President-Elect Obama, having nominated his team of scientific advisers, declared
Because the truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States – and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.
That sounds great, but so do the words “Hail, master” by which, with a kiss, Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of murderers. When you are a hardened and cynical politician, the smart move is to state your intentions as the exact opposite of what you’re planning in order to pleasantly surprise and disarm your opponent and put him off guard before you stick the knife in. For all the fancy talk, Obama’s choice amply demonstrates that he was dissembling even as he uttered the words because he nominated team members who are highly prominent in the politicization of science, and who have clearly been chosen because of the political views they hold, rather than the science they can do. Obama has chosen fanatics who will tell him what he craves to hear, rather than what he needs to hear, and if that is “protecting free and open enquiry” where “facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology” then I’ll eat my hat.