While not yet descended into witch burning, it seems like rejecting the entire institution of science is the “in thing” to do nowadays in the US, much like it was in Europe in the 15th century. During a Republican presidential debate a couple of weeks ago, the moderators asked the candidates whether or not they believed in evolution. Three of nine said no. In a follow-up, Senator Sam Brownback wrote an op-ed piece for The New York Times “defending” his position.
Here is an essay from University of Chicago professor of ecology and evolution Jerry Coyne responding to Brownback. From my perspective the key point made is that anti-evolution is really a euphemism for anti-science, and that someone who doesn’t understand or believe in science obviously isn’t qualified to lead the US.
On a related note, there was a brilliant article in the May 18th issue of Science about childhood origins of adult resistance to science; here’s the abstract and here’s the article (you need a subscription to Science to read the article).