administration only reflects the people.

Re:Do like the british do... (1)

AtomicRobotMonster (891499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900928)

The British Government was elected too. Moron.

Re:Do like the british do... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900984)

Yes it was. But not so stupid as bush administration.

Re:Do like the british do... (1)

ScruffyScrode (812789) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900930)

there is a huge wedge between theory and practice in this particular case

Re:Do like the british do... (4, Insightful)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900936)

What's unfortunate in the US is the pitiful state of scientific literacy makes is easy to subvert voters with propaganda, everything from religious fundamentalism to superstitious pseudoscience like astrology and psychic phenomena. Go ask an average guy on the street to explain basic concepts of chemistry, physics, medicine or astronomy, and you'll see what I mean. All those TVs, microwaves and cell phones may as well run on magic for all they care.

Three words.. (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900938)

Scopes Monkey Trial. I know it was a long time ago, but not much progress seems to have been made in overcoming the ignorance and superstition that seems to persist in the southern states. Hell, even here in enlightened California I see people with these fish things on the back of their cars with the word 'Truth' eating the word 'Darwin.' It was here that I saw a bumber sticker informing me that a good knowledge of the Bible is better than any four-year college degree course. Anecdotal? Maybe, but if anybody in Europe drove around with such a public display of ignorance they'd be laughed off the road. Out here it seems to be commonplace.

Re:Do like the british do... (1, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900986)

Mostly, I think, the scientists just keep quiet and do their job of saving lives and advancing technology and let the naysayers bicker on the internet...



It's Not Just Science (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900827)

It's about the message science is bringing. Some people, for religious, political or business reasons don't want to hear what science is saying. This is initially a case of trying to silence the messenger. Not just about science, either. Tell people the economy stinks, they can see the evidence all around then, and they deny it.

Seems every couple generations people in the US have to re-learn the hard lessons of their forebearers. Silence science in this country and it'll be carried on all the more in other countries. e.g. Stem Cell Research. The State of California approved a bond for stem cell research, a few billion $ if IIRC, not much of it has been spent and it will be years before any of it is, on research, because a bunch of Right To Lifers are fighting it on many fronts in state courts.

Re:It's Not Just Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900949)

Using stem cells to support your argument does not really help. I support research into stem cells, but it should not be financed by the federal government. If stem cells are the greatest thing ever, then a private party will invest their money into the research. There is no reason to forcibly take money from me to pay for it.

Re:It's Not Just Science (0, Troll)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900955)

Having a discussion about the moral and ethical problems involved with embryonic stem cell research is hardly attacking science. Besides, what is mostly being silenced is the scientific fact that adult stem cell therapy works and is in use while embryonic stem cell research has not lead to one single therapy to date.

It's Not Just Atheists Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900966)

"Seems every couple generations people in the US have to re-learn the hard lessons of their forebearers. Silence science in this country and it'll be carried on all the more in other countries. e.g. Stem Cell Research."

*sigh* everyone brings this up like it's some kind of agenda against science. It's not. It was against one particular avenue that science took. Science that didn't use stem cells derived from embryos was OK. Also I'd say that because of the stance taken, science was forced to develop the method that utilized skin cells (slashdot covered that). Something that wouldn't have happen in the "let's take the easy way out" science advocated by atheists.

Re:It's Not Just Science (1)

Gandalf_the_Beardy (894476) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900999)

Indeed. There was an article on the BBC news today about having used stem cells to isolate and express the gene(s) for cystic fibrosis. Several US researchers would have liked to have gotten samples, and the UK would be delighted to oblige but the US universities blocked to researchers from doing so.

Religious reasons or is the White House just stopping all stem cell research? Either way the train is steaming past and the US are still trying to buy a ticket - let alone run along the platform after it.....

The Rise of the Holy American Empire (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900836)

Don't think of this as faling behind in science -- think of it like the guy in Conan the Barbarian who explained the Riddle of Steel essentially by stating that technology isn't as strong as the power of religions over other people's minds. ("steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger").

Rather than pine away about how the US is losing the edge in technology, consider it the beginning of a new spiritual prominance that we're gaining instead - hopefully based on our newfound re-discover of Inteligent Design in the form of the FSM.

