Chris Mooney in Slate:
The “war on science” is over. Or at least it is in the sense that I originally meant the phrase: We're at the close of the Bush administration's years of attacks on the integrity of scientific information—its biased editing of technical documents, muzzling of government researchers, and shameless dispersal of faulty ideas about issues like global warming.
The attacks generated dramatic outrage and considerable activism from the traditionally staid science community and the sympathy of politicians like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So it's no great surprise to find the president-elect setting out to restore dignity to the role of science in government. George W. Bush didn't even bother to name his White House science adviser until well into his first term, and his appointee (physicist John Marburger) didn't win Senate confirmation until October 2001. In contrast, Obama has already named a Nobel laureate physicist (Steven Chu) to head the Energy Department and a climate specialist and prominent leader of the scientific community, Harvard's John Holdren, as his Cabinet-level science adviser.
Scientists are ecstatic about these developments and about Obama's recent promise to listen to them “even when it's inconvenient—especially when it's inconvenient.” But it would be the gravest of errors for researchers to simply return victorious to their labs and fall back on a time-honored stance of political detachment.