40 Years After the Moon Landing: America's Science Deficit

By Chris Mooney | July 20, 2009 11:50 am

I just did a Huffington Post piece keyed straight to the news of the day–the Apollo 11 anniversary. It’s entitled “The American Science Deficit–And What to Do About It.” Here’s an excerpt:

Today, on the 40 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we will hear a great deal about NASA’s woes, the nation’s declining interest in space exploration, and much else. It is crucial, though, to set such observations in the context of a far broader disengagement with science that has occurred in this country since the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Launched by President Kennedy, the Apollo program was just the most prominent example of America’s dramatic investment of science in the wake of the 1957 Soviet launch of Sputnik. The first Earth-orbiting satellite, beeping at us from above, inspired stark competitiveness fears in the nation: Were we falling behind in technology? Would the Soviets fire on us from the skies, and if they tried, could we stop them?

In response, the U.S. Congress jacked up the budget of the recently formed National Science Foundation to $ 134 million, an increase of nearly $ 100 million in just one year. And that was just the beginning–NSF’s budget continued to explode in subsequent years, so that by 1962-1963 it had reached $ 12.2 billion. [This statement is mistaken: the 1962-1963 figure represents the total federal government R&D expenditure.]  Meanwhile, Congress created NASA and passed the National Defense Education Act, providing generous funding to encourage American students to pursue careers in science and engineering.

And still, that’s just the beginning of the response to Sputnik. At the same time, President Eisenhower pulled science into the White House by creating the office of the president’s science adviser and the President’s Science Advisory Committee; even as the National Science Foundation drew upon the nation’s elite researchers in an attempt to remake the high school science education curriculum. Science journalism also boomed, as a generation of enthusiasts wrote about each daily step of the thrilling space race.

In sum, the policies and cultural changes unleashed in the wake of Sputnik shaped the course of American science for decades–and made us world leaders. But then, something went very wrong. Science budgets stopped rising and began to fall. Educational investment also declined. Science became ensnared with politics, first the foe of the religious right, and then something to be spiked at will by the Bush administration.

You can read the full piece here….

Comments (48)

  1. ShowsOn

    If some people believe that the moon landings were faked, and that the moon is home to aliens that control people on earth, should scientists be allowed to argue that these people are wrong? Or should scientists respect the compatibility of science and moon landing hoax conspiracy theories?

  2. Roadtripper

    Put another way, did Buzz Aldrin make ‘science’ look bad when he punched Bart Sibrel? Are the Apollo fans who applauded his actions hurting the scientific community’s cause?

    Rt

  3. Paul

    Was I the only one who thought of Canadian Bacon while reading the article? I mean, there were some very obvious reasons in the 60s why science awareness and funding were much higher on average. I can only assume the author is not ignorant of this, so what is our solution to repeat the atmosphere? Declare war with Canada, and hype how we need to develop X doomsday device before they do?

  4. Jon

    I think Buzz Adrin and Carl Sagan should have punched anyone he thought might be part of “THE RELIGIOUS”. The ensuing controversy would have attracted the attention of the public and helped science.

  5. Jim Ramsey

    I always thought the slide began with (Saint) Ronald Reagan.

    He started a policy of making scientific research more directed. In particular, he wanted it directed at winning the cold war. He also brought a more business like, i.e. profit center, orientation to scientific research.

  6. One in four people in the UK think the moon landings were faked. This is the fault of Richard Dawkins.

  7. Paul

    One in four people in the UK think the moon landings were faked. This is the fault of Richard Dawkins.

    If only we could convince them that Astronomy and Rocket Science are compatible with the Bible, they would give up their irrational arguments.

  8. Jon

    One in four people in the UK think the moon landings were faked

    No, it’s completely the fault of “THE RELIGIOUS”! Unless religion is irradicated, there is no hope for rational thought, like that exhibited by the Brights.

  9. Last night on C-Span I was watching a book reading of Rocket Men by Craig Nelson. Towards the end of the Q&A he quoted a story told to him. Supposedly (and I’m relying on my memory which was a bit frazzled after being up for 20 some odd hours when I watched this) Neil Armstrong was asked about whether or not the US reached the pinnacle of science with the Apollo project. Supposedly he drew several bell-shaped curves and labeled each with various headings (politics, financial stability, scientific prowess, amongst others) and said that such endeavors are only truly possible when all these peaks align.

