I just received an e-mail (along with half a million of my best friends) from Shawn Otto, the founder of sciencedebate.org, touting his recent article, “A plan to defend against the war on science,” in Scientific American. I thought it was a good article, but a plan it is not; the “plan” shows up in the second-last paragraph and says only,
There are solutions, however. Sciencedebates.org [sic] is certainly a start. Evidence shows the public is hungry for such discussion of science-driven issues–which affect voters at least as much as the economics, foreign policy, and faith and values issues candidates traditionally discuss–that afford an opportunity to hold candidates to account on the evidence. Individuals can join and support organizations like ScienceDebate.org or the Union of Concerned Scientists that fight for scientific integrity. Pastors and preachers can certainly do more by staying informed of cutting-edge science and helping their parishioners parse the complex moral and ethical implications of new knowledge instead of rehashing old political divides. Educators can develop model curricula and provide training for science-civics classes at the secondary and postsecondary level so that nonscience students develop an understanding of how science works in public policy as well as how it relates to their daily lives. There are dozens of others. I discuss many of these solutions in my new book, The War on Science.
I would like to have seen all that fleshed out at the beginning, not the end, of the article. And I keep asking myself, yes, they can, but will they? Still, I thought it was a good article, a good primer on science denial for political reasons from both the left and the right, and even a bit of a primer on postmodernism.
So read the article and support sciencedebate.org.