Thank You, Ramen

Yes. (1)

Burz (138833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900838)

But do not inquire as to why. Because I said so.

Now run along and play with your HummerDinger.

Another Intelligent Design theory (5, Funny)

rminsk (831757) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900841)

... Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him. ... []

Re:Another Intelligent Design theory (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900885)

Keep your noodley appendage away from me.

Re:Another Intelligent Design theory (0)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900922)

Contrary to your post, the FSM cult is made up of people who use Intelligent Design and then take it a step further as proof of a flying spaghetti monster that created the earth. ID in and of itself does not claim to explain who the designer was/is.

It is important to point out that FSM is a spoof and nobody takes it seriously. However, the spoof is flawed and missed the point so I don't know why people keep talking about it.

Re:Another Intelligent Design theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900954)

-1 Humour Impaired.

Is it that different? (2, Interesting)

IgLou (732042) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900991)

Cute but the creationists have "genericized" creationism into intelligent design. That way multiple faiths can jump on the intelligent design band wagon. It's become the lobby group for religion.

Now to be fair though. I'll fight for anyones right to promote intelligent design; provided its sufficiently backed with QUANTITATIVE evidence. So far I keep hearing about more qualitative points like "How likely is it for an intelligent species like man to evolve from protoplasm?" It's not a scientific arguing point rather a philosophical one. The reality is no one can scientifically debunk points like that because there is no other ruler to measure that against!!

I know, let's seed another planet with some single strand protiens that could say come from a comet. Add water, sunlight and several million years of evolution and observe... oh wait.

*Cue twilight zone music* Maybe we're the grand experiment???

Another Zonk Trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900842)

Does anyone have a perl one-liner to count the number of flame-bait stories on evolution Zonk posted? Submit your follow ups here.

Of Course Not! (4, Funny)

taskforce (866056) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900843)

This is preposterous! The US has produced a number of excellent scientific theorum in recent times, including Intelligent Design [] and Intelligent Falling []

Re:Of Course Not! (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900995)

Not to mention FSMism: []

Re:Of Course Not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13901033)

I'm as amused as anyone by the FSM thing, but we can stop linking to it now. There's no one alive that doesn't already know what it is.

Of COURSE it is, duh! (1)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900846)

The only interesting question is wether or not it's possible for a few enlightened city folk to turn the tide against the vast stretches of rural (and southern) faith-based ignorance.

I'm guessing the answer is 'no'. Given that's the case, is there any way to live with it? (again, I'm guessing 'no')

I blame air-conditioning (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900975)

If only air conditioning had not been invented. The south would not have become as populated as it is, more people would have congregated in cities to the north, and more of them would have been better educated.

Yes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900849)

Because religion stops a thinking mind. At least the kind of religion currently pushed by those at the top levels of government.

Well, I'm pro-science, but does that matter? (1, Insightful)

fishybell (516991) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900853)

The magical thing about America is that you can have it both ways.

I am pro-science, anti-god, some people are pro-science, pro-god, some are anti-science, pro-god, and even some (particulary insane ones) are anti-science, anti-god.

America, as a whole, can be considered none of the above. There's roughly 250,000,000 people in the US. Even if 95% of them absolutely hated science, that'd leave millions left to fight for reason.

Re:Well, I'm pro-science, but does that matter? (1)

EiZei (848645) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900934)

America, as a whole, can be considered none of the above. There's roughly 250,000,000 people in the US. Even if 95% of them absolutely hated science, that'd leave millions left to fight for reason.

As opposed to hundreds of millions non-americans fighting for reason..?
Let's hope the US picks up the slack soon enough, your leaders have more than enough faults yet american hegemony beats the idea of chinese rule 10-0.

Re:Well, I'm pro-science, but does that matter? (2, Informative)

Seumas (6865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900983)

The problem is that those who are pro-god, anti-science think schools should be used to promote their non-scientific views (theology) in science classes. The more that progresses, the further our country falls. The less we're eventually able to compete and progress. It's like saying "there are racists and non-racists and even if 95% of the country were racist, that doesn't affect me". Well, it does - because these sorts of things are ingrained and branded into children and young adults by the family they grow up in and the church they go to. So you end up with children who are so confrontational and unaccepting of science, because in their mind, everything is "god's will" and if they can't comprehend something, it must not exist or be true. To them, "belief" becomes a one-step "scientific-method".

