In a morning-after column on U.S. mid-term elections November 4, New York Times writer Frank Bruni expresses the fervent hope that the legislators who take power in January will begin showing due respect for science.
In recent years, Congress has had “a relationship to science that toggles between benign neglect and outright contempt,” Bruni writes. “And many Americans have a similarly curious attitude, distinguished by woefully insufficient gratitude for the ways in which science has advanced our country and elevated our lives.” Too often, “they elect mysticism over empiricism.”
During the mid-term election campaign, Republican candidates including incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) deflected questions about climate change, reminding questioners that ‘I’m not a scientist’. But “as several bloggers and journalists have noted, some Republicans say they’re not qualified to address global warming even as they opine readily and expansively on Ebola.”
If politicians in both parties “had proper regard for science,” he says, they would “fight hard against devastating cuts to federal research” and “wouldn’t irresponsibly smear all scientific inquiry by cherry-picking and theatrically denouncing the most arcane, seemingly frivolous studies the government has funded.”
More specifically, “with the right fealty to science, this next Congress would be forced to accept the overwhelming consensus on climate change and take action. It’s time to wise up and stop wasting all the knowledge we have.”