I just wanted to post a quick response to Marcelo's thought provoking piece yesterday (and its many comments).
Some of the commenters were very angry that Marcelo would ask questions about science and where it might overreach. It was as if the question itself is dangerous and gives fuel to those who would have us reject science and its promise.
The last thing we want is to see is science and its practice as somehow immune from analysis, and investigation. Once we take that step we are already giving in. What makes science so powerful and so beautiful is its ability to respond the world. But to miss how science as an idea gets used in culture for good or ill would be a grave mistake.
No one will doubt the threat the lack of scientific literacy poses in this country. This is especially true given the hostility science faces from the fundementalist camps. But if our reaction (especially as scientists) becomes to stop thinking deeply about how science functions in a cultural context then we have already been beaten by those forces. You can't beat close mindedness with more closed-mindedness.