Eventually, you end up with a country basing their laws (which DO affect you) on narrow-minded, sub-pseudo-science mythologies. It no longer remains an issue of liberties and self-determination, but one in which everything is based on the new majority's morality. No longer are you punished for something that is harmful to others or prevented from doing things that harm others, but you're prevented from doing anything even to yourself or among consenting people that uninvolved parties do not like. What's to stop that 95% of the religious-nut run country from deciding (for your own good, mind you) that you must kneel and pray daily, because when you stop kneeling and praying, god gets angry and sends hurricanes?

Seriously, in a country where there are churches picketing at the funerals of young military men (because of homosexuality) and religious leaders blaming natural disasters on lesbians - is there any limit?

Re:Well, I'm pro-science, but does that matter? (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900988)

If 95% of them absolutely hated science, then science classes in school would be abolished and replaced with mandatory daily religious indoctrination. Don't you think that the industry would suffer a bit as a result of that? Even if companies taught their workers about what reality *really* is like, the fact that they were indoctrinated at the most impressionable age would mean that with few exceptions, it would be an uneasy compromise at best, and sooner or later, there'd be torches and pitchforks and mobs demanding that those heathens be burned at the stake.

That's what would happen if 95% of us absolutely hated science. Fortunately, those who do are in the minority (although those who are actually pro-science probably also are; a good part of the population probably has neutral feelings towards it right now), so it's nothing we really have to worry about (well, yet), but saying that 5% left to fight for reason is enough is like saying that you didn't have to worry about the fact that 95% of Germans supported Hitler and nazism. (In reality, BTW, it was considerably less than that, and he still managed to wreak more havoc than we can even fathom).

Oh, and just on a side note, of course America *as a whole* is none of that - but then, America as a whole consists of literally dozens of countries anyway. What you are thinking about and referring to is the USA, which is only one American country among many.

Re:Well, I'm pro-science, but does that matter? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901025)

"There's roughly 250,000,000 people in the US. Even if 95% of them absolutely hated science, that'd leave millions left to fight for reason."

No it doesn't. Unless you want to rediscover federalism, the majority always wins. Democratic republic means that the 51 are always right and the 49 are always wrong.

No, no, no (3, Insightful)

dslauson (914147) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900854)

I think it's sad that we only tend to hear the voice of extremism in the media.

I mean, I guess it makes sense, because nobody ever holds an "I'm riding the fence on this one" rally.

Still, this is making us look bad because the ones with the crazy opinions are the ones with the loudest voices sometimes.

Re:No, no, no (4, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900929)

I think that's an overly optimistic viewpoint. Science is ailing in this country. The high-profile crusades against it from the creationists is just the tip of the iceberg. Far more important is the fact that science just plain isn't held in high regard, at a cultural level, and not enough Americans are persuing careers in the various scientific fields. On top of that is all the snake-oil masquerading as science, and the fact that the general public really has no idea of what is and is not science. Of course, that is nothing new, but it is something that universal education was supposed to fix. Well, in that case, universal education has failed. It is not at all surprising to see why, though. In the vast majority of class rooms in the US, science is taught not as a set of principles and methods, but as a loosly-connected facts. Students are not taught how to think scientifically, but are mearly forced to learn tidbits of information that may as well have just been pitching statistics for all the good they do.

what's to ask? (5, Interesting)

gcb (16524) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900860)

Yes, there is a large, vocal, and frighteningly powerful group in the USA ignoring science for ideological reasons. Is there anything to learn by having a discussion on Slashdot about this?

Shouldn't we be asking Slashdot something like, "How do we stop the insanity?"

Seems like that could be more productive.

Pay attention to the comments that will appear. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901015)

Believe it or not, but there are a lot of people reading /. who are happy to defend Intelligent Design as "science".

Before you learn how to end it, you have to learn why people WANT to believe it.

