It’s an election year, and plenty of things seem to matter to voters, including health care, the budget, unemployment, and women’s rights. But this year, as always, one of the things that doesn’t seem to matter is science. That’s particularly troubling because just about every challenge that America faces today has a scientific component, from revitalizing the economy to dealing with climate change to managing health care.
Science took a beating in the primary season this year. Leading candidates made it clear that they rejected climate science (Herman Cain and Rick Perry), thought that vaccines caused mental retardation (Michele Bachmann), and didn’t “believe” in evolution (a bunch of them, most prominently Rick Santorum). One candidate, John Huntsman, bravely tweeted, “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” To scientists, Huntsman’s candor was “right on!” To Republican primary voters, apparently he was crazy.
At least, for the second presidential election in a row, both major party candidates are on record as accepting the science of evolution, the cornerstone of the biological sciences. But let’s not celebrate just yet. One of those candidates still has to make a vice presidential pick, and one of the leading contenders for that job has a public record on science that’s crystal clear—and deeply troubling. It’s Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana.
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