In the 3rd week of May, The New Republic magazine carried the Defend Science statement as a paid ad (p.6 issue dated May 21). The May 19th issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote an editorial - "Wise words in defense of seeking wisdom : When reason is under siege, reasonable people must speak"
In the next few days, there was a large outpouring of support as hundreds from Minnesota and elsewhere signed the Defend Science statement. Many also added comments expressing their distress about science coming under attack and their determination to build a movement to defend science. Word spread further to other countries around the world - and real concern about what is going on in this country was expressed as well as support for the defense of science and scientific thinking. Take the time and read these comments - it's well worth it!
If anyone imagines that Defend Science! is just "scientists talking to scientists"... look at this - and think again.
All this because of one editorial ... in Minnesota.
Imagine what will happen when word of Defend Science reaches nation-wide via the pages of major news media -- and the ripple effect to other media. Much more of this is needed ... and urgently.
But this won't happen without more effort. We all need to further tap this potential. Spread the word to colleagues, friends. Help us raise the $100,000 needed to reach the broadest public nation-wide.
We welcome more comments. Email us your comments.
Thank you for doing this! We have generations of willful ignorance to undo, both religiously motivated and otherwise, so we have our work cut out for us!
--David Gragert, Lover of Learning, Editorial Assistant, Society of Petroleum Engineers
I just want to add my name to the list of people who are opposed to allowing religious fundamentalists to inflict their unfounded, unproven beliefs on the rest of us, in our schools or in our government.
--Jane Johnson, retired educator, Minnesota
Although I'm not a scientist, the attack on scientific progress is appalling. I used to think that the Scopes trail era was a quaint throwback to days when those poor, misinformed zealots didn't know any better. That people like William Jennings Byron and those of his ilk simply lacked the knowledge we have today, decades later, about evolution. I am stunned that today, in 2007, we are still fighting that battle.
--Jill Schwimmer, Finance Manager, University of Minnesota, Concerned citizen
It is becoming evident that enlightened, open minded reflection about the world we live in is not a freedom that, as Americans living in a free society, we should assume will always be a given. We should expect that open and honest intellectual pursuit of the nature of our existence should not be an activity which would be a threat to personal liberties but history has shown otherwise.
--William L. Pedersen, Hospital Administrator (ret), Minnesota
Keep up the good work. This movement is long overdue. We are in a second dark ages with this nut bunch in the White House.
--Alan Heckathorn, worked career in electronics field, Minnesota
I read about your organization in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis). I am so relieved that an organization such as yours has formed. I will alert everyone I know who will also appreciate the work you do.
--Jeri Nelsen, Non-Profit Consultant, Minnesota
This organization is very much needed! Let's get to work and counteract all the misinformation by the Right Wing.
--David W. Johnson, Director, Employee Assistance Program University of Minnesota
We defend science from government intrusion. As children and adults we must continue to learn about evolution and other insights from science to help us apply civilizing values to our lives.
--Rev. William Weir, Unitarian Universalist Clergy, Minnesota
In the tug of war between Faith and Reason, count me on the side of Reason. We must defend Science. It is our only hope.
--Richard Maus, Author, Retired Mathematics and Physics teacher, Northfield, MN
I have grave concerns about the cavalier attitude with which this administration approaches primary sources of knowledge. I am frightened by the prospect of a country run by preferred ideals rather than logic and fact. I fear that the doctored "science" that is being produced on a national level will have very devastating consequences when we finally do choose to use the scientific method instead of whims. What happens when we, in ten years, decide to use the climate data that has been generated (by what means we don't know) by our national government? We will find that since the data has been manipulated, we cannot use any of it and we will have lost ten years of valuable, maybe crucial data. I don't even know how to approach those who want to consider "intelligent design" as a valid theory. I ask them to tell me what an "intelligent design" curriculum might look like in my classroom. What daily activities, lectures, readings and writings would facilitate learning about "intelligent design"? The response always comes back to scripture. This is an insult and a danger to our society. Keep up your work and keep the movement of truth through science growing it is imperative to our future. None of us will go down without a fight.
--Stephen Bloden Public School Teacher, Minneapolis Public Schools
I am pleased to join this standing up for the natural world through science. I know it must be done--though it is a shame that anyone has to do it.
--David Dorn, Composition and Humanities Instructor (Retired), Rochester (MN) Community and Technical College
Having just read Richard Dawkin's The God Delusion twice (serious science, unlike childish fairy tales, requires serious thought), I long for the day when America will see an intellectual athiest run for high office with the guts to quit slopping out religious pap and fairy tales and speak firmly and truthfully to the electorate.