Re:what's to ask? (1)

klandatu (926746) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901017)

Here is an orgainization that is at least trying to fight the good fight

Almost. (1)

Stu L Tissimus (873928) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900861)

It's not the US that's becoming anti-science. It's those that are currently in power that are becoming anti-science. And it's not exactly "becoming," either - Republicans, conservatives, whatever you'd like to call them, have always been anti-science. It's just that now is the time they've chosen to impose their ideals upon the population.

Re:Almost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900943)

It's not the US that's becoming anti-science. It's those that are currently in power that are becoming anti-science.

Look at school. Who are respected, the science geeks or the jocks? Look at the media. Who are respected, the scientists or the singers? Look at the voters. Who got voted into power, the people who act on scientific evidence, or the people who tell the world that they are doing God's work?

Every measure I can think of to determine whether the USA is becoming anti-science or not is telling me the same thing: science in the USA is in deep shit.

Of course it is (2, Insightful)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900866)

With backwards, religious zealots running the country, like DUMBya and his minions, you get the mess we are in now.

All this "Intelligent design" crap is for the physical adults that chose to remain mental children ..

Just look at the banning of the nature videos at the Imax theaters recently because the films discuss evolution..

The zealots in washington would have the scientists put to death if they could get away with it for denying their precious book of fairy tales.

"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him."

Actually they movies weren't banned (1)

technoextreme (885694) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900918)

They just weren't bought in highly religious areas.

Of course it isn't (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900957)

Nietzsche: God is dead
God: Nietzsche is dead

Who do you think won that debate?

Re:Of course it isn't (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901016)

I think Trent Reznor won: Your god is dead, and no one cares.

When... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900870) and engineering work is getting outsourced to Asia with little complaint, why should the US spend capital on teaching real science here?

Er... (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900871)

Is the Pope catholic?

Re:Er... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900969)

Depends... which Catholic? Eastern Orthodox or Roman?

Too many right wing nut jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900878)

There are too many right wing nut jobs living in the US. Who would rather believe a book that claims to be the word of God, but is a little more than fiction wrapped around a few historical facts. If the red states would just sink into the ocean (please give me warning God so I can move), the rest of the world would be a much better place.

More than Anti-Science (4, Insightful)

JungleBoy (7578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900879)

America is more than anti-science. American culture in the broadest terms has become very anti-intellectual, which is really a super-set of being anti-science.

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900880)

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

This single controversy indicates that every U.S. citizen and every child in K-12 is now firmly opposed to sound Science and that they will always be.

We're all DOOMED!!!

Animal Rights Movement (4, Insightful)

briancarnell (94247) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900882)

It would be nice if the anti-science stuff didn't always focus on the creationists and would occasionally also focus on the animal rights [] nuts who advocate killing researchers and blowing up labs. Just 'cause they don't tote Bibles (though some do), doesn't mean they're not every bit as big a problem as the creationists (besides, creationists rarely blow up biosciences labs like animal rights extremists do).

Re:Animal Rights Movement (1, Insightful)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901026)

besides, creationists rarely blow up biosciences labs like animal rights extremists do

Unfortunately it's the creationists that blow up abortion clinics and kill abortion doctors.

Re:Animal Rights Movement (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901042)

YOU say they're nuts - and so do I - but assuming they aren't, and all life is sacred, killing researchers and blowing up labs is no worse than the death penalty, which continues to this day. (Personally, I think a death penalty is bullshit.)

Ah, Zonk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900890)

"Does Bush Suck?
Posted by Zonk on Every Damn Day Since He Started Working Here."

But I'm sure we'll resolve everything this time.

Religion simply doesn't care (4, Insightful)

Logic Bomb (122875) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900891)

Most of the heavily religious people in the US are Christians with fairly fundamentalist, or at least evangelical, views. These people are not particularly interested in the physical world, because their religion teaches them that whatever they do here is merely preparation for an afterlife that will be much much better. If your primary concern is going to heaven when you die, why would you care about physics?

There's also the simple matter that learning about critical thinking in general and science in particular makes it hard to swallow religious dogma. Science isn't incompatible with spirituality, but it's totally in opposition to biblical literalism and other fundamentalist practices. It's very much in the interests of these kinds of religious groups to denigrate science, as doing so makes it easier to spread their beliefs. (And, for people whose faith isn't enough, easier to justify their beliefs.)

