The third president of the United States saw education as the bedrock of democracy. He offered to sell his library to Congress after the British burned the Library of Congress in 1814."If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be. If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed." - Thomas Jefferson
English: Portrait of Thomas Jefferson, founder of the University of Virginia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 1819 he founded the University of Virginia. Upon its opening in 1825, it was the first university to offer a full slate of elective courses to its students. One of the largest construction projects to that time in North America, the university was notable for being centered about a library.... (source)Jefferson was a scientist and scholar, and I fear he would be appalled by some of today's politicians. Shawn Otto describes how he sees it in Scientific American.
[I]n this election cycle, some 236 years after Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, several major party contenders for political office took positions that can only be described as "antiscience": against evolution, human-induced climate change, vaccines, stem cell research, and more. A former Republican governor even warned that his own political party was in danger of becoming "the antiscience party."Read the article. If you're a U.S. citizen, please also take a look at how Scientific American evaluates the candidates for president, and use that information as you decide how to vote on November 6.
Such positions could typically be dismissed as nothing more than election-year posturing except that they reflect an anti-intellectual conformity that is gaining strength in the U.S. at precisely the moment that most of the important opportunities for economic growth, and serious threats to the well-being of the nation, require a better grasp of scientific issues. By turning public opinion away from the antiauthoritarian principles of the nation's founders, the new science denialism is creating an existential crisis like few the country has faced before.