This week, President Bush spoke at a magnet middle school in Maryland to talk up his "American Competitiveness Initiative," emphasizing how important it is for students to think of science as being "cool." If only he had the credibility to argue the point.
"You know, sometimes -- you might remember those days, when you were in middle school, people say, you know, science isn't cool," Bush said. "Science is not only cool, it's really important for the future of this country, and it's great to have people we call adjunct professors here, to help lend their real-life experiences to stimulate junior high students to the wonders of science."
It's easy to agree with this message. I just wish the messenger knew what he was talking about.
If the president were serious about showing young people how great science is, how about leading by example? Bush could, for example, stop his administration from muzzling scientists at NASA, censoring scientists at the EPA, and punishing scientists who stray from the party line at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Geological Survey.
For that matter, if Bush really wanted to show kids how great science is, he could reverse course on teaching intelligent-design creationism in public school science classes, he could stop rejecting all scientific evidence as it relates to global warming, he could finally give up on restricting the scientific breakthroughs promised by stem-cell research, he could stop taking scientific advice from a guy who writes fiction, and he could generally give up on using bogus science to justify his political agenda.
That would be cool.