The Obama Presidency, a bright day for science and evolution?

With the winning of the presidency of the United States going to Barack Obama, one wonders if there will be a change in the climate of the U.S. towards a better scientific future.

Former President George W. Bush

Former President George W. Bush

Science and The Bush Presidency

It has become exceedingly clear that the Bush administration has been anti-science.  I don’t mean to say that George W. Bush hates every aspect of science or all scientists (like Ben Stein), but there are certain areas the current administration is morally and intellectually corrupt. The facts of such subjects as climate change and stem cell research were regularly distorted and repressed.  Areas such as space exploration seem to be promoted and presented accurately.  However, having any anti-scientific thought is surely going to dilute reason, critical thinking, and acceptance of scientific fact.

How about the subject of evolution?  Of course, the blatant fundamentalist Christian ideals that underlie the Bush administration’s policies are anti-evolution. He is of the mind that both Intelligent Design and Evolution should be taught together:

Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about

2008 Presidential Election

No matter who had one the 2008 election, it is clear that science in the US would take a step forward.  How could it possibly take a step backwards?  Although neither candidate (Barack Obama and John McCain) agreed to a debate concerning science, they did answer these 14 questions relating to science.  Although their answers could just be pandering, it is clear from their answers that the current shameful scientific policies would come to an end.

120px-barackobama2005portrait_edit1

Newly Elected President Barack Obama

Obama said some very encouraging things in his response to the questions, but actions speak louder than words.  Over the weekend, Obama did something that should make anyone on the side of science and reason, very happy.  He made a point to say that he would reverse Bush’s “ban” on embryonic stem cell research:

I strongly support expanding research on stem cells. I believe the restrictions that President Bush has placed on funding of human embryonic stem cell research have handcuffed our scientists and hindered our ability to compete with other nations… As president, I will lift the current administration’s ban on federal funding of research on embryonic stem cell lines.

Although this move does not directly affect his view or the U.S.’s direction toward evolutionary belief, it does indicate that Barack Obama is serious about changing scientific policies for the better.

But what do we know specifically about Obama’s view of evolution?  He seems to be keeping pretty quiet on the subject, but he has been quoted as saying:

I believe in evolution, and I believe there’s a difference between science and faith. That doesn’t make faith any less important than science. It just means they’re two different things. And I think it’s a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don’t hold up to scientific inquiry.

I applaud Mr. Obama for this action and hope that he does make a change.  Not one that we can believe in, but one that is based on reality.

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