    I do not believe that we are scientifically deficient in this day and age. What we are lacking is a coordinated project which captures the entire American imagination. We are also lacking the proper conditions (especially budgetary) in which to fund such a project. We are still making tremendous leaps in our understanding of diseases, our environment … our universe, and admittedly the public isn’t well versed in these endeavors, but I still think we have a lot to be proud of and encouraged about.

    As for Obama and his administration being able to turn this around on their own … you seem to think that is impossible. I think that the space race proved just the opposite.

  10. Paul

    No, it’s completely the fault of “THE RELIGIOUS”! Unless religion is irradicated, there is no hope for rational thought, like that exhibited by the Brights.

    Straw isn’t as fun as the real thing. Perhaps you should try honestly engaging in debate some time, it can be interesting.

    The connection between moon landing hoaxers and religion would be that both are irrational beliefs. So it’s not wholly inaccurate to say that there is no hope for rational thought while particular irrational beliefs are seen as a virtue to hold. But nobody has claimed that religion is the major motivating factor in moon landing denialism, which is in stark contrast to most other subjects discussed on this blog lately (e.g. science literacy, AGW, etc).

  11. Jon

    Straw isn’t as fun as the real thing.

    I’ve debated people who believe something close to that in the comments of this blog.

    And there is no problem with straw men from your side, right? E.g., insisting that everything believed by THE RELIGIOUS is believed in the exact same way by all RELIGIOUS!!1! I know, not quite a straw man, there are people in Kansas who believe in just that literal way, but exaggerations seem to abound in this debate. And as long as THE RELIGIOUS!!1!1! are at the butt end of those exaggerations and inflammatory rhetoric, who the hell cares, right?

  12. Paul

    Since #3 is still in filter, trying to repost while changing a word or two..

    Was I the only one who thought of Canadian Bacon while reading the article? I mean, there were some very obvious reasons in the 60s why science awareness and funding were much higher on average. I can only assume the author is not unaware of this, so what is our solution to repeat the atmosphere? Declare war with Canada, and hype how we need to develop X doomsday device before they do?

  13. JoeT

    “The connection between moon landing hoaxers and religion would be that both are irrational beliefs.”

    In fact, if you watch the video of Bart Sibrel confronting Buzz Aldrin, Bart tells Buzz that he can’t get to heaven without repenting and then asks Buzz to swear on a Bible that he walked on the moon. Bible = truth, Moon Landing = fraud, apparently. There’s irony in there somewhere.

    But to get back to the Huffington Post piece, in an article which purports to tell us what to do about America’s science deficit, the one solution mentioned is, “Scientists today regularly lament the gap between science and the public, but the real issue is to stop being part of it”

    Just stop it. Great solution.

  14. Paul

    Jon,

    If you want to argue with someone, it’s really silly to bring in someone completely different who says something else and then argue against where you think they were wrong. Whether or not Dawkins constructed a strawman (I don’t care enough to try and contextualize that blog post) in no way means you weren’t just beating on one, and it’s dishonest and lazy to try and frame an argument in that manner.

    @JoeT

    In fact, if you watch the video of Bart Sibrel confronting Buzz Aldrin, Bart tells Buzz that he can’t get to heaven without repenting and then asks Buzz to swear on a Bible that he walked on the moon. Bible = truth, Moon Landing = fraud, apparently. There’s irony in there somewhere.

    There is definitely a correlation there, but in general the correlation between religion and moon landing hoaxers is more tenuous than the examples that really matter (as I mentioned in that post), and I figure it counterproductive to use moon landing hoaxers as an example of how religion negatively affects science because it’s so utterly trivial an issue (kind of like Pluto being kicked out of the planet club being used to show how scientists are out of touch, heh).

    As to your “back on topic” part, it’s HuffPo so the implicit solution is “buy our book”.

  15. Jon

    But, Paul, it started as a figure of speech. Hyperbole, to be precise. The commenter before me said:

    One in four people in the UK think the moon landings were faked. This is the fault of Richard Dawkins.