Re:Religion simply doesn't care (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901018)

because their religion teaches them that whatever they do here is merely preparation for an afterlife that will be much much better.

I keep hearing that- but as a Catholic I just don't understand it. If you're preparing to make your afterlife better, wouldn't it be reasonable to at least try to DESERVE that afterlife?

Re:Religion simply doesn't care (1)

eingram (633624) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901032)

The primary function of my car is to get me to school and work. Why should I worry about how it works? Anyway, the big thing today is ID. I say we let all the ID folks take over the medicine industry and allow them to only use ID theories for research and development of new medicines. Let's see what they come up with without this crazy "theory of evolution."

Wolf in sheep's clothing (2, Insightful)

mitcharoni (222957) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900899)

I think the public is smart enough to realize that what's being propped up and paraded around as "science" is in fact just a bunch of hogwash, much of which is politically motivated (i.e. global warming, stem cell research, etc.). As a result, there's a general lack of trust of the scientific community to begin with. Plus, our "convenience store" mentally of wanting everything now now now means we have little patience to wait 20-30 years for results.

Anti-anything to hard to do (2, Insightful)

Belegothmog (712435) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900901)

Becoming anti-science is only another step along the "this discipline is too hard for me to study, therefore anyone who does understand it is an elitist snob" mentality that is growing in this country.

First they came for the mathematicians, and I did not speak out--
because I did not like math;
Then they came for the theoretical economists, and I did not speak out--
because I did not understand economics;
Then they came for the engineers, and I did not speak out--
because I did not believe engineering was a true science;
Then they came for the scientists, and I did not speak out--
because I did not like my science teacher;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Science apparently has no place...... (2, Funny)

8127972 (73495) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900907)

.... in an America dominated the religious right.

I wonder if there's a scientific reason for that?

my take? (4, Insightful)

Maskirovka (255712) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900911)

When ideological division replaces informed exchange, dogma is the result and education suffers,' he said." What is your take?

My take is that I should learn to speak chinese.

yep (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900917)

The worlds becoming dumber so everyones "anti-science", as long and "normal people" get to work 9-5 and watch their TV they don't care any more. We've had it drilled into us so hard that we're just worthless minions who need extra money to buy worthless crap that we end up more or less beliving it. So science is something you hear about on TV, not something you're able to take part in after you leave school.

Do you have support at all for that argument? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13901040)

Does anyone who complains about the current state of the eduction system have any reason to believe that people now, in America, on average, are not more educated than they are at any time in history?

Which in no way implies that our education system is optimal, but, if "the worlds [sic] becoming dumber.." could you point to a time when the world was... smarter?

Lincoln blew it (0, Troll)

jcbarlow (166225) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900926)

It's all Abraham Lincoln's fault. He should have just let the Confederacy become it's own country. Then we wouldn't have all those rednecks in the USA.

Education in general is suffering (4, Interesting)

d-rock (113041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900937)

I think it goes beyond just anti-science. The way things have been going lately I'd contend that there's a general anti-education theme at play. It's not cool to be smart here, and it's definitely not high on anyone's funding list, no matter what the politicians may say. I've spoken a lot with my Father-in-law (he's Taiwanese) and we've come to the agreement that Americans in general are becoming increasingly complacent when it comes to education. Everyone's fat, happy and enjoying "Pimp my Ride" too much to care about the long-term impact of drastic education underfunding and a general lack of good teachers. I have two hopes: that the influx of educated foreigners in search of a better life here don't get completely blocked out by the xenophobes at home, and that the small percentage of Americans who are determined to get a good education are able to hold the line until people realize that education is a good long-term investment.


On creationism and evolution (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900947)

Brown University biologist Kenneth Miller believes the rhetoric of the anti-evolution movement has had the effect of driving a wedge between a large proportion of the population who follow fundamentalist Christianity and science.

"It is alienating young people from science. It basically tells them that the scientific community is not to be trusted and you would have to abandon your principles of faith to become a scientist, which is not at all true," he said.

