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2013 - The Need To Defend Science - Now More Than Ever
“Defend Science” was initiated in 2005 in response to a massive wave of attacks on science unleashed during President George W. Bush’s administration. These attacks occurred on many fronts and included at their core attacks on the very foundation of science - scientific method and thinking. As the original Defend Science statement put it:
The attacks (were) coming at an accelerating pace, and (included) frequent interventions by powerful forces, in and out of the Bush Administration, who (seemed) all too willing to deny scientific truths, disrupt scientific investigations, block scientific progress, undermine scientific education, and sacrifice the very integrity of the scientific process itself -- all in the pursuit of implementing their particular political agenda.
And ... this dominant political agenda (was) profoundly allied and intertwined with an extremist (and extremely anti-science) ideological agenda put forward by powerful fundamentalist religious forces commonly known as the Religious Right.
Today, on the surface, some things have changed. Bush and the Republican party are no longer in the Oval Office. And there have been some shifts and changes among the forces of the 'Religious Right'. But the overall strength and influence of these anti-science forces in society remains broad and dangerous. And there is the emergence of 'Tea Party' extremists. All these forces continue unabated to attack science to promote their agendas.
The current Obama administration has not reversed these attacks on science and has failed to act on a scientific understanding on issues such as climate change and the environment, evolution and reproductive rights.
Our goal is to mobilize scientists, science writers, science educators and the broad public to "Defend Science" and bring society-wide attention to the real issues and the real stakes for the future of humanity and the planet itself.
These closing words from the original Defend Science statement remain as true and vital today as when they were first written:
We must refuse to accept a situation where scientific inquiry is blocked or its findings ruled out of order unless they conform to the goals of the government, to corporate interests and to the ideology of religious fundamentalists; where dogma enforced by governmental and religious authority takes the place of science; where the scientific approach of seeking natural explanations for natural phenomena is suppressed. We must insist on an atmosphere where scientists are allowed to seek the truth, even when the truth conflicts with the views and policies of those in power, and where the scientific spirit is fostered, where science education and the popularization of the scientific method are valued, where people are encouraged to pursue an understanding of how and why things are the way they are; where all that has been learned by humanity so far, all that has repeatedly been tested and found to be true, serves as the starting point for further investigation of reality.
IT IS UP TO US. IT IS TIME TO TAKE A CLEAR AND DECISIVE STAND IN DEFENSE OF SCIENCE. THIS IS OF CRUCIAL AND URGENT IMPORTANCE NOT ONLY FOR SCIENTISTS BUT FOR PEOPLE THROUGHOUT SOCIETY, FOR HUMANITY AS A WHOLE AND FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.