Day 8: Science of Dissent

This tweet sums up the current feeling of scientists on social media. There’s plenty to be worried about: possible efforts to silence government scientists who might publish facts that are unpopular with the current administration, stated hostility toward anthropogenic climate change, and seemingly no enthusiasm for transparency or any respect for actual expertise, but not that much actual change in policy or funding so far. Still, given Littlefinger’s propensity to try to suppress news that is merely unflattering, government scientists who study things like climate and other environmental impacts of human activity are reasonably worried. Not surprisingly, against this background a group of scientists are planning their own march on Washington with a platform encouraging funding, transparency and respect for actual facts. No date is set yet, and who knows if I’ll be able to go in person, but I will support the march in whatever way I can. I imagine most of my readers who are scientists already know about it, but for others I’m sure there will be mechanisms for you to help as well. For example I’d like to set up a travel fund to help young scientists (especially from underrepresented groups) to be able to attend. Stay tuned.

BTW, here is a provocative piece claiming that the left has been much more successful at suppressing unfavored scientific theories than the right, particularly in areas such as GMOs, animal research and genetic theories of behavior. There are many things I could take issue with in this essay, but I do think it raises some reasonable questions about ideological orthodoxy in science and how a lack of diversity of thought may contribute to it.


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