That's absolutely true, because so many creationists deny the validity of the theory of relativity. The real problem are those who insist on a strict interpretation of the bible, because genesis conflicts with the theory of evolution. Of course, a rational christian (no, this is not necessarily an oxymoron, at least not completely) would accept that time is just an invention to keep everything from happen at once (no matter who "invented" it) and that the things that occurred in those six days didn't necessarily happen in 24 hour periods, but instead more literally didn't happen at the same time.

Anyway, these are generally people who actually believe that god put dinosaur bones here to test us. How can you reason with people like that?

Not as bad as the article says (2, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900956)

From the Article: Polls for many years have shown that a majority of Americans are at odds with key scientific theory. For example, as CBS poll this month found that 51 percent of respondents believed humans were created in their present form by God. A further 30 percent said their creation was guided by God. Only 15 percent thought humans evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years.

Uh, this looks like a poll tweaked for contraversy to me. The 2nd answer presupposes the third; thus 45% of Americans think that humans evolve from less advanced life forms over millions of years, and a large portion of those believe that God wrote the rules that caused the evolution. The Big Bang itself is not only consistent with this point of view- it provides some proof of it. Something happened at planck time that changed the laws of the universe from a set of random variables effecting every particle differently, to a set of constants that all of our laws of physics are based upon. And not easy numbers either- really messy numbers that if they were even .0000000001% different than they are, we would not have evolved in the same way- perhaps not at all.

So while our dearly stupid evangelical leaders may be going the wrong way, the American People as a whole seem to be as pro-science as ever.

Eugenics is the answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900964)

I think eugenics is the only solution for those that hold to belief in ID.

Yes and (4, Insightful)

azav (469988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900974)

Yes and I'm scared that we're approaching a Christian induced period of "believe in what makes you feel good" instead of "believe in what is correct, true and accurate."

I'd like to become a born again SCIENTIST but I never left the fold.

If any are tough enough to do it and already have a Biology degree, pick up and read Origin of the Species. Many things were not known to Darwin and his peers at the time like genetics and plate tectonics so many of his assumptions are not entirely accurate, but they are a path on the road to the understanding that we have today. Read it for reference, not to learn new concepts since many ideas posted are superseded by what we now know. And read it so that you actually can talk on an informed manner to those who claim to know that evolution is a myth.

Religion is a panacea for those of small minds who are to lazy to learn how the world really works and feel comfortable with small and easy answers - even if they are false.

Link to Cornell President's speech (text) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900981)

President Rawlings decries 'invasion of science by intelligent design' []
State of the University address calls on Cornellians to challenge theory

How Ironic (4, Insightful)

cluge (114877) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900989)

One of the actions of the US that is declared "anti-science" is the refusal to ratify Kyoto. I find that very strange since one of the lead scientists doesn't agree with kyoto. Lindzen's senate testimony [] is an extremely disturbing look into how politics shape science. Couple that with the bad data [] found in the Mann report and it's enough to make anyone doubt good science [] is being done.

At the end of the day, the US isn't anti-science it's a system that has been built around science in much of the developed world that doesn't promote enough skeptisism or honesty. Peer review in some circles just means you belong to the right clique, with the right point of view. Put that together with funding that often comes from political circles filled with "true believers" and you have a recipie for disaster.

Lindzen's quote "There is a certain charm when politicians are so certain of the science when the scientists are not" seems rather apt.


U.S. NOT becoming anti-science (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900990)

Pro-stupid is more accurate.

Not at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13900992)

Being anti-science would mean being anti-newfangled-ways-of-killing-people, which the US certainly is not. In fact, you will often find a strong sentiment for the development of new implements of death in the very same people in whom you might seem to detect those anti-science sentiments.

No question (4, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 8 years ago | (#13900998)

Of course science is suffering in the U.S. In 1991, 9% of the U.S. population believed in Naturalistic Evolution. That went up to a whopping 10% in 1997 with 44% believing in creationism and 39% believing in Theistic evolution (evolution, but God-guided). Now, if you ask scientists (which pretty much includes anyone with a higher degree in science, but presumably people of intelligence and education), the percentage that believe in Naturalistic Evolution goes up to 55%, with only 5% believing in creationism and 40% in Theistic evolution. So 95% of scientists believe in Evolution in one form or another. Why? Because it's a friggin' fact!

