The authors used a very large set of observations. This is no anecdote. And remember that this is being said of research you are paying for with taxes, research that is supposed to be curing or understanding diseases you may have or get:
This reflects the growing importance of evolutionary concepts in the biomedical field, and highlights even more the strange rarity with which the word “evolution” is used in the biomedical literature dealing with antimicrobial resistance. It has been repeatedly rumored (and reiterated by one of the reviewers of this article) that both the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation have in the past actively discouraged the use of the word “evolution” in titles or abstracts of proposals so as to avoid controversy. Indeed, we were told by one researcher that in the title of one proposal, the authors were urged to change the phrase “the evolution of sex” to the more arcanely eloquent wording “the advantage of bi-parental genomic recombination.”
I have to wonder what happened to the research ideas of scientists like PZ who would rip heads off, [figure of speech, OK?] if asked to censor one of his grant proposal's for the e-word? Does the Bush Stooge looking over the shoulders of competent administrators at NSF round file those? Such titles would not even show up on these graphs, one of the ways in which bush league government is a black hole.
This is not some tempest in an academic teapot. Medical science can not work fast enough and damn well knows it. None of us should be quiet about an administration that puts the brakes on research we need.
Nowadays, medical researchers are increasingly realizing that evolutionary processes are involved in immediate threats associated with not only antibiotic resistance but also emerging diseases [1,2]. The evolution of antimicrobial resistance has resulted in 2- to 3-fold increases in mortality of hospitalized patients, has increased the length of hospital stays, and has dramatically increased the costs of treatment [3,4].
I am not a strategist who could devine the optimum tone of a campaign to remove the shackles of superstitions banded about a sound and vital category of research. But certainly, I can no longer begrudge PZ his anger and contempt at the damage to the effectiveness of science by this administration and its abettors.