Friday, October 17, 2008

McCain Pisses Off Scientists

John McCain seems determined to piss off scientists. First it was his frequent and flawed references to the study of grizzly bear DNA:

"I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal, but it was a waste of money," McCain railed last month during a campaign stop in Clawson, Mich. Scientists, however, are not amused: They insist that the study is not only worth every penny but that the $3-million price tag cited in the ad is, in a word, wrong.

In fact, Congress over the past five years has forked over a total of $4.8 million to study the genetic material of Montana's grizzly bears, according to Katherine Kendall, a research biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Kendall heads the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project, which is aimed at obtaining the first accurate population estimate of grizzlies living in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem—eight million acres of land in northwestern Montana that encompasses Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex."

Now it's an inaccurate and frequent reference to the 'Sky Theater' projector at the Adler Planetarium as a mere overhead projector:

"[Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?"

Scientists, as expected, were not amused

"For McCain to use this as a political zinger is insulting..." (Bad Astronomy)

-"Planetariums are Bridges to the Future, and America would be a much better place if all the congressional earmarks went to projects like them." (The Perfect Silence)

-"The logo for Senator John McCain's campaign has a star in the middle. I wonder what his guide star is? It can't be the same one that ten million children have seen at the Adler Planetarium. Why should anyone want their star to dim?"

If you are curious, you can see what the sky projector looks like here. As I have mentioned before, those who think the kooky anti-science religious wing of the Republican party are just an isolated group that isn't influencing the entire party, should reconsider. How is it that so many of McCain's examples of pork are scientific projects, and why does he always reveal a complete lack of understanding or interest in them? Whence came this anti-science attitude now so prevalent among Republicans?

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