--John Parkman, investor, Book Reader, Minnesota
essential work that must be done- defending open inquiry, objective science is a key to political and intellectual freedom in a democracy
--Walter Enloe, active citizenship teacher, Graduate School Education Hamline University
Until now we have not seen much of these attacks on science in Sweden. But things are about to change... Religious groups are now beginning to speak more openly about their disbelief in certain types of science. What I find very alarming is that this seems to coincide with a rapidly declining interest for scientific education among the young. Well-educated people will not fall for simple arguments as easily, while lack of knowledge will make the attack on science easier. The best way to defend science is probably to stimulate the interest in science among school children!
--Lars Mattsson, Uppsala University, Dept. of Astronomy & Space Physics
I am a field research paleontologist, and I'm here to defend science and scientific research. I believe that fundamentalist christians are trying to destroy education and scientific truth. Therefore, we scientists should act on this issue. We should help students who want to do science on professional level, by giving them admission to Colleges and University. To all the faculty around the country help students who want to do science, real science so that way we will have more scientists in the country doing real science. Creationism is a caricature of science and wants to destroy our established and still growing civilization. We all must unite on this very important issue and confront the pseudo-science such as ID and creationism with our research and discoveries in all fields of science.
--Sebastian Dalman, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, University of Massachusetts,Amherst Dpt. of Geosciences
Albert Einstein said it best: "One thing I have learned in a long life: that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing that we have."
--Claiborne Glover III, The University of Georgia, Department of Biochemistry and Molcular Biology
I have long dreamed of contributing to the global fight against preventable communicable diseases through the development and implementation of effective public health measures. It saddens me to find the current political situation in the United States of America at odds with the very science that is utterly essential to the success of such endeavors. I will continue to pursue my education in hopes that the future may bring significant and drastic changes to the public perception and acceptance of science in this country. The world is watching. Let us not continue our current course. Science in the United States of America must not become the laughing stock of the global community.
--Mark Wannemueller, Recent biology graduate, University of Southern Indiana
Good to see such an organization exists to promote atheism and Humanist thoughts. Good luck and keep up the good work.
--Jeff Horsman, Natural Product Chemist
This is a vitally important effort. Living in Georgia, I can attest to the problems such anti-science attitudes are having.
--Stephen Burnett, Associate Professor of Biology, Clayton State University
It is a sad commentary on the backward state of knowledge in the U.S. when a Defense of Science petition is needed in the face of attacks by our elected Federal officials. We need another one in defense of Truth versus Falsehoods as well.
--John W. Moore, researcher, Managing Director, Optimer, Inc.
I see the lack of scientific rationale and the general misunderstanding of science and the scientific method in general disturbing. Equating Science to ideological or even at times spiritual 'beliefs' does its true purpose a great disservice: The understanding of the physical world around us.
--C. Maxwell Hair, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochem., Kennesaw State University
It is very sad that high officials of a modern developed country are trying to decompose science, the basis for present-day society.
--Bengt Edvardsson, Astronomer, Uppsala University, Sweden
I am concerned about recent letters to the editor of my local newspaper that demonstrate a lack of knowledge about things like global warming and evolution. Being a scientist, I want to help educate people as to the science behind these issues and get people thinking in a more scientific manner. Please let me know what else I can do to help!
--Dubear Kroening, Assistant Professor of Biological Science, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
Science is a way of looking and understanding our natural world. Instead of confusing our children with gobbly gook (earth is 10,000 years old) we need to provide them with the critical thinking skills that will enable them to not only understand the ramifications of global warming and other pressing issues of our time, but to also empower them. Ignorance of our natural world and how it works will doom us to a very bleak future.
--Maria M. Rubio, long-time science educator, researcher
As a foreigner coming to the USA, I was stunned by the degree to which religion impacts on news presentations, esp on TV. It is all subtly oppressing naturalistic explanations.
--Rod White, Head of Temperature Standards, Industrial Research Ltd, New Zealand
Defending science is vital, science possessing the world's only self-correcting system of beliefs and understandings about reality.
--Peter Gardner, Emeritus Prof. of Anthropology, Univ. of Missouri
As a science educator I seek not to tell people that they may not hold the theological views they wish, but rather to dispel the myth that theological views are a substitute for real science.