    Obviously, this is not a “straw man,” but a figure of speech. I answered with similar hyperbole.

    But, the point I made after that, was that it’s not even very strong hyperbole. Some of the commenters have actually argued that without getting at the root cause of our problem, religion, problems like climate change can’t be solved. This kind of argument coming from commenters is not surprising considering the level of rhetoric that you see over at blogs like PZ Myers’. Myers may not believe him, but the kids who read him obviously have no problems drawing that kind of conclusion.

  16. Jon

    Sorry, should be “Myers may not believe that…”

  17. Speaking of Sputnik, here is a similar story of equal kind and magnitude. It just goes to show that America’s priorities in the 21st century are not as intrinsically interested in science as they were in the 50s.

  18. JoeT

    I was thinking of how the Huffington Post piece could have been so much better than to advocate, trivially, that the gap between ‘experts’ and everyone else should be closed. I few years ago I heard a talk by Harrison Schmitt — the only scientist to walk on the moon — that the US had wasted a unique opportunity after 9/11 to ramp up an energy program in the US. He compared this missed opportunity to — of course — the Apollo program as a response to Soviet achievements in space. Schmitt has gone on to advocate mining Helium-3 on the moon as a source of fuel for fusion reactors on earth. The twist in this story is that Schmitt has also become something of a climate skeptic — claiming that current climate change is not due to anthropogenic causes. Perhaps if Mooney had done an interview with Schmitt it might have been vastly more interesting than the puff piece that appears in HuffPo. How is it that an apparently well-informed astronaut/scientist can join the ranks of the climate change deniers? Certainly it’s not due to any alleged gap between experts and everyone else.

  19. smp

    http://www.flypmedia.com/issues/33/#1/1

    –interesting interactive story on space exploration
    check it out.

  20. Palo

    Chris, what you write here is the answer to your new book. The problem with public acceptance of Science is not that Sagan was nicer to religion than Dawkins is. The country Sagan was speaking to is the country that embraced science after WWII, the country that saw in science the future in the form of space exploration, the country that “jacked up the budget of the recently formed National Science Foundation to $ 134 million”, created and heavily funded the NIH. It was not Sagan who created that America, it was that America the one that created Sagan. What changed since? Is it the atheists that destroyed scientific interest? Or is it the advance, since the Reagan years, of the religious and conservative politicians?

  21. Eric the Leaf

    At least one remarkable NSF-funded educational effort pre-dated Sputnik, though it gained momentum as a result. The demise of the great secondary science programs developed during that era probably had little to do with religious temperament or political ideology. Modern NSF-funded educational initiatives exist even in the present, but are vastly inferior to the products of the 1950s and 1960s.

  22. Marion Delgado

    The only way the paradigm Chris is pushing can win out is by succeeding. I.e., conversion won’t happen first. Just keep succeeding.

  23. J. L. Messer

    Recent science illiteracy in the US can be traced, first, to a mid-1970’s violent parental rebellion in West Virgina when schoolbooks were introduced in the local High Schools which introduced modern science concepts such as evolution and sex education; and secondly, as an outgrowth of this local backwoods religious rebellion which sparked the ascendancy of a vehement religious based group in Texas that has essentially hijacked nationwide approval of K – 12 school textbooks.

    While it would be wonderful if everyone were as rational as you & I, this probably will never be the case. I have talked to many people in higher education, and asked them, “What percentage of the general population do you believe truly capable of ‘higher order thinking skills’. I.e., critical analysis, deductive & inductive thinking, etc. And not just on a theoretical level, but in actual practice.” Of course this was a ‘non-scientific’ survey, but most educators I talked to said only a very small proportion of people. The highest estimate I got was 10%, the lowest, 0.1%

    Hoping to eradicate religion is futile. Religion is the fall-back position of people who either choose not to think for themselves, or are just incapable of doing so, either because of lack of training, opportunity, or natural ability. Shall we eradicate those people? I think not.

    I am a retired science teacher/librarian. I volunteer at my local library, reading to children. Whenever possible, I choose a science based book to read. And I try to convey the concept that science is not just a subject in school, it is a style of thinking, a five senses based approach to reality. (That’s as far as I go with students.)

