Scientists Are Worried About Trump Administration's Lack of Interest in Science
Feb 22, 2017 08:28 AM EST
While the future of US science was highlighted at the first major gathering of researchers since President Donald Trump began his term, the potential threats to science, in general, were perceived to be a more critical concern. During this year’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the scientific community showed disapproval over the new administration’s approach to science.
The New Scientist reported that some of their fears involved the White House’s unwillingness to go over scientific evidence, accept climate change and take in immigrants who have been known to significantly contribute to US science. According to AAAS chief executive Rush Holt, the atmosphere at the Boston meeting clearly exuded anxiety among the scientific community.
“This is the first time in my 50-year career that I have seen people speaking up for science per se rather than about particular issues such as nuclear weapons,” Holt said. “I have never seen scientists more concerned about the process of science — and not just about where their grants are going to come from.”
Kenneth Kimmell of the grassroots advocacy organization Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), also issued a statement to a crowded session titled “Defending science and scientific integrity in the age of Trump.” According to the group’s president, a great threat looms as the new administration plays an impeding role to the achieving progress in science and scientific integrity.
According to the scientific community, troubling issues are widely evident, including the scientists coming from Muslim countries being excluded in meetings. Communications between the researchers and the public are also being restricted by federal scientists.
Even policymaking is being based on personal beliefs rather than on scientific evidence while public officials relaying “alternative facts” are leaving scientists distressed. There have also been fears over Congress, dominated by Republicans, imposing cuts on spending for science and research. Scientists expect there will be big blows on public health as well as environmental and climate research.
Since Trump assumed office, the appointment of a chief scientist or science advisers has not yet been carried out. There has also been a lack of involvement with the US National Academy of Sciences or other senior scientific bodies. “We need to pack an emotional punch in speaking for science. Donald Trump is not pulling his punches and nor should we,” Kimmell added.