My view: Donald Trump's war on science

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  • Heraclitus Prescott, AZ
    Feb. 13, 2017 9:10 a.m.

    @nicholdraper – “Why is the government involved in these scientific studies and releases of data?”

    Simply… because private industry will only fund research they can be reasonably sure will generate profits in the not-too-distant future.

  • nicholdraper West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 12, 2017 7:41 a.m.

    Why is the government involved in these scientific studies and releases of data? Isn't legitimate science performed by researchers and collaborated by independent researchers and published in science periodicals? Normally government intervention in research tends towards propaganda. Most people, myself included would not argue against the mountain of evidence that humans have been modifying the environment in numerous ways as long as humans have existed. Tying these scientific findings to specific government policies is troubling. We shouldn't do things because the ends justify it -- the means have to be ethical and practical and be evaluated on their merit independent of the end. So, doing anything for the reason of climate change should be considered as suspect. You could justify genocide for the reason of climate change, which obviously no one is calling for, but some of the proposed policies justified by only climate change are just ridiculous if not as abhorrent.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Feb. 9, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted – “It also means that climate studies need to be published even if their credible conclusions don't support massive new government programs or infringements on individual liberties.”

    Are you aware of any peer-reviewed, evidence-based climate studies that conclude the climate is NOT changing at a rate unprecedented in the last 20,000 years?

    I’m not.

    As to your comment about science being taught in ways not hostile to your religious beliefs, that is certainly possible but it has nothing to do with the science being taught. What matters is whether or not you hold religious beliefs that conflict with scientific facts (e.g., young earth creationism, God created all creatures as is, Noah flood, etc.).

    If so, then yes you may experience that as hostility.

  • HSTucker Holladay, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 7:30 p.m.

    Leftist paranoia appears to afflict even the highly educated.

  • Allisdair Thornbury, Vic
    Feb. 8, 2017 7:17 p.m.

    1984 by George Orwell spoke of the thought police.

    The new employee from the outer party Winston Smith will fit in nicely at the EPA.

    Sorry folks you wont find this on Fox.

    The more serious issue is who is the puppeteer or puppeteers, is it just Steve Bannon and where does the Heartland Institute fit. Sure President Trump runs off in all directions when he is off script, but who is writing the scripts of fear and loathing.

    How many times will the Senate have to clean up the mess after Trump insults one of the allies.

    Don't forget just 22 months to the half terms.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 3:51 p.m.

    Trump has plenty of support in this regard.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 3:13 p.m.

    Let me say, I will no less concerned IF President Trump attempts to squash or misuse science and scientists than I have been with what the leftists have done to misuse science and silence alternative theories in the past.

    I want science to operate free from politics on either side of the spectrum. That may not be possible when so much science relies on taxpayer funding and/or takes place at highly politicized universities. But I'd like science to be free of political agenda.

    That means the center for disease control doesn't get to attack guns. Whatever one thinks of guns, they are not a disease. Let the justice department study crime.

    It also means that climate studies need to be published even if their credible conclusions don't support massive new government programs or infringements on individual liberties.

    It means science needs to be taught in our schools without being hostile to religious beliefs or moral values.

    Science needs to stop being coopted as code word to allow left wing policies to be pushed without the ability for reasonable disagreement, so that it can't be coopted for right wing policies either.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 3:08 p.m.

    First it's global warming, then it's "climate change", and now we are expecting an Ice Age, just like we were in the Seventies. Ain't "Science" wonderful?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 3:07 p.m.

    The real "war on science" has come from the left as they have worked to brand any who disagree with the politicized conclusions drawn from heavily manipulated data as veritable heretics or "deniers".

    Real science welcomes challenges and is eager to publish raw data along with results. Real science doesn't attempt to silence or ostracize those who disagree with political policy playing fast and loose with scientific results. Real science doesn't over-state conclusions because of moral imperative to get something done.

    The left has also coopted science to attack religious beliefs. My high school science teachers had no problem teaching organic evolution and big bang cosmology without ever undermining or mocking religious beliefs. Why can't college level researchers and government employees do likewise?

    Why are sincere questions about weaknesses in these hypotheses treated like attacks on sacred religious beliefs rather than answered directly and sometimes with the honest "we don't know...yet"?

    Labeling partisan political positions as "science" is the real war on science.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 2:31 p.m.

    You mean a person opposed to the idea that there is global warming won't be fired? Horrors.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 2:31 p.m.

    To "JoeBlow " I hate to tell you this, but politicians have been tweaking with science for a long time. Your ilk has made an industry out of it over the past 60 years.

    The scientists are still free to publish their findings. They will not contain the EPA stamp, making it official, but they can still publish.

    Yes, hide all of the decades of partisan politics influenced science from Congress. They make enough bad decisions without any facts, they don't need bad science to help them justify their bad decisions.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 8, 2017 2:00 p.m.

    Red writes

    "The agencies that Trump has reprimanded are agencies that have been using science to justify policy. "

    According to the article " Further, EPA scientists have been told that their results and findings now may need to go through an internal vetting by the administration before their release to the public."
    It sounds to me that our politicians will tweak the science to adhere to their politics.

    Red writes "The scientists have been, and always will be, free to publish their findings."

