A good friend from college has an excellent hard-hitting piece here, citing ways in which leaders in our culture have thwarted the search for knowledge and ultimately, to the detriment of people present and in the future. His conclusion:
The purpose of science is to uncover and understand the laws of nature. The process of science is difficult, time-consuming, labor and money-intensive and fraught with mistakes, misunderstandings and dead ends. But when science is allowed to operate freely, it does, over time, reveal the inner workings of nature. In contrast, the alternative of ignorance does not render nature’s laws irrelevant, nor does it change them.
Even though our understanding of nature changes over time, the laws of nature are fixed and immutable. They are not subject to voting, amending or appeal, nor are they responsive to polls or public relations campaigns. Nature has no political, religious or corporate affiliations. In fact, nature does not care about us at all. The question is do we care enough about ourselves to face this harsh truth, or are we going to continue with the folly of willful ignorance and the self-destruction that results?