Saturday, February 28, 2009

No astronomy for average Americans!

Someone apparently showed John McCain -- and by "John McCain", I mean, "one of his aides" -- how to twitter. So we've been treated to a list of his Top 10 Porkiest Projects in the 2009 Omnibus Spending Bill. Most of them are science projects, but nothing makes me more irate than his #2 pick:
#2. $2 million “for the promotion of astronomy” in Hawaii - because nothing says new jobs for average Americans like investing in astronomy

I love the elitism here, that average Americans shouldn't bother with any interest in astronomy or any other science. For a variety of reasons, astronomy is a field that gets people excited about science. It's a great gateway to get people interested in other, related sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and biology. It's great motivation for the relevance of math classes. From here, we can get more people in STEM careers, and so on. What good comes from mocking science outreach to average Americans?

Is McCain bitter about this -- and, as we heard during the debates, the planetarium projector at Adler Planetarium [PDF] -- because it's astronomy money that's not going to Arizona? Or did he fail an astronomy class at some point in his life? Either way, I am so tired of the persistent anti-science attitude from the Republicans.

(I realize this was all over the blogs yesterday, but I have only just now calmed down enough to post without flailing about in all caps.)


Phil said...

Did you see the response to the Adler grumbling in the NY Times by Andrey Kravtsov?

It made me feel a bit better. Also, the comments on cosmic variance are good too.

Becky said...

Yes, I did! That was awesome -- go Andrey.