    But the article states that "Donald Trump has ordered several federal agencies ... to cease communications with the public and Congress. "

    Don't these agencies communicate with the pubic by publishing their findings?

    It seems to me that if the science doesn't agree with partisan politics, Trump wants to modify or quash the information. And he wants it withheld from Congress.
    How else can you read it?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 12:10 p.m.

    To "Clement Y. Chow" you should read up on Lysenkoism. The agencies that Trump has reprimanded are agencies that have been using science to justify policy. The scientists have been, and always will be, free to publish their findings. The issue is that the scientists have learned that if they want to keep funding, and their jobs, that they need to produce research that justifies the position of the politicians.

    For example, look at the FDA's research on food. Eggs are good one year, and bad the next. The government took data showing the bad effects of sugar and buried it for 50 years, and even now is able to get people to ignore that fact. At one time Government Scientists said that by the year 2000 the earth wouldn't be able to produce enough food. How about the idea of peak oil.

    The problem is that the government scientists have consistently been proven wrong when it comes to their predictions, yet they keep getting paid. Imagine your company's head of marketing, if they were constantly wrong would they be kept or fired? Why should government scientists be receiving tax payer money if they are constantly proven wrong?

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Feb. 8, 2017 10:03 a.m.

    The Republican war on science started long before Trump (Chris Mooney has done a superb job documenting this progression).

    But this is a manifestation of a two much deeper problems, one that affects both the Left and Right and another that is largely a problem for the Right alone.

    The first problem is inherent in partisans of all stripes and that is denying facts that don’t fit your political narrative, though the scope of denial and the magnitude of the problems denied today are far more consequential on the Right.

    The second problem is the faith-based mind set – a problem that should find equal offenders across the political spectrum but with the rise of the Religious Right, does not.

    This has been a problem since the first free thinking cave dweller showed the wheel to his companions only to be clubbed by the shaman (or his ecclesiastical enforcers) for producing a “work of the devil.”

    Until we rid ourselves of faith as our cognitive default setting and recognize its abysmal track record in telling anything true about the natural world, this problem will remain.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 9:29 a.m.

    A much better title for this article would have been : "Trump's War On Common Sense."

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 9:21 a.m.

    All dictators seek to restrict the free flow of information. Trump is finding it difficult, though, to get a majority of Americans to believe his perpetual lies. Hopefully the Right will start to value a free press. If not, then we may as well get used to fascist America.

    The sad part about this whole election, though, is that once again, hyperpartisan Republicans have voted against their own best interests. Look at what they voted for: increasingly dirty air and water, tax cuts for billionaires, an inevitable reduction in health coverage for the poor and disadvantaged, an attack on public education, belligerence against both enemy states and allies, threats of trade wars, a restriction on government information, ever laxer gun laws, shifting ethical standards (shifting away from ethical behavior), deregulation of Wall Street, more heat for an already overheated planet, a callous disregard for refugees, and a governing philosophy based on paranoia and conspiracy theories.

    The only bright spot I see is the possibility that after four years of these disastrous policies maybe even the Republicans will see how absurd their ideology is. Maybe.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 8, 2017 7:02 a.m.

    Thank you, Dr. Chow. Well said.

    Science is not a liberal conspiracy. It's just reality.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Feb. 8, 2017 6:51 a.m.

    Sadly, in the age of Trump, truth has become political.

    And the problem with that is the lack of regard for objective, verifiable truth is solely the domain of the current Administration.

    When you deny the objective pursuit of science and truth, we are led to a very bad future. Decisions that will haunt our children and their children will be made based on political calculations and the subsequent hordes of money from corporate interests.

    Where is the outrage?

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Feb. 8, 2017 6:18 a.m.

    Conservatives who claim to decry over-reaching government don't appear alarmed by this effort by government to control the flow of information. Perhaps because the truth is that fact-based knowledge isn't their guide. Rather fear and anxiety are and facts that don't assuage these emotions - or worse, heighten them - are deemed irrelevant and must be squelched. (A forerunner: The law prohibiting government funding of research on gun violence as a public health issue.)

    Reasonable people everywhere: Resist!

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Feb. 8, 2017 5:46 a.m.

    "EPA scientists have been told that their results and findings now may need to go through an internal vetting by the administration before their release to the public."

    Yes, this is scary. We understand it happens in China and Cuba, but America?

    But what scares me more is that there will be no small number of Americans who will fully support this. I never thought I would see the day when Americans could get so blinded by partisanship that they would allow this, let alone defend it.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Feb. 8, 2017 5:22 a.m.

    Trump is used to running a privately held corporation when he was able to dictate and control its public image. It's not a bad thing. But what he seems to be forgetting is he is now managing a public trust - where he is there to serve the public. Free flow of information is the cornerstone to that trust. I get not wanting to have negative or confusing communications coming out of the administration. It is a reasonable quest. But agencies like EPA, FDA, National Parks, etc need to have at least an image of independence of the political winds that blow through our country. We need to trust that the definition of "clean water" isn't dependent on the moods in the White House.

    Trump's need to appear as though he micromanages every nuance will be his downfall. His first military raid into Yemen ended in disaster. Trump will not be able to distance himself from things that go wrong or sideways - and they will - they do for even the best of Presidents.