September 20, 2011
The troubling turn against science in the U.S.
Did you know that only one of 16 people running for president of the United States for the Republican party “believes” in evolution? Did you know that one them claims the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine makes girls retarded?
We all know why politicians make certain statements — they’re pandering to what they feel will get them elected. In the United States, many candidates seem to think an anti-science attitude will get them to the White House.
It’s alarming because science — and it’s application in technology — is what has made the U.S. the most powerful nation in the history of the world. Its achievements are unparallelled. American scientists routinely receive the lion’s share of Nobel prizes for science. Even the country’s most ardent enemies have a grudging admiration for Americans’ technological achievements.
Would this all go down the drain if an anti-science Republican were elected president? We can only hope that common sense would prevail. Still, if science were to fall into disrepute in the U.S., there would be serious repercussions for Canada and the world. Without American leadership, we would be seriously hampered in our quest for medical breakthroughs that enhance our lifestyles and technological innovations that drive the economy.
History shows that every great nation or empire has a fatal weakness. A growing bias against science may eventually prove to be fatal for Americans.