By KIM BELLARD
We’re in the midst of a major U.S. election, as well as hearings on a Supreme Court vacancy, so people are thinking about litmus tests and single issue voters – the most typical of which is whether someone is “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” Well, I’m a single issue person too; my litmus test is whether someone believes in evolution.
I’m pro-science, and these are scary times.
Within the last week there have been editorials in Scientific American, The New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature – all respected, normally nonpartisan, scientific publications – taking the current Administration to task for its coronavirus response. Each, in its own way, accuses the Administration of letting politics, not science, drive its response.
SA urges voters to “think about voting to protect science instead of destroying it.” They cite, among other examples, Columbia Law School’s Silencing Science Tracker, which “tracks government attempts to restrict or prohibit scientific research, education or discussion, or the publication or use of scientific information, since the November 2016 election.” Their count is over 450 by now, across a broad range of topics in numerous federal agencies on a variety of topics.
The SA authors declare:
Science, built on facts and evidence-based analysis, is fundamental to a safe and fair America. Upholding science is not a Democratic or Republican issue.
Similarly, NEJM fears:
Our current leaders have undercut trust in science and in government,4 causing damage that will certainly outlast them. Instead of relying on expertise, the administration has turned to uninformed “opinion leaders” and charlatans who obscure the truth and facilitate the promulgation of outright lies.
Jeff Tollefson, in Nature, warns:
As he seeks re-election on 3 November, Trump’s actions in the face of COVID-19 are just one example of the damage he has inflicted on science and its institutions over the past four years, with repercussions