Good Letter The article reported on below comes on the heels of this article, also from the Times. It describes the loss of stature American science has suffered in recent years. Here's an excerpt:
The United States has started to lose its worldwide dominance in critical areas of science and innovation, according to federal and private experts who point to strong evidence like prizes awarded to Americans and the number of papers in major professional journals.
Foreign advances in basic science now often rival or even exceed America's, apparently with little public awareness of the trend or its implications for jobs, industry, national security or the vigor of the nation's intellectual and cultural life.
"The rest of the world is catching up," said John E. Jankowski, a senior analyst at the National Science Foundation, the federal agency that tracks science trends. "Science excellence is no longer the domain of just the U.S."
In response to this article, the following excellent letter to the editor:
One reason we are losing dominance in the sciences is the influence of creationism, which has reached into the highest offices of government. For example, the dominant force determining our policy on stem cell research is not science but a religion that holds that evolution never occurred.
Creationists have been very successful in suppressing the teaching of evolution in high schools in parts of the United States, and are now building theme parks for children based on creation "science" (Arts & Ideas, May 1).
Would you hire a geologist who believes that the Grand Canyon was caused by Noah's flood? Would you hire a bacteriologist, geneticist or oncologist who had no knowledge of the function of mutation in nature? Talk about a loss of dominance in science — how about a loss of reason?
JAMES V. BRADLEY
Libertyville, Ill., May 3, 2004
The writer is a retired high school biology teacher.