Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Creationists undermine the US

The US is in free fall in terms of producing science and engineering (S&E) graduates, the engine of its economy over the last few decades. From a position of overwhelming dominance, it now finds the gap narrowing, soon to disappear completely if current trends continue.

Consider: the ratio of S&E under-graduate degrees in the US has fallen to 5.7%, well behind the UK, Ireland (although our ratios are also declining) Finland, Sweden, France and even Spain. Doctoral theses show a similar decline, as does the proportion of peer-reviewed scientific papers published. The situation becomes dramatically worse when you consider that the bulk of S&E doctorates awarded in the US are to East Asians (predominantly those of Chinese origin).

These developments are already feeding into the production figures, with high-tech exports falling from 31% in 1980 to less than 15% today. The US continues to support its sumptuous lifestyle and wars of choice by simply printing money - going into hock to the world's major creditors - mainly the Chinese. But that can't continue indefinitely.

The cause? Surely the attack of the 'creationists' on orthodox science must be a factor. Science, its teaching and the respect in which it's held, are under unrelenting attack from a lavishly-funded lunatic fringe of religious zealots and an associated army of mountebanks cashing in on the opportunity. It's frightening to think how far the US has regressed, going back even to the Founding Fathers. Consider the wise words of Jefferson:

"The priests of the different religious sects dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight".

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