    But as such, a scientific mindset emphasizes that which we know, which elicits a sense of security. Whereas religious thinking, based as it is on ‘faith’, emphasizes that which we don’t know, eliciting fear, and then fantasizes its own comforting solution – i.e., an omniscient, unconditionally loving, all forgiving supreme being who bestows an eternal reward, etc. etc. … you all know the story.

    It maybe hard to admit, but not all thinking is created equal. And not all mental processes deserve to be called ‘thinking’.

  24. I think the major part of this thread discussion illustrates what the problem really is and it’s not just a problem for science but for every serious discussion about reality. The problem is that we’ve been trained by the easy and cheap availability of psychologically seductive entertainment away from reality. The phony War Between The Magisteria is so much more entertaining than the frequently boring and difficult, and hard to understand problem of how to promote and harness exacting knowledge to give us a better chance at survival and to produce a tolerable life.

    The introduction of the religion war into this has been largely on behalf of evolutionary science and has gone on to attract the interest of some, forgive me, very politically naive scientists from other subjects. I look at them and wonder if they’ve spent so much time on their work that they don’t understand the society as it presently is, is what we have to work with. I was almost going to say what “they”, that is the scientists have to work with, but that is a false view of it which is too prevalent. The scientist’s aren’t in a position of enhanced power, as the piece and a myriad of others like it show, science isn’t divorced from society. Modern science, in its complexity and difficulty, is almost totally dependent on its existence from the financial support of society.

    I don’t remember which commentator on this blog mentioned the rise of computer science in the 80s and beyond as an important factor in sucking the oxygen from other parts of science but I think that was an important insight. There aren’t unlimited resources in society to go around, resources are allocated. One of the most finite of resources is time. Time in individual lives, time in the collective life of society and also, between those scales, time within separate groups that coalesce around individual academic topics. The rise of commercial entertainment of celebrity worship, of trivial fiction, has debauched our society. It was planned to do that, psychologists and others were hired by the entertainment industry to seduce us into spending our TIME watching and listening so the corporations could get a better price for their commercial TIME based on how much of our time was spent on that instead of real science, history, religion, politics, etc. The phony imitations of science, history, religion, politics, etc, that the media provide us aren’t any more real or beneficial than the junk food and junk sex that their sponsors want to sell us on.

    The phony war on religion is an entertainment spawned by a relatively unimportant struggle between evolutionary science and fundamentalist religion. I think the obvious political failure of evolutionary science as opposed to biblical fundamentalism has led to a completely superficial response on the science side which refuses to understand the making the promotion of evolution a war on religious faith will fail politically. I think it is a proven failure. But, as the continued desire of the “science” puritans on this and other blogs show, the seduction of that entertainment swamps serious consideration of the topic of this article. The entertainment is fueled by ignorance on both sides, fundamentalist religion and fundamentalists anti-religion. Both sides have their peculiar stupidities as well, on the “science” side that has to do with a failure to see that their quest has failed politically. That political failure is analogous to the political failure of the left (due to a similar refusal to face reality on behalf of similarly rigid and unrealistic ideals) is fatal to our survival.

    We don’t have time to waste on dysfunctional ideals that constitute the absurd, myth driven scientism of the new atheists. We don’t have time to waste on the various pipe dreams about the corporate media serving democracy which are an even more absurd fantasy of the political left. Both of them have decades long histories that prove they are a failure and don’t represent reality.

    If it’s of any interest the exact, same intellectual debauchery is manifested in religion. Triviality is as much a spiritual disease as it is an intellectual one. In terms of religious values, it is most manifest in self-worship, self-absorption. That’s the reason that the show biz, megachurches with their gospel of prosperity (the antithesis of the teachings of Jesus and just about every other major religious prophet) are growing as the institutions that try to draw us out of our narrow interests and require justice are withering. I don’t think that there has ever been a more profoundly valuable period in theological writing than the past two centuries, ironically just the same period as that which has seen the rise of modern science. The parts of theology that fight against self-absorption and triviality are just as much at a disadvantage as rigorous science in fighting against commercial culture. That frivolous, seductive and financially powerful force is the real reason for the decline of both. And just watch the reaction to this idea in the blogs if you want confirmation of just how unwelcome it is. It’s haaaaard!