--Lindsey Gouvin, EcoTarium (Museum) educator
The very idea that the intellectual freedom to discuss theories and seek truth through honest scientific investigation in the 21st century [is under attack] is absurd. As scientists and educators we must not let politics and religion corrupt scientific endeavor. Those who would do so are seeking personal power in their societies at the expense of the one thing they proclaim to hold so dear--truth.
--Mary U. Manner, M.S., Director of Education/Exhibits Manager, Great Lakes Children's Museum
I think that this is a valuable and necessary action, to raise awareness by scientists and the general public of the chicanery that the Religious Right and the Bush Administration to distort and suppress scientific facts, research, and discoveries to fit with their agenda. We as scientists need to be vigilant and aggressive in our defense and exposition of the beauty of the scientific method and of the scientific world-view, and cannot allow the religious right to undo the hard-won victories science has had in changing our understanding of the world around us and our place in it.
--Edward Hubbard, Cognitive Neuroscientist, INSERM, France
I enthusiastically endorse to views of my more illustrious compatriots, Darwin and Dawkins, and wish you every success in your battle for rational thought.
--John Mason, Retired research metallurgist, formerly with Corus, Rotherham, UK
That scientists need to defend science and scientific reasoning, shows how urgent this society needs to reform its system of education at all levels.
--Wolf Krebs, emeritus Professor of Anatomy, the City University of New York
Faith may lead one to seek answers, but answers manufactured by faith are nothing more than a dangerous attempt to impose a personal agenda.
--Don Smith, Member, Sr Technical Staff, IBM, Lockheed Martin, Retired
With my more naturalistic world view I'm generally coming from a philosophical angle when I debate theological issues, but lately I've found myself in need of getting deeper in to biological and other scientific arguments as well - and that fact alone is to me quite worrying. 'Religious science' to me is an oxymoron, in principle as well as practice. I have faith in science as an open and honest field of study, and religious influence of any kind can only work against that intellectual honesty. Attacking evolution by natural selection from the point of ID is like saying gravity is 'just a theory' falsified by aeroplanes. All because one would like it to be so... I'll end here, so not to overwhelm anyone with a debate that should not be necessary at all.
--Michael Dahlquist, Philosopher, Västerås, Sweden
It is essential that the voice of scientists be heard loud and insistent before we can't be heard at all.
--John Boyle, Aerospace Engineering, Chief System Engineer
To deny scientific proof is to deny the Lord's work. Our physical, mental and over-all well being has been brought to astronomical levels through the research of dedicated scientists. We all benefit from this research, no matter what walks of life. We have prevented and cured disease. Science has improved the life quality of man kind, and will continue to improve it. If we trust the Lord, then we will trust that he has a working hand in the fight to cure deadly diseases that affect the life quality of our friends and family. These discoveries are nothing short of a miracle. The Lord has created the human body more complex than any man made machine. With science, we have been able to understand his divine work, and find ways to keep our bodies running efficiently. If this was not the Lords will, this discovery would not have continued as long as it has. Could any red blooded human look into the eyes of a dying child, and tell them that scientific research is not in the will of the Lord, but suffering is? There is not one person living who has not benefited from scientific research, be it immunization, herbs and plants, or something as simple as an aspirin. We have come so far, that to stop would be insanity. There will always be debates over wrong and right; good and evil. But to have the ability the cure man of fatal diseases and sickness, I just can't see the wrong in it. People of faith believe in miracles. And science has been a miracle. I am a woman of faith myself, and I fully support scientific research to better the life of man kind.
--Jessica L. Moore, residential habilitation specialist, mother of 1, psychology department, Buffalo State College
Every adult American needs at least a rudimentary understanding of and appreciation for science in order to be a responsible citizen and informed voter. It is simply not possible for society to deal with issues such as human overpopulation, global warming, environmental disintegration, public health, mass propaganda, religious extremism, etc. without the support of science and rational thought. Science is the only proven, time tested, consistent method of solving complex problems. If we lose science, we're sunk. Defendscience.org provides a great service.
--John Robert True, nurse, emt, B.S. Microbiology, Texas A&M Univ.
As a retired but still active prof., I have been much involved with science at a lay level, and concur absolutely with the attached statement. But I have also done a good deal of critical biblical scholarship, and know that Christian fundamentalists are motivated by biblical literalism, which is an absolutely erroneous and misguided conception of the Bible. Consequently I believe that any intellectually respectable attempt to defend science must do so on TWO fronts: the biblical and the scientific. -- My proposal is nothing new. It was carried out with great flair and style 60 years ago by the late Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker.
