What Will Happen If the Future of Science Will Be in the Hands of Conservative Politicians?

“Members of Congress go on the House floor and ridicule the idea of funding science. They want it taken out of the latest stimulus package. In some cases they were ridiculing the fact that it was science”

Rush Holt as a typical liberal doesn’t mention from which political party the congressmen ridiculing science are from. He doesn’t want to be “not nice” – to mention somebody in a “negative” (critical) context. He wants to be “above” the “dirty” political fight. But there is nothing “dirty” about mentioning that those who ridicule science are conservatives – it is just a sad fact. We can bet that those who wanted to have the sciences taken out from the stimulus package were Republicans.

“The founders of this country thought like scientists. Many of them, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and so forth, would have called themselves natural philosophers, the equivalent of scientists in that day… Loosing that way of thinking really harms us”.

“If only we could stop beating the science out of fifth-graders. It’s interesting, in third, fourth, fifth grade, all the kids are natural scientists – they want to do science, and we somehow beat it out of them. We should let the fifth graders talk to these members of Congress who want to cut back on science…”

People with a conservative psychology are always doubtful and suspicious about science. Stalin, who armed ideas with fists and bullets, had eliminated whole segments of science, especially humanistic science, and wanted a total control over scientific thinking. Hitler suspended financing of Werner von Brown’s research (the area of missile technology for military purposes) even after use of missiles proved to be successful in war with England, and this cost him possible victory in 2WW.

“Science, I’ve always thought, is not just another subject in school. It’s how students learn to ask questions so that they can be answered empirically, which is a skill that every person should have. It takes a fair amount of work to achieve proficiency in that – to ask questions that can be answered empirically… You need that not just for material well-being, but for our political system to function…”

The quotes are taken from “Science News”, March 14, 2009, p. 32.

To learn how to formulate questions in a way that they could be answered empirically and how to understand reality and problems in empirical terms it is the way of science, and that is exactly why today’s conservatives are against farther development of and teaching scientific method – it would make it more difficult for the decision-makers to hide their superstitions, prejudices and egoistic interests from the public, then their lies will be easily understood and people will not fall for them. For example, many of our soldiers in Iraq still believe, against all the proven evidence, that Saddam was connected with 9/11. If they could have been taught in school how to think scientifically (how to ask and how to answer questions in empirical terms) they could have never identify with the pronunciations and assertions based on belief and wishful thinking instead of evidence, they could be more soberly skeptical and less emotional in their reactions to the world.

Scientific method is inseparable from democratic world view and is woe to any tyranny, be it traditional monarchy (with a mustache, shoulder straps and torture of prisoners) or monarchy of global corporations (with smiling teeth, singing banknotes and oil- and blood-spills). The fact that conservative politicians are no friends of science, says a lot about their real political agenda.