Saturday, July 10, 2004

Todays Times carries an article describing recent efforts by conservative activitists and Republican members of Congress to stifle scientific research they don't like:

...professionals in sex-related fields who have started speaking out against what they say is growing interference from conservatives in and out of government with their work in research, education and disease prevention.

A result, these professionals say, has been reduced financing for some programs and an overall chilling effect on the field,with college professors avoiding certain topics in their human sexuality classes...

When Representative Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, wanted to stop the National Institutes of Health from spending $1.5 million on studies he said were wasteful and unnecessary, he pointed to what he described as research on the sexual habits of transgender American Indians and "people's reaction to being aroused when they're in different moods."

The spending had been vigorously opposed by the Traditional Values Coalition, a group that represents churches primarily. Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the coalition, said her group's intention was to challenge research grants that "don't pass the straight-face test." "There's an arrogance in the scientific community that they know better than the average American," Ms. Lafferty said.

Uh, yeah, they do know better than the average American -- because they spent years conducting scholarly research.

What in the world makes congressmen think they are fundamentally qualified to decide which research is good and which is a "waste of time?"


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