We knew each other at the College of William and Mary, although he was a year behind me in the Class of 1971. I remember him as a very very smart guy who would pop into my room every once in a while. I thought I was smart, but I knew even then that Coyne played in a different league. In fact, maybe I should title this post 'Jerry Coyne's Twenty Cents'.
One item that speaks volumes about Coyne: on Twitter, he has almost 11,000 followers. Know how many he follows? Zero.
Coyne has also written a book titled the same as his blog. So you get the picture: when it comes to evolution and science in general, he is not a person to be trifled with.
With that as a background, I was struck by his most recent post about two articles on the anti-science viewpoint in politics. From my perspective it seems worse than ever, although that could be attributed to the 24/7 media cycle and the fact that information is everywhere. Yet there seems to be a high number of politicians who delight in espousing anti-science viewpoints, such as Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) and Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO).
From his blog, an introduction:
I don’t often tell readers about articles that they simply have to read, but this pair qualifies. Together they’re not terribly short (about 7000 wordsin toto), but I like to think that my readers have decent attention spans—and the interest in science and politics that makes this Scientific American essay, “Antiscience beliefs jeopardize U.S. democracy” by Shawn Lawrence Otto, mandatory reading. When you finish Otto’s piece, go read the related Sci. Am. piece: “Science in an election year,” which summarizes and rates the Presidential candidates’ stands on 14 critical scientific and technological issues.
In fact, go read them now before you read any other posts on this website.
That last admonition is his as well. You can read what he says about the articles and the anti-science topic in general by visiting his site. Both the articles and a site visit will be well worth your time.