Forever known as the administration that hated science

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2006

When I was a young man, the drive-in was the place to go on the weekend. And the most popular movies at the drive-in were often about Frankenstein.

Boris Karloff seemed to star in all of them. Underlying the scary monster Frankenstein was the mad scientist who created him. The theme, taking science and turning it on its head into evil, was the compelling prop to the play.

It was, after all, the beginning of the age of NASA, the golden age of science, so this theme juxtaposed the power of science.

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The Bush administration has spent the last six years apparently planning a series of re-makes of the mad scientist horror movies, casting virtually every scientific endeavor as bad knowledge. Never has America seen such a determined anti-science agenda.

Take for example the FDA, once a trusted federal agency in the business of securing that America’s drug industry provided safe and trusted remedies for consumers. In recent years the FDA has lost that luster, under-testing drugs like Vioxx and now burying the release of Plan B, a contraceptive morning-after pill proven safe and effective.

Plan B, a high powered contraceptive, not an abortion pill, is currently sold over-the-counter in 45 countries and 9 states.

But, notwithstanding the success of Plan B, the FDA has refused to release it for consumer use.

In an amazing political turn of events, the FDA has ignored the recommendations of its own scientific advisory panel to permit the drug to be used and has held it under political review since December 2003.

The political review seems to be White House directed, following the concerns of conservative religious groups who have opposed Plan B either because it encourages pregnancies or because it is perceived as an abortion pill.

Extensive studies have been completed that indicate that Plan B does not increase pregnancies. The scientific community has validated that Plan B is a contraceptive and not an abortion pill.

The Bush administration is not convinced because this administration does not find science at all convincing.

Consider the example of James E. Hansen, senior NASA climate scientist who says his views on the climate were muzzled by a 23-year-old Bush political appointee to NASA.

Hansen is convinced that the U.S. needs to sharply reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, but what does a scientist know when compared to an inexperienced 23-year-old political appointee?

Or, consider intelligent design — the religious conservatives’ alternative to the science of evolution theory.

When asked about this topic, Bush stated that both intelligent design and evolution theory should be taught in our schools.

Evolution is a scientific theory with a significant amount of evidence. Intelligent design is a religious idea lacking any evidence beyond personal faith. But if you are not convinced of science, then you may find these two equal in some way.

Still not sure this administration hates science?

Consider the position of the administration on global warming. While every day this summer seems hotter than ever before, while our winters seem completely out of cycle, while our polar ice caps melt at rates unheard of, this administration has said for six years that it is “studying the problem.”

Apparently they intend to continue “studying the problem” until the East Coast is in Ohio.

Need a final reminder of the administration that hates science?

Try stem cell research. Without foundation, this administration has determined that the federal government will not participate in this crucial research with incredible possibilities.

The good news is, if you are planning on watching “The Bride of Frankenstein” this weekend, know that the White House is watching too, and planning a re-make.

Jim Crawford is a local political enthusiast. He can be reached at