Wed, 25 Aug 2004 16:25:09 GMT

The Pink Bunny of Battle Sees Red. The Pink Bunny of Battle sees red over The War on Academic Freedom. We see an echo of this war here in Florida, where Betty Castor the leading Democratic candidate for our open Senate seat, is being castigated for not having fired a tenured professor accused of aiding terrorists when she was a university president. (In fact, if Castor can be accused of anything, it was over-reacting to flimsy charges and suspending the man for two years on the basis of what was then quite little evidence.) One thing I don’t agree with the Bunny about, though, is the claim that legislatures have an obligation to support good science. I want them to, and I demand they support academic freedom — but I can’t say that this includes any sort of duty to go beyond contractual committments. The state has no duty to provide research grants unless it’s spelled out in a contract of employment. And if the legislature thinks it has better ways to spend the money, or even if it disagrees with the research on ideological grounds (think stem cells), it has a right to withhold funds. Think of it as a right to be wrong, if you… []

legistlatures have a duty to maintain a well informed and educated public that is capable of discussing current issues intelligently… this implies that they should support science to some extent, in order to insure that people actually know what the current issues are by knowing what future issues might be, based on a progressive growth of knowledge.