People do not seem to be taking Ben Stein’s movie, Expelled, very seriously – the Chicago Tribune gives it a one-star “poor” rating, which is a sign of intelligent life on the planet. Then again, when you read comments (over 1,000 as I write) that include things like “Just what I expected from the liberal left media,” or “this is poor journalism” (actually, it’s not journalism, it’s a movie review, you moron!) you wonder why the idea we’re descended from apes is so upsetting to such a large percentage of . . . er, descendants. We’re neck and neck with Turkey on our skepticism about evolution, as a study in Science demonstrated. Though it’s unfortunately not available in free full text (shame on you, AAAS!) here’s how the article concludes:
The politicization of science in the name of religion and political partisanship is not new to the United States, but transformation of traditional geographically and economically based political parties into religiously oriented ideological coalitions marks the beginning of a new era for science policy. The broad public acceptance of the benefits of science and technology in the second half of the 20th century allowed science to develop a nonpartisan identification that largely protected it from overt partisanship. That era appears to have closed.
Perhaps one reason we’re so skeptical of and/or ignorant of the scientific method is that we’re so often exposed to science with a spin – as if it really is a matter of belief, not evidence. And here’s an example: the Union of Concerned Scientists conducted a study of the Environmental Protection Agency (famous for closing its libraries because they have, you know, information in them) and found that scientists have been muzzled, had their results questioned, and have had findings suppressed or distorted when they don’t fit administration goals. This isn’t the only federal agency that has been leaned on to make the evidence fit the agenda.
For more commentary on this film, visit Expelled Exposed. For a thorough rundown of what’s going on with science during this administration from a Democratic party perspective, visit Politics & Science. And to cheer you up afterward, here’s a nicely silly parody of the controversy.