Scientists and unscientists in the wake of Trump's victory
When one thinks of scientists, one tends to picture solemn men and women in white laboratory coats, dispassionately seeking facts, wherever the objective evidence may lead. Sadly, however, it seems that even science writers are subject to emotional, irrational outbursts of hysteria based on nothing but their political biases.
Recently, science writer Shawn Otto, referenced by Scientific American magazine, illogically attempted to vilify Americans who question the extraordinary and unproven claims about global warming – or global cooling, since the so-called science seems to flip from one description to the other, depending on the fad of the moment.
A new commentary by Jeff Tollefson, Lauren Morello, and Sara Reardon, meanwhile, is nothing short of hysterical psychobabble masquerading as science reporting.
"Trump will be the first anti-science president we have ever had," says Michael Lubell, director of public affairs for the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C., in Nature. "The consequences are going to be very, very severe."
Oh, my. The consequences will be not notable, not merely serious, but severe. Severe! It's not just that "Trump has questioned the science underlying climate change," and not just that "he has offered few details on policies for biomedical research," but, horror of horrors:
Trump's hard-line positions on immigration – including a pledge to bar Muslims from entering the United States, and a plan to build a wall along the US border with Mexico – have worried research advocates who say such stances could dissuade talented foreign scientists from working or studying at US institutions.
"I think at the very least it would put a chilling effect on the interest of scientists from other countries in coming here," says Kevin Wilson[.]
... Some researchers are already thinking about leaving the United States in the wake of the election[.]
What will we do? It's bad enough that our movie stars, rap artists, and other icons of cultural vulgarity are threatening to leave the United States – but now we face the specter of losing researchers who refer to actual scientific skeptics in terms used to describe Nazi deniers of the Holocaust.
It seems that we have entered a scientific Dark Age in which we who refuse to accept without question the dictates of the self-anointed priesthood of pseudoscience will be consigned to the dungeons – or am I being unscientifically hysterical?
If such unscientists are threatening to leave the U.S., my only question is, how do we help to buy them their one-way tickets?