The 44% of the US population that don't believe in evolution of any form believe there's a God who's idea of a good time is toss dinosaur bones around the world making them look millions of years older than our 4000 or 5000 year old Earth. As if his time couldn't be better spent smiting creationists or something.

But really, if you have such a large population that simply can't believe facts, then how on Earth can science advance in that kind of environment.


Chulo (711610) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901002)

Whoever wrote that there dumb article/question should be hanged Texas style. yee-haw.

Legislation a Contributing Factor? (1)

SkiifGeek (702936) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901006)

This issue is not US specific, I think that almost all Western nations are facing similar futures.

I think that whenever a country gets itself so bogged down in legislation and legal protectionism, that its scientific and research and development future (naturally risky endeavours) is short lived. While laws such as SOX, OSHA, and others are ostensibly for the protection of the community (i.e. protecting against the greed of the business world), the restrictions tend to mean that more time is spent complying than actually researching.

Patent and trademark law also stifles innovation, especially when IP holders exert their authority. This is one of the reasons cited for the near death of the early powered flight industry in the US (the Wright brothers were asserting their IP rights), and the location of the major Hollywood studios on the West Coast (apart from the improved climate, it was an attempt to evade the protectionism on the East Coast).

The prevailing theology would be the third leg of the stool, with significant historical injustices being carried out in the name of religion (and historical revisionism). There is no problem with science and theology / philosophy co-existing. The problem arises whenever ethical decisions are required for future research tracks, or when one tries to undermine the other (such as there is no higher being because we can't see it/them/her/him). Sometimes faith is just that, faith. It doesn't need to be rational (although it helps), and a faith in the scientific process is as valid as a faith in the intangible.

Of course, declining academic results, low birth rates, the MTV generation, the offshoring of high tech industry, the turning of tomorrow's leaders into cannon fodder, protracted conflict, government corruption, mismanagement and the proliferation of the 'short term profit at all costs' ethos all play their part as well.

Bush Administration is pro-science (3, Insightful)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901014)

weapons development is science

Dogma is dogma (2, Insightful)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901019)

It doesn't matter if the dogma is religious dogma or scientific dogma. If you can't question it and get reasonable answers back, it's just dogma. And, unfortunately, too much of science is that way.

Intelligent design? As far as I know, nobody has actually refuted "Darwin's Black Box" by Michael Behe. The man is not an idiot, he knows his molecular biology, and he raises some valid points. Screaming, "He's just a creationist!" doesn't make the points go away. Talking about how the consensus of scientists agree with you doesn't make the points go away. (The consensus is only right until it's wrong - but it takes quite a while for the consensus to change after it's been shown to be wrong.)

Stem cell research? There are people who believe that a fertilized egg is a human being. That's not a scientific question. But until it's answered, there's a moral problem, at least for those people, and asking them to accept that there will be scientific advances just makes them think of Dr. Mengele. Now, you can argue that it's a dogma to those people, and you'd be right. But to them, it's not a scientific issue. And until you can persuade them that stem cell research isn't a moral issue, they're going to fight you. And some of them (certainly not all) can give you some intelligent reasons why they think what they do. If you can't respond with some intelligent reasons of your own, all you have is a dogma.

A Note to Creationists (3, Insightful)

alucinor (849600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901021)

Here, your own Bible says that God didn't directly create animals, but that he gave his blessing for the earth to produce life:

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatues, according to their kinds ..."

Gen 1:24

So, even if I chose to argue with the creationist point of view solely from the Bible, you can't say that God just popped a creature into existence. He let the land produce the living creatures -- can this leave room for interpretation that God said, "let life evolve?"

It would make for an interesting study whether evolution is completely random or not. Perhaps the whole tree of species is following some sort of pattern, like a literal tree growing from a single seed -- some randomness is involved, but overall, there is a meaning and order to how the growing tree develops.

This kind of science would overlap more with Gaia theory than theology.

could be! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13901023)

Science, and rationality in general seem to be given short-shrift here and now. ... And perhaps for good reason!