  25. Um, about Buzz Aldrin. I just looked it up, and, just as I recalled reading somewhere, he’s a Prebyterian and, well….

    “In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.’ I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O’Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly. …I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

    http://www.clusterflock.org/2009/07/buzz-aldren-was-a-presbyterian.html

  26. Chris Mooney

    Yes, I made an error in Huffington Post, due to writing too fast. The error is not in the book, which characterizes the figures correctly.

  27. sinz54

    Palo sez: ‘The country Sagan was speaking to is the country that embraced science after WWII”

    No. In Sagan’s final book, “The Demon-Haunted World,” published in 1996, the anti-science trends were already apparent–and he lamented them. But even in this, his last book, Sagan remained respectful of religion. He recognized religion’s role in the family, in ethics, in respecting traditions, and in fighting for social and economic justice.

    The difference between Sagan and the “New Atheists” like Myers and Dawkins, is that Sagan was respectful of religion and didn’t believe religion had to be swept away–even though he personally didn’t believe in it. Sagan’s view was closer to Gould’s than to Myers or Dawkins.

    Sagan NEVER, never said religion had to go.

  28. sinz54

    Anthony McCarthy claims: “The phony war on religion is an entertainment spawned by a relatively unimportant struggle between evolutionary science and fundamentalist religion.”

    That’s simply false.

    The war between religion and secularism started with the abortion issue. The Supreme Court’s ruling, Roe v. Wade, that legalized abortion across the nation, even in communities that didn’t want to have it, outraged traditionalists. And it led to a huge rise in Christian activism.

    And there’s nothing “phony” about that issue. It’s a passionate issue, and both sides believe so strongly in the perfect rightness of their positions that compromise has been virtually impossible.

  29. Why is the 12.2 billion figure still wrong in this post and over at the Huffington Post?

    I mean, that’s a huge point of your argument’s force – 134 million to 12.2 billion would indeed be a really compelling example, except it’s not true. Take that figure out of the equation and it seems part of your argument starts to seem a lot less compelling.

  30. gillt

    Leaving the multiple order of magnitude error aside, a simple glance at the NSF budget charts, both in current and 2003 dollar amounts, shows a very apparent steady increase in spending since 1958. The existence of this fact runs contra to the echo-chamber of unsubstantiated opinions that scientists should fear losing public funding if some segments of the population aren’t routinely glad-handed by nerds in labcoats.

    @#28 For all those thwacking at the branches of religious belief, Demon-Haunted World, a book about skepticism, attacked the roots.

  31. Sorbet

    On a Charlie Rose interview Sagan said “I don’t purport to tell people what to believe in, but believing something without any evidence is incorrect”

  32. Carl Sagan wasn’t above believing in stuff without evidence. While I liked him, he was pretty credulous about the assertions of psychology at times. His possible explanation of alleged “near death experiences” as latent memories of the birth experience in one of his books made my mouth drop open. As shown on a link to the Guardian here about a month back I seem to recall some historical bloopers mentioned.

    Everyone believes things without evidence, it’s part of the human condition. I believe that it’s universal without having any evidence that it is.

  33. Will

    @27 Chris Mooney

    Why is your admitted error still in the article? I mean if the ‘Why evolution is true’ article is correct then we are talking about an error of many orders of magnitude at the heart of your argument. If I had made a fact error of anything like the size of this then I would be incredibly embarrased and be burning up the phone lines to get it corrected or pulled.

    Could you let us know?
    What are the correct numbers?

    Are you working with ‘Huffington Post’ to correct the error?

  34. Jon

    “I don’t purport to tell people what to believe in, but believing something without any evidence is incorrect”

    Yes, and he also said some complimentary things about religion as well.

    Not something I expect will be discussed much in certain online echo chambers.

  35. Sorbet

    Ah, true, but also notice what he says next: “Where religion gets into trouble is where it tries to say something about science”. Case in point; creation, virgin birth, resurrection etc. Sagan was undoubtedly tame about the value of religion and I respect him for that, but he was also clear about religion making a mistake in saying something about physical and testable events.

