The interesting thing is that, if one looks at the actual data, it's quite historically stable; indeed, if anything, belief in creationism or some sort of divine intervention increased during the "science-based" Clinton administration.
What this means, in my opinion, is simple; people aren't necessary anti-science, but they are smart enough to recognize that, quite often, those who tout "science" are using it for ulterior motives.
Take, for example, the anti-Bush diatribe in today's Chronicle.
Like his failure to take global warming seriously, President Bush's decision to ignore science and veto the recently passed bipartisan bill that would permit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research within an ethical framework spotlights an inconvenient truth. All Americans, not just those who have diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, will pay the price.
Take diabetes, for example. Leading scientists say embryonic stem cell research holds great promise for finding better treatments and a cure for the nearly 21 million Americans, including 2 million Californians, who have the disease. And that's not to mention the 54 million who have pre-diabetes, meaning their blood glucose levels are higher than normal and they're at increased risk of developing the disease. That number is sure to rise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls diabetes an epidemic and says 1 in 3 babies born today -- and 1 in 2 among nonwhite babies -- will develop diabetes in their lifetime, if trends continue.
And of course, what should we do to halt this horrible, horrible menace?
Stem cell research allows scientists to better explore how to control and direct stem cells so they can grow into other cells, such as insulin-producing beta cells. Creating new beta cells could mean a cure for Type 1 diabetes as they would serve as a source of cells for islet cell transplantation. They could also provide a powerful tool for controlling Type 2 diabetes.
Unfortunately, for those of us supposedly science-free Christians, especially those of us with a biology background, there's a little problem here.
As the article briefly alludes, there are two primary types of diabetes; Type 1, aka insulin-dependent diabetes, in which the islet cells of the pancreas are incapable of creating insulin and require a person to take it externally, and Type 2, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, where the body loses its ability to respond to the insulin it produces.
Type 1 diabetes is the one that stem-cell research theoretically could most help, since the ability to restore or implant pancreatic islet cells would allow these patients to produce their own insulin. However, according to the CDC's own statement, Type 1 diabetes makes up only 5 - 10% of all diabetes cases.
Why is this important?
Because Type 2 diabetes, which makes up the remaining 90 - 95% of cases, is, according to the ADA itself, on whose board this author , quite preventable -- by changing diet and increasing physical activity. Indeed, in most cases of Type 2, it's not that the islet cells quit producing insulin; it's that, after years of obesity, bad eating, and lack of exercise, the body simply refuses to respond to it.
What this "scientific" commentor is telling us is that we need ethically-questionable research to find a cure for something in which 95% of the cases are, by and large, preventable without a single stem cell anything. Even more ironically, he's citing statistics about how many deaths, dollars, and days lost this is costing us per year -- without mentioning that it's due primarily to peoples' choosing to overeat and not exercise, not to any particular lack of stem-cell-based cures, and that dealing with the former would have far more effect on reducing losses of all three than the latter.
In short, this is on the same level as an argument for the need for embryo dissection to make lung cancer cures from the CEO of a cigarette manufacturer.
But, when one looks at Dwight Holing's donation record, it should surprise no one that he apparently has no ethical qualms whatsoever about perverting science for political purposes, especially when it's anti-Bush.
He's just not used to people knowing something about what he's trying to use for propaganda.