We have never seen anything like this. Climate scientist Mark Jacobson has sued the National Academy of Sciences for publishing an article that disagrees with him. For his hurt feelings, he wants $10 million.
science and politics
Protecting foreign service members is one of the most important responsibilities of the U.S. State Department. So, reducing the number of American diplomats in Cuba – as well as expelling Cuban diplomats from Washington, to emphasize the situation's gravity – is entirely appropriate, especially since we still have no idea what actually happened.
Air pollution in China has a substantially negative impact on public health. But with the exception of central and southern California and the upper Midwest, the United States has extremely clean air. And in fact, most regions in this country would not benefit from tighter air pollution standards.
What does Germany's election mean for science? Absolutely nothing, except that the preexisting anti-nuclear, anti-GMO, and anti-technology policies that were already prevalent under Mrs. Merkel will be reinforced. And the world won't notice.
"Follow the money!" activists shout. The money trail, according to this logic, always leads to lies and deception. This puerile fallacy, argumentum ad aurum, is just a thinly disguised ad hominem attack commonly used against scientists. Instead of criticizing the quality or conclusions of the research, activists instead assault the integrity of the scientist.
Recently, in a room full of microbiologists, this question was posed: "How many of you believe climate change is the world's #1 threat?" Silence. Not a single person's hand was raised. Were they all rejecting science? No, not at all. They just didn't see it as threatening as antibiotic resistance, pandemic disease or geopolitical instability.
The official March for Science Twitter account recently criticized the Trump Administration for bombing ISIS, claiming that the gigantic bomb the U.S. dropped on the terrorists is an "example of how science is weaponized against marginalized people." After a justified mocking, delete went the tweet.
The Trump Administration has convened a panel to address America's opioid epidemic. Its first mission should be to find convincing data to identify the actual cause(s) of the problem. That will be much harder than it sounds, since ideologues are always in plentiful supply.
Taking advantage of today's toxic, confrontational mindset are outlets like SourceWatch. The website is like a politicized, unscientific version of Wikipedia. Volunteers – rather than qualified experts – write smear articles about people and groups they don't like (one of them being us).
Scientists are humans, too. And just like other humans you know, some of them aren't very good at their jobs. There are three main ways in which scientists can mess up. Here's how.
Some might argue that democracy not only leads people to believe that all humans are of equal value (which is true), but all humans are equal in their abilities, thoughts, and behaviors (which is completely false). Yet, many people in a democracy believe the latter. And it leads to a very bad outcome.
The president's budget proposal for 2018 should raise some serious concerns. Cutting science funding, particularly that of the National Institutes of Health, is not aligned with his goal to "Make America Great Again."