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There’s still so much to do

by Phil Plait, Jan 21 2009

I’m so proud and happy right now. What a moment we had this week! The peaceful transition of power always fills me with wonder that such a thing can occur. And then to hear a President specifically mention the words "data" and "statistics" shortly after saying "We will restore science to its rightful place…" Well. By an amazing coincidence, something got in my eye just at that moment…

I can hope that with this new Administration, much of what critical thinkers have fought for these past few years will now only need our support, and not our defense. Of course, the forces against us all still exist; there’s just been a shift of power. And that’s only been in one place.

Creationists still are trying to force their agenda on children in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and other states. Antivaxxers still fold, spindle, and mutilate reality in the media. Homeopathic medicine salesmen still make claims that are demonstrably false. Fraud via antiscience is still rampant in every one of these fifty states.

Because of that, unfortunately, there will always be a need for those who support reality, those who will fight for critical thinking, and those who will make their voices heard when some try to impose their narrow view on others.

And so, as always, it’s time to look ahead and continue to fight the good fight.

9 Responses to “There’s still so much to do”

  1. SeanJJordan says:

    Hey Phil,

    President Obama certainly got his presidency off on the right foot, no question. I’m merely skeptical that the enthusiasm that people have now will be around in a year or two. That office has a way of transforming people and forcing them to compromise, little by little. And Obama still has the 48% of the country who didn’t vote for him to win over, so he may well concede a few points for political kudos.

    We’ll see. I’m hopeful that we’re going to see society turn a corner here, but I’m also keeping myself reserved, because enthusiasm and action are two entirely different things.

  2. Mastriani says:

    No offense intended to the author, but any skeptic would not be so elated by the wanton, self-aggrandizing propaganda of another politician. Not withstanding, Pres. Obama is one, and Congress holds the keys. Let the vacillating begin!!!

    “Politics is the second oldest profession; and bears a striking resemblance to the first.”

    Ronald Reagan

    Prostitution > Politician = Prostitician

  3. MattD says:

    Phil, rest assured that you’re not the only one who shed some saline at the mention of Science regaining its position — I’m not really an outwardly emotional person, but when he said that…Niagra…

  4. Phillip says:

    Homeopathic medicine salesmen still make claims that are demonstrably false.

    I have better results with homeopathy than conventional medicine, whose salesmen make claims that are plain lies most of the time, based on the need to sell as much crap as the market can stand without poisoning itself.

  5. Rogue Medic says:


    You should be reading the research on the medical treatments you use, not listening to salesmen. You will find that the older conventional medicine treatments have much better understood side effect profiles, so better decisions can be made about their use. The salesmen are generally only pushing the new, less well researched drugs.

    As far as homeopathy, it is only a placebo. There is no active ingredient. If you think otherwise, please send me all of your money. Your bank account will still have the memory of what was in there to pay your bills.

  6. patrik.e says:

    I also noticed that president Obama said: “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and nonbelievers.” I really liked that he pointed out that there are nonbelievers, and by mentioning them this way, he indicates that their views are also valid. This is something Bush would never had said, IMHO.

  7. ejdalise says:

    Did I read wrong, or did he not call for a national day of prayer? Does not sound any more inclusive than the last guy.

    Overall I hope he does well for the country and the people. I still fear the pressure for social programs will tax the monetary effort put toward science. As near as I know, he is still of the opinion that NASA must take a back seat to pressing social issues.

    . . . and the $140M inauguration cost did not inspire me a whole lot. The pageantry seemed much less a celebration of a president for the people (a civil servant), and much more like the anointment of royalty. We all bemoan the celebrity culture that pervades our society (well, at least I do), and I fear its marriage to political power is not a good thing (it was not in the past administration).

    I hope, but am am cautious in my optimism.

  8. C Holm says:

    Please keep in mind that all the new age believers tend to vote democrat. There’s always plenty of whack-jobs to go around.

  9. badrescher says:

    Although I love that he included nonbelievers and made a point of mentioning the value of science, I have seen absolutely nothing of substance and nothing to get excited about.

    The rhetoric is far too vague and some of his actions contradict my interpretation of it. Rhetoric is not action, and actions that are little more than gestures (e.g. the anti-lobbying policy that is about as effective as the national “no-call” list) are not enough.

    I have actually been a little bit offended by all of the skeptic blogs I have read this year that refer to Obama as “our candidate”. He is not “my candidate”, and I have seen nothing to convince me that he is “on our side”, either. Yes, he is a stark contrast from Bush, but he also sounds a lot like him at times; he seems to think he’s God’s agent, too. Maybe he’ll show me otherwise, but at the moment I’m not drinking this Koolaid.

    Even more important than agreement with my views of what this country needs and how to go about meeting those needs, MY candidate – if there ever is one – will be someone I can trust. Few politicians meet that criteria, and Obama is not one of them.

    Do I think we’d be better off with one of the other candidates? Not really, but that doesn’t mean I’m jumping for joy.

    That said, it is a great day for this country that we can finally put aside prejudice (at least as a group). It has also been a wonderful transition of power. I’ve even warmed up to Bush a bit in the past few weeks – something I thought was impossible!