The House of Representatives is considering legislation that would impose new non-scientific standards on projects funded by the National Science Foundation:
The National Science Foundation was created after World War II when it had become clear that national defense and economic progress were tightly linked to scientific expertise. It has always funded research based on the peer reviews of fellow scientists. While the process is not without problems, for the most part they have been small and the blossoming of research in the United States has made immeasurable contributions to the welfare of the country.
The idea is to eliminate projects whose cost cannot be justified or whose sociological purpose is not clear. Since much of research is in areas not well understood by the public and members of Congress, this would provide new and devastating opportunities for mischief.
To give an example. Early in the Reagan administration the United States withdrew from the joint international project to explore Halley's comet during its 1986 appearance. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but the Reagan administration wanted to demonstrate a new and more restrictive notion of science funding. A combined European, Soviet, and Japanese effort carried the project through. The United States, which should have led the investigation, gained nothing and lost much prestige internationally. This is the result of political decisions.
Politicizng the decision processes at the National Science Foundation is the kind of big mistake that will take years to realize. Only after the damage is done will the extent and nature of it be understood.
In my opinion, just another attempt by mostly Christians, trying to put us on the road to one of two places: back to the Dark Ages, or forward to Armageddon.
I'm beginning to get worried about the direction of the country. No longer does it seem that the lunatic fringe is just a fringe, it seems to be growing. One article yesterday put the chances of a GOP controlled Senate at 92%. That worries me.
I've been saying for years that this country is inexorably on the road to theocracy, and I see no reason to change my mind now.
I’m also worried about the direction our country is going, particularly in the area of public education. My girlfriend is a teacher here in Wisconsin and every week I hear about various “new” and different standards Gov. Scott Walker is trying to impose on teachers and academic standards. It’s absolutely scary. But what scares me most is how so many people’s eyes seem to glass over when you mention public education, academic standards or even teachers. Around here people truly believe teachers are some sort of heartless plutocrats sucking off of taxpayers. I keep hearing, “Oh! Don’t get me wrong! Schools important but I don’t like what they’re teaching our kids these days”.
David, is that "Weekender" magazine REAL? I thought the teaching of science as we know it was an acceptable course in school. If someone is being upset by this, I have to assume they want us to go back to the Dark Ages. At the very least this attitude should be called child abuse, and the issue is more than just the "dumbing down" of humanity.
It's from The Onion, Michael ... and they are about nothing if they are not about parody, tongue-in-cheek and POE.
Excellent parody David.
I agree Tony.
Yeah Michael, the magazine isn't real. I just love The Onion and I've often come to rely on humor as my favorite method of helping myself not go crazy in this secularist world I occupy.
But what I wrote Is truly how I feel.
This is yet one more example of our inexorable slide into mediocrity, irrelevancy, and worse. Empires do not last forever, and ours is no exception. We worry about enemies from without. But, I'm reminded of the Pogo cartoon from 1970, where the character uttered the famous phrase, "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
Gotta love Pogo.