From an authoritarian viewpoint, properly indoctrinated, docile "believers" are generally more convienient than thinkers! "Where it is a duty to worship the sun it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat." -- Christopher Morley

For that matter, few corporations hav gotten rich by encouraging rational consideration of a product's merits and utility; impulse purchasing and "I want it 'cause I want it and I want it NOW!" is much more profitable.

One question... (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901031)

..what's this science thing you're talking about?

Backlash (2, Insightful)

readin (838620) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901036)

Religion remains strong in America on both sides of the issue. The religious beliefs most Americans hold are not incompatible with science, but all too often educators and scientists fail to realize this. Instead, they make a religion of science itself and proclaim that all views that do not idolize science are wrong. This in turn has produced a backlash amoung many Americans who subcribe to a religion other than science. This is not to say that all scientists have science as their religion. Properly viewed, science is not a religion - it is a tool and like any tool it has limits.
What has caused most of the backlash is the issue of what is taught in school. It would help a lot educators could simply acknowledge that:

1. Science cannot tell us what happened, only what is a plausible explanation for what happened, and there are always alternative explanations.
2. You don't need to believe the theory of education to pass the class, you only need to understand it and be able to explain it because whether it turns out to be correct or not, it is widely accepted enough that you need to know about it to be educated.

There is a happy middle, but of course it is the most vocal on both sides of the issue who cannot compromise and who get most of the press.

US Religion is becoming more anti-science... (2, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901045)

And even worse than that, a very small minority of American believers are actually anti-science. Try to google for recent opinion polls, and you'll see that most Americans are actually pro-science and fairly liberal in outlook.

These religious, anti-science people are bullies, and they must be opposed. And the opposition should start in the mainstream media, which unfortunately have been neutered by political correctness, especially giving all sides of a debate equal air time, and by the incredible propaganda of the right and the far right parties.

Even moderate Republicans are now becoming afraid of the political power of the know-nothings (because being anti-science is bad for the bottom line, but that's another story).

If you take a look at history, you'll see that, historically, periods of great scientific progress have been associated with weakened -- or at the very least more tolerant -- religions. The best example of this is the islamic golden age, which saw an incredible civilization that was tolerant of science and of other religions (including christian jewish scientists) and saw marvelous art bloom. Of course, being able to control the trade routes between Asia and Europe also helped a lot. At the same time, Europe was tightly controlled by the Catholic Church and in the darkness of the Middle Ages.

As soon as the different islamic countries were overrun by the Turkish Caliphate -- which practiced a much more puritanical and intolerant brand of Islam -- and by the Spanish 'reconquista', the islamic dark ages began.

At about the same time, Europe started its Renaissance, by re-discovering the classical Roman and Greek philosophers (whose books were copied by the Moslem scientists) as well as importing many of the arabic innovations in science (the number 'zero' and the distillation of alcohol, among other things) and asserting the powers of the state vs the power of the Church.

I am afraid the USA are headed down the same path: the puritanical streak that has always been present in American society is making a strong come-back (like it does every 30 to 50 years: see McCarthy, Joseph and the term 'witch hunt'). If it is not fought vigorously, the USA will go down the path of the great islamic statelets of the past and will slowly fade in importance. Progress, after all, has usually been followed by regression many times in history.

The question is, will it take the rest of the world with it, or will americans find the strength and courage to fight obscurantism?

a bias in NSF funding (2, Interesting)

mr.dreadful (758768) | more than 8 years ago | (#13901046)

I can't quote the person directly, but I spoke with a person at the NSF who told me that the NSF has been rejecting proposals that do not contain a "balanced viewpoint", i.e. not enough content about "Intelligent Design," (which in my book still equals creationism ).

Ironically, the NSF has just informed Kansas they cannot use some NSF materials because of their approach to teaching evolution.

Science in this country is in big trouble because it has become even more politicized. Science and dogma do not mix well...

Its to be expected, who were the first settlers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13901051)

You expected something different from a country originally settled by religious extremists from Europe. After all the Puritans did not leave Europe to get away from religious prosecution but rather to start a society where their brand of fundamentalism could be practiced away from the light and ridicule of intelligent society.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?