Science and politics – Nature editorial and comments debate AAAS appointment of Rush Holt as partisan politics…? #science

This week’s Nature editorials include a column by Daniel Sarewitz titled ‘Science should keep out of partisan politics.‘ The article examines the possible political nature of the recent appointment of retired congressman Rush Holt as the head of the AAAS. It is definitely worth a read, and the comments are certainly worth your time!

That said, I personally have to agree with most of the commenters. Many support the AAAS appointment of Rush Holt, not as political, but as a leader who is an accomplished scientist and politician. Holt a terrific choice as leader of AAAS – he has knowledge and experience in both science and in Washington, DC politics.

I understand Sarewitz’ points, but I think they are wrongly applied to Holt’s appointment and I think it is far too late for this argument. Why should science keep out of partisan politics, when partisan politics have not kept out of science. Republicans and Democrats can all be blamed for recent decreases in science funding. However, the anti-science platforms, statements, and politics of many Republicans have done damage to science. Beyond funding cuts, they have created an atmosphere where political vitriol and lies often trump scientific evidence.

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Think only Republicans are science deniers? think again

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On the heels of yesterdays post of the Daily Show takedown of anti-vaccine liberals (outbreak of liberal idiocy), a great politico article by Tara Haelle points out that both political sides have science deniers. Democrats and Republicans, and anyone in-between, are happy to tout science when it supports their cause, but are also happy to deny science when it is inconvenient… guess we’re all hypocrites. While Republicans deny the science of man-made climate change or evolution, Democrats tend to deny the science of vaccines or genetically modified organisms (GMO foods). The good news is that being anti-science is a bipartisan issue. However, the horrible news is that when you look at the issue, more and more people are willing to use or abuse science to their liking, rather than for what it is.

“But such cries of false equivalence miss the point. The issue isn’t whether the Democrats are anti-science enough to match the anti-science lunacy of Republicans. The point is that any science denialism exists on the left at all. If there is grime in my bathroom and grime in my kitchen, I don’t stand there and contemplate which one has more filth; my house won’t be clean until I have scoured both.”

Political affiliation of medical doctors shifting away from Republicans

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More medical doctors are contributing to Democrats and fewer are contributing to Republicans according to an article published in JAMA Internal Medicine. There are differences between medical specialties that are quite interesting, and women doctors tend to lean even more toward Democrats. Authors include Adam Bonica, Howard Rosenthal, David J. Rothman. News article here.