--Charles Dickinson, Retired Prof., independent scholar, teacher for Beacon Hill Seminars
Preservation of scientific principles in gleaning new knowledge is essential for our ever expanding search for information about the world around us and the universe. True scientific endeavor is an evidence-based process where the only "faith" involved in in the skill of the researcher. Faith based investigation such as Intelligent Design will not stand the scrutiny of true scientific investigation, and therefore, must be relegated to the realm of theology.
--Terry Donahey, MT(ASCP), MHS. Clinical Microbiologist(31 yrs, Ret.)
Scientific truth is essential to the quality of life and welfare of the earth, mankind and all the flora and creatures who life within it. Science must be free and unhindered to discover, develop and make known everything which will help us preserve this earth and save mankind.
--Georgia Bates Creel, Attorney, Treatment on Demand Planning Council, University of California Berkeley
It is almost an embarrassment to have to defend the scientific enterprise; but defend it we must against encroachments by those who would dismantle the impetus, the methods, the thinking,and achievements of generations. I speak here as a humanist, not a professional scientist though a father of an astrophysicist.
--Stuart Markoff, retired teacher, Baltimore, MD
Science is not just some esoteric pursuit. Without an understanding of science, rational policy decisions are simply not possible.
--Bill Potts, Author, Bushopedia, and President, Humanist Association of the Greater Sacramento Area
This statement is of great importance, given what polls show about the scientific ignorance of the average American.
--Edd Doerr, Author, former science teacher, President Americans for Religious Liberty
We want our grandchildren to learn true science, - not fairy tale ideas, with no evidence to back them up.
--James and Nancy Felknor, Thoughtful Grandparents, Minnesota
Bush administration science policy has been a disaster, in my opinion. I applaud this effort.
--Ray Bellamy, Physician--MD, Florida State University College of Medicine
Shortsightedness in science and science education will pay no dividends in the future, when they will be needed more than at any time in this nation's history.
--S. J. Burns, Minnesota
Very few things are as important as teaching our children science. It is disheartening that it has become necessary for scientists to defend themselves against those who would replace that which we can test and KNOW to be true with theories that are nothing more then thinly disguised religious agendas. It is science that has saved my life and that of my children. It is science that can show us the true beauty, wonder and richness of all that exists. It is science that provides the hope for our future.
--Kathleen Nelson, Mother of 3
We are doing children a grave disservice by questioning the basic tenets of science that have stood the test of time.
--Nancy Ruhland, Pharmacist/Walgreens, Minnesota
I applaud the group of individuals who took the initiative to get this done. The Bush Administration's anti-science policies have been extraordinarily damaging!
--Cole Hannon, Sr. Clinical Research Manager, Minnesota
The Inquisition is over! Science must reign - fact over fiction. Intelligent debate based on study is imperative to support an evolving revolution toward truth.
--Katie Greene, Owner, Key North Inc.
I believe that the primary guiding force in the world has to be science. Other courses have been shown to lead us down dangerous paths and to rely on dangerously inaccurate information. To see the truth in this, we need only to look at how inaccurate, unscientific information has worsened the effects of diseases, most recently AIDS. Further, our misplaced priorities (e.g., lotteries) show the general ignorance of the fundamental concepts of probablity and risk analysis.
--Fred Green, Software Engineer, Minnesota
You are on a good track. Please stay on it. Science means something, superstitions do not.
--Robert Johnson, Business professional, Financial services, Minnesota
I am very concerned about the efforts of government officials to deny scientific inquiry into any matter. This will, if not stopped, affect our democratic freedoms and the future of our children and grandchildren...and beyond.
--C. Robert Jones, very concerned citizen, Minnesota
In light of the assault on science by fundamentalist Christians it is imperative that the rational of the scientific process be preserved.
--Marc Kallsen, UW-Stout, Department of Art & Design
The lot of humanity has been improved only to the extent that we have managed to study and understand the nature of reality. Supernaturalism denies reality and therefore can offer no useful knowledge. Throughout history, the resulting ignorance has mired humanity in misery, pain and deprivation while encouraging severe abuses, too numerous to list, of our fellow human beings - all in deference to that imagined supernatural world.
--Marie Castle,U.S. Communications Director, Atheists For Human Rights, Minneapolis MN
My utmost admiration for Prof. Carl Sagan's Publications, especially his 1996 publication The Demon-haunted World; Science as a candle in the Dark.
--Robert Pionke, Professor Emeritus-Univ.of WI, River Falls, Sociology, Seeker of truth via the scientific method
I am not a scientist, but I strongly believe in the value of the scientific method and deplore the attempts by our current government to subvert the proofs of science to an imagined view of reality.
