My latest Science Progress column sets Bobby Jindal’s latest comments mocking volcano monitoring in the context of longstanding attacks on individual scientific grants–which goes all the way back to Senator William Proxmire’s “Golden Fleece” awards, if not further. While this tradition is to some extent bipartisan, it has certainly been more honored of late by conservatives, as the examples of John McCain’s and Sarah Palin’s sneering at grizzly bear and fruit fly research during the campaign show. Or as I put it:
In each case–as with Jindal–experts patiently explained that this research serves a purpose and is eminently defensible, or even innovative. But it seems those who lampoon individual scientific research grants rarely bother to find out what they’re actually criticizing. It’s a point and blast–or point and laugh–technique that reeks of deep anti-intellectualism.
You can read the full column here.