Howard Dean on the War on Science

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean M.D. became a household name earlier this year when he was running for president. After dropping out of the race, Dean used the network he established to start Democracy for America, “a grassroots organization that supports socially progressive and fiscally responsible political candidates.” On July 5, Dean wrote an editorial on Bush’s war on science in The Daily Camera (Boulder, CO).

The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored.

Presidential scientific commissions have long enjoyed relative immunity from politics. Presidents of both parties have depended on impartial, rational advice from such groups for decades. Yet under the Bush administration, there has been a concerted effort, led by Karl Rove and other political ideologues based in the White House, to stack these commissions with Republican loyalists, especially those who espouse fundamentalist views on scientific issues.

Will it be long before a prominent panel of fundamentalist theologians, conservative columnists and a few token scientists take up the question of whether the theory of evolution should be banned from the nation’s classrooms? Stay tuned. In George Bush’s America, ignorance is strength.