--Margaret Meyer, Ramsey County Public Library
Misguided efforts to establish a "Christian nation" must be countered with an educational outreach program by the scientific community that is able to communicate with ordinary citizens. Scientists must learn how to talk to people.
--David Klett, concerned citizen, Minnesota
All scientists, at all levels, must take a proactive stance to defend reason and science against the anti-intellectual irrational attacks of the religious right. The growth, development and survival of Western Civilization depend on this initiative.
--Rodney Sheffer, Retired High School Biology Teacher, Bloomington Minnesota Public High Schools
Defending scientific truth about the nature of life against forces of ignorance, willing or otherwise is paramount.
--Eugene Sorensen, Prof. Philosophy, Literature, Adv. Comp: Rochester (MN) CC & U. Of St. Francis, Joiliet, IL
Ignorance and hubris is weakening our country.
--Margaret Michaelson, Retired from Univ. of Minnesota
It's a good thing you're doing, but then you know that already. Science is not a thing that should even require defense, it requires only pursuit. Therein lies its wonder.
--Gregory J. Maeder, veterinary technician, Minnesota
America is being attacked by fundamentalist believers who've found a friend in george w. Together they are going after stem cell research environmental degradation - too numerous to list.
--John Bottoms, retired teacher, Minnesota
I read about your site in an editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I strongly support your efforts to retake the high ground in defending the need for an apolitical country which supports the advancement of science.
--Gregg McPherson, 3M Corporate Scientist (Retired)
I look askance on leaders who declaim that they do what they feel is right. We should subject that which we FEEL to the full light of scientific inquiry. Anything less is arrogance.
--Richard Tice, Mdiv, Ret, The United Methodist Church
We cannot afford in this fast-paced world to accept fiction for fact based on ill-informed (biased) individuals/ organizations.
--Marcia Sundquist, MS. Agrl. Economics, Michigan State University, Retired teacher, researcher
It is vital that all educators who support curricula based on reason and sound pedagogical principles support this initiative. Creationism functions as an anti-intellectual disease that leads our students to become simplistic and lazy in their thinking. Resisting creationism and the ironically named "intelligent design" is important for all teachers - not only for scientists and teachers of science.
--Patrick O'Shea, Associate Professor of Music, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
I've been angry at the Bush Administration and Christian Right lying about their religions ever since Bush took office. Bush lives in an alternative world, and the Christian Right are Nazis in the making. (German Christians in the late 1890s are credited with starting the Nazi party, one reason being they could not accept Jesus being a semitic with dark colored skin.)
--Kathleen Wagar, private citizen, retired, Minnesota
Those who worship God are fascinated at science's continuously unfolding understanding of the universe without feeling the need to force others to share their beliefs. Those who believe faith opposes science (on both sides) make an idol out of their own ideas and/or their own "holy" books and thereby impoverish humanity by damaging both religion and open scientific inquiry. Religion needs solid science in order not to become merely irrelevant superstition.
--Rev. Gregory Kapphahn, Pastor of Glenwood United Parish (UCC/UMC), Minnesota
Discussions of "Intelligent Design" (ID) belong in the Liberal Arts, not the hard sciences. Even as an English major, I understand enough science to know that a scientific theory is developed from empirical evidence, and therefore ID, by definition, cannot be considered a scientific theory. While ID may be discussed in a social science classroom, and certainly in a religion classroom, it is imperative to the intellectual development of all Americans that it be kept out of the science (biology, natural history, etc.) classroom!
--Alison Johnson, graduate student and future professor, Winona State University, English Department
In the past, the U.S. thrived because of its emphasis on science. From better stains of wheat and rice to the finest health institutions in the world, we trained, attracted and funded the best scientists. These religion-based attacks on science have resulted in our devaluing and defunding scientific research and education. We will all suffer because of it.
--Paul Nelson, retired trucking business owner
I object strongly to injecting religion into science and our government. Separation of church and state, an active scientific community, and a shared language are largely what have produced our quality of life and kept us a single nation. The religious right would undo that for their own purposes. One of the basic premises of this country is freedom of religion and that includes freedom from religion. It is critical to progress in many fields, including medicine, history, biology, genetics, anthropology, archeology, geology (to name a few) that scientists be allowed to work freely and that funding not be controlled by partisanship and a religious agenda.
--Larry Christensen, CHMM, Senior Environmental Consultant, LC Consulting, Ltd.
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