Subject: Comment on Earth Day Demonstrations
On Earth Day, crowds gathered in the U.S. capital and around the world on Saturday to support science and evidence-based research — a protest partly fueled by opposition to President Donald Trump’s threats of budget cuts to agencies funding scientists’ work. The public understanding of science issues and concepts is a hallmark of an informed public. Today we need science understanding more than ever because as developments in science and technology raise new issues for public debate, a public with more knowledge of scientific facts and principles is better able to understand these developments and make informed judgments.
Unfortunately too many today believe that facts don’t matter anymore; supposedly we are living in a “post-fact” society. Facts, however, are not subjective or open to interpretation. Facts are just that—a thing that is indisputably the case. Facts should not be open for interpretation. Climate change, for example, is a fact, not “bullshit” and a “Chinese hoax” as Trump claims. Facts can be inconvenient though. Facts can counter some of our long-held notions. Donald Trump is becoming the anti-science president. His proposed budget calls for deep cuts in government-funded medical and scientific research. Maybe he is trying to reinforce an ignorance-is-bliss mentality among his true believers; if you don’t know about something, you don’t worry about it.
I worry a lot.
Ralph E. StoneFiled under: Letters to the Editor