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[Susan notes: This great, succint letter packs a punch.]

Published in New York Times

To the editor

Thomas L. Friedman ("Fly Me to the Moon," column, Dec. 5) should not be surprised that the Bush administration has cut the National Science Foundation's budget for science, engineering and mathematics education. The Reagan administration, which, like the current administration, had a tendency to subordinate facts to ideology, did the same thing.

A scientifically literate public would be skeptical of the very strategies that help keep this administration in power: authoritarian pronouncements that lack empirical support, appeals to supernatural events to explain natural phenomena and the manipulation of scientific data to further political and ideological agendas.

Such a public would ask pointed questions and demand answers that are rooted in reason - answers that this faith-based administration, and much of its Congressional choir, would be hard pressed to deliver.

The writer is a former director, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, and a past president, National Association of Biology Teachers.

Joseph D. McInerney

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