The Right-Wing War on Science

ABC News has an article about a sociologist at Rutgers University who questioned 157 scientists about “their work at the crux of a 2003 political clash between several members of Congress, a Christian lobbyist group called the Traditional Values Coalition and the National Institutes of Health” and found, not surprisingly, that TVC’s rabble-rousing put enough pressure on them that “nearly a quarter of respondents said they either modified their studies to seem less controversial or abandoned controversial grant proposals.”

I was particularly impressed by this statement by Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Traditional Values Coalition, who admits that she sees no “abuses of science” but plans to continue her crusade against science nonetheless: 

Andrea Lafferty, executive director of Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) in Washington, D.C., sees no “abuses of science” but agrees that with the new administration, the content of grant proposals is likely to expand.

“My main idea is the NIH ATM machine is going to re-open in 09,” said Lafferty. “It’s some guys in their jammies at universities drinking beer asking, ‘hey, how can we study how prostitutes spread disease?’ Then they take it to the NIH” … “NIH has always been treated like a sacred cow … scientists overall don’t believe in God, and they don’t want to be questioned,” she said. “These people want to say it’s just TVC but you take what we find is being studied, go to any grocery store and ask people what they think. Taxpayers would be outraged.”

So the NIH is primarily just a slush fund for drunken, PJ-clad atheists looking for a way to consort with prostitutes? How come I didn’t know about this? More importantly, how do I apply for a grant?