  36. TB

    @ 30 gillt

    “…a simple glance at the NSF budget charts, both in current and 2003 dollar amounts, shows a very apparent steady increase in spending since 1958. The existence of this fact runs contra to the echo-chamber of unsubstantiated opinions that scientists should fear losing public funding if some segments of the population aren’t routinely glad-handed by nerds in labcoats.”

    First, it is correct in the book – I just checked.

    Second, the last administration’s ban on stem-cell research for all but a few existing lines is but one example of how public funding for science was limited by politics.

  37. Yes, but a limitation on stem-cell research has nothing to do with the public being “unscientific” per se: it’s a reflection on the ability of religious people to restrict research in the name of their faith. It certainly doesn’t reflect the actions of atheists, as M&K posit in their book.

  38. Jon

    religion making a mistake in saying something about physical and testable events.

    For the New Atheists, though, there are *only* “physical and testable events”, and anything else is “pure twaddle”, insufficient loyalty to progress via the scientific method, etc., etc. I found an interesting comment the other day by someone who ventured into the Scienceblogs echo chamber summed it up:

    The fact remains that anybody with a reasonable knowledge of intellectual and social history is bound to find the polemics of the new atheists rather naive. For most of the last couple of thousand years, for example, it really was the case that the central meaning of faith in Christianity was faithfulness or trust rather than belief in the truthfulness of propositions…. They are like the characters Abbot’s flatland who simply do not recognize that human experience has other dimensions than scientific knowledge and that acknowledging those dimensions doesn’t amount to embracing some sort of conventional spiritualism or obscurantism. Mysticism is not required to develop a little depth of field in one’s vision.

  39. gillt

    McCarthy: “Carl Sagan wasn’t above believing in stuff without evidence.”

    Which is why it’s more purposeful to discuss ideas not people with their multitudes. Why not save the unsubstantiated rumors for the gossip column.

  40. gillt

    TB: “Second, the last administration’s ban on stem-cell research for all but a few existing lines is but one example of how public funding for science was limited by politics.”

    And yet didn’t opinion polls reflect a majority national public acceptable for stem cell research? This brings up a good point though; strong leadership, in my opinion, drives science policy more effectively than public perception. With a majority of Republicans in the legislature and a powerful Bush White House the leadership to drive policy was certainly there.

  41. Mike D

    It’s fitting that as scientists are using the anniversary of the moon landing to complain about scientific illiteracy in mainstream culture, internet representatives of mainstream culture are busily complaining that NASA lied and the moon landings were a hoax :)

    Some people go to astounding lengths to misunderstand and disbelieve things…. turning “question everything you read in the media and don’t trust your government” into “everything anyone in a position of power or authority tells you is a lie and a part of the government conspiracy to control your life”

  42. Sorbet

    For the New Atheists, though, there are *only* “physical and testable events”, and anything else is “pure twaddle”

    Why do you think these won’t be testable and unphysical in the future? Isn’t it almost as much hubris to assume that something will always be beyond testing and physical existence, especially considering the fact that things that were previously thought to be untestable and unphysical (jealousy, love and altruism for instance) are now thought to be based in the physical universe.

    But now let me ask the most important question; why is something less valuable or noble just because it has a physical and testable basis? I get the feeling that those people who hold non-scientific things high up believe that finding out scientific explanations for them somehow diminishes their value. Would I be disappointed and hurt if science discover a basis for love? No! In fact the value of love would be enhanced even more for me, knowing that it has so many different dimensions to it.

  43. — Why not save the unsubstantiated rumors for the gossip column. gillt

    I was thinking more in terms such as the long arm of history bends towards justice.

  44. TB

    @40 gillt
    “And yet didn’t opinion polls reflect a majority national public acceptable for stem cell research? This brings up a good point though; strong leadership, in my opinion, drives science policy more effectively than public perception. ”

    There was quite a bit of work going on to inform the public about the issue, and it was arguably bi-partisan. John McCain even credits Nancy Reagan for changing his mind on the subject during the presidential campaign, thus ensuring that no matter which strong leader got elected, the ban would likely be overturned.

  45. gillt

    Yes, but who initiated the ban in the first place? There wasn’t an initial public outcry for banning stem cell research is my point.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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