In a speech full of significance, those eight words from President Obama yesterday may prove to be the most significant.
Science is the objective search for answers. It is not the pursuit of evidence to support conclusions that have already been reached.
This problem manifests itself in many ways, some more weighty than others, but the abuse or undermining of science and scientific method has to be pointed out and resisted wherever it occurs.
Like in my area of interest, alcohol policy.
Neo-Prohibitionists are very fond of citing 'research' to support their crackpot ideas about underage drinking. The Illinois General Assembly, led by my own State Senator and State Representative, has been in there pitching the crap about so-called alcopops, as I wrote about here and elsewhere.
Lew Bryson, on his blog, pointed me in the direction of this post by wine enthusiast Tom Wark, about the abuse of science and scientific method by Neo-Prohibitionists who are attempting to build a case to shut down online alcohol sales.
In case you've never received a shipment of alcohol from UPS or FedEx, the package will not be released without an adult signature so, essentially, it's the same control that occurs in a liquor store. Kids cannot obtain alcohol over the internet any more easily than they can from their neighborhood retailer. It's as simple as that.
So why is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation willing to spend $400,000 to prove something else?
I'm not saying the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a bad outfit. Quite the opposite. They do a lot of good work, but this is nonsense.