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203 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2007 :  12:37:09  Show Profile  Email Poster  Reply with Quote
Here is an interesting article from the Seti Institute by Seth Shostak, their senior astronomer, entitled "When did Science become the Enemy." I don't think that it will come as any big shock that science is just not that popular in this country. We hear about continuous assults on Evolution, geeks (people who like science) being laughing stocks, and lawyers in the White House editing scientific papers as if science were a matter of opinion.

The article below was prompted by Dr. Shostak noticing how much attention Anna Nicole Smith got last week and compared that to various scientific stories that went unnoticed.




12 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2007 :  17:45:38  Show Profile  Email Poster  Visit tamarawilhite's Homepage  Reply with Quote
As an engineer who worked for several years on the "development" side of research and development, I think there were several factors:
1. Environmentalists insisted that everything in its natural state was best, which implied any recent innovation was bad - until they outright said natural was best. Well, Black Death was natural, too, but it wasn't very good.
2. After Chernobyl, Bhopal, and lesser industrial accidents in the 1970s and 1980s, people came to see the nuclear and chemical industries as inherently dangerous. All chemistry and physics picked up a taint as well. Only biomedical research remained romantic, although the current rage against drug prices may lead to restrictions in medical research that may grind that area, too, to a halt.
3. Few decent sci-fi shows on TV to make kids imagine of what the world could be. Star Trek encouraged my father to become an engineer, and friends of his to go into astronomy. Babylon 5 and Deep Space 9 made us wonder - cross-species sex? Uh, OK, saw that before. It certainly didn't inspire more interest in science. Much less taxpayer willingness or shareholder interest in more science research.

Tamara Wilhite/Humanity's Edge
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