Why is the Trump Administration often labeled as anti-science?

  • Is there any evidence that Trump and his administration are anti-science? And since when has the equation been drawn between conservatism and anti-science sentiment?

    Allegations (from, for example, Fox News and political commentators such as Ben Shapiro) indicate that the Science March of 2017 may be organized and promoted not by scientists, but by US left wing politics instead. According to these allegations, the left and progressives want to label the Trump administration as anti-science.

    I think you should ask such reputable sources as Fox News and Ben Shapiro, since nothing coming from the "March for science"(https://www.marchforscience.com/mission/) specifically targets Trump or the current administration. There has been some controversy about denial of human-caused climate change by some of the cabinet members, but that is the only thing I could think of and, again, it is not ever mentioned in the site of March for Science.

    Also from the website homepage: `On April 22, 2017, over 500 Marches **worldwide** stood up for science` (emphasis mine).

    This question is problematic. The title asks why Trump is labelled as anti-science but references sources who deny that he is and claim 'others' are making said claims. There is no reference to any claims that Trump is anti-science or any evidence of frequency.

    ...the fact that Trump does not care about global warming and even wants to remove US from international climate agreements...

    @EASI Climate agreements focus on climate change, not global warming. The main problem of climate agreements is that they seem to put more pressure on industrialized nations, while the whole developing world does nothing, and that is a bit unfair for the US and its taxpayers. To the Trump Administration that talks so much about "America First" it also certainly does not fit its agenda.

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    @SJuan76 To be fair though, the whole march for science materialized very quickly after Trump was elected. I don't recall there being any movement for something similar while Obama was in office. And while the organizers may claim its not a political event, it does seem that many of the people participating don't share that, and politics is a main motivator. Anecdotally, everyone that I knew that went was doing so specifically because Trump is president; they would not have felt the need if Clinton had won.

    This question should definitely present more examples of this alleged anti-science labelling.

    "Climate agreements focus on climate change, not global warming" -- this is simply false.

    "According to these allegations" -- it's the allegations that are political, made by ideologues and political operatives. If you're going to talk about allegations, you have an obligation to substantiate them. You ask a question about the Trump administration (one easily answered by anyone who bothers to do even minimal research), while inserting into the body some unsubstantiated charges.

    "Allegations ... indicate" -- allegations are just allegations; they don't indicate anything. "that the Science March of 2017 may be organized and promoted not by scientists" -- the problem with this allegation is that it's blatantly false, and is simply right wing blather, like talk about George Soros being behind everything.

    Most of the questions are about who's studies you are reading. But generally. Trump is coming out of business. And in business you can ignore all the science you want so long as that aligns with being profitable. Not to mention half the facts of the long accepted answer post fall apart as bullshit upon investigation. For instance. There was an inquiry on how many problems info extracted from torture helped. And it came back with 2 - rather pathetic ones. Where cost vs effect is insane. The creationism bit is a misrepresentation of the full article. And many other points with distorted context.

    Donald Trump and his administration have routinely told half-truths and untruths. They call those "alternative facts". This practice erodes the general public's perception regarding what is an objective fact. You can't be more anti-science than that.

    What do you mean by "Science March of 2017"? The March issue of the magazine *Science)*?

    I'm concerned about there being two different questions in here: one about whether the Trump administration is anti-science and another about a link between conservatism and anti-science policy.

    @PeterMortensen If you'd read through the comments you'd have gotten your answer, but the "march" - small m not big, refers to a protest of sorts, or more accurately, a march in support. It actually took place in April. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_for_Science (They had a march in April) - sorry, wanted to say that.

  • ohwilleke

    ohwilleke Correct answer

    4 years ago

    Evidence That Trump Is Anti-Science

    There is plenty of evidence that the Trump administration is anti-science. For example:

    • One of his first acts in office was to place a gag order on federal scientists reporting their results and removing their past scientific reports from government websites.

    • Trump denies empirical evidence that torture is not an effective interrogation method.

    • He appointed a Secretary of Education who thinks that schools funded with public dollars should teach Christian doctrine, something that has consistently involved rejection of evolution in favor of creationism.

    • He appointed a climate change denier as head of the EPA. More generally, his EPA appointee denies many well documented scientific links between pollution and public health harms.

    • He has proposed deep budget cuts to science funding in the National Institute of Health (NIH), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Energy (DOE), and directed funding away from Earth oriented climate research in the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).

    • He insists that vaccines are connected to autism.

    • He has appointed an attorney-general who has discontinued efforts to improve the accuracy of forensic science in criminal investigations to reduce wrongful convictions:

      Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers.

      In a statement Monday, Sessions said he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013.

    • His attorney-general has also supported empirically untrue statements about marijuana, for example, stating that heroin and marijuana are equally harmful.

    Evidence That Conservatives Are Anti-Science

    The connection between U.S. conservatives and the anti-science movement is real and is largely a product of the strong ties between U.S. conservative politics and Evangelical Christianity (see generally the links in this article on the topic).

    These ties started to develop when Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater adopted a Southern strategy, but Nixon established the EPA and Trump SCOTUS appointee Neil Gorsuch's mother lead that agency. The Evangelical merger with conservative Republican politics really took hold in the 1980s.

    There are particular points of contention including:

    Anti-Science Positions On The Left

    There are absolutely anti-science positions on the left as well as the right, although the claim that there are more than two human genders in nature is not one of them. Gender is a term different than sex, and incorporates not just biological anatomy or gender chromosomes but realities like sexual orientation and transgender identities, both of which exist and are probably congenital if not genetic.

    • The left tends to underplay the fact that there are meaningful sex differences both physically and psychologically.

    • The left tends to overstate the extent to which race lacks a biological component. While it is correct that definitions of race vary culturally and the meaning of race varies, it tends to ignore the obvious fact that sociological race is heavily correlated (in part due to history) with the geographic place of origin of one's ancestors and that geographic ancestry can be ascertained with genetics in an objective manner.

    • The left tends to have exaggerated perceptions of the environmental and safety risks of nuclear power and genetically modified organisms.

    • The left tends to have exaggerated perceptions of the benefits of organic agriculture and to understate the benefits of non-organic agriculture and GMOs in preventing world hunger.

    • The left tends to be unduly skeptical of the reality of IQ as a construct and of the extent to which IQ is hereditary.

    • Anti-vaccination sentiment is not unique to liberals or conservatives. (Of course, it is perfectly possible for more than one political party to share a particular anti-science opinion.)

    But, despite specific policy-driven instances, the political left, in general, tends to have much more trust in the scientific establishment and a more positive attitude towards science.

    Scientists and the Political Left Are Not Mutually Exclusive

    Many allegations (from, for example, Fox News and political commentators such as Ben Shapiro) indicate that the Science March of 2017 is organized and promoted not by scientists, but by US left wing politics instead.

    The notion that scientists and the US left-wing politics are exclusive of each other that this statement assumes, is false.

    Many scientists, either by happenstance or as a result of their experience as scientists are part of the political left in the U.S. and it is hardly crazy to think that the March on Science could be organized by people who are both scientists with wide backing in the scientific establishment and active in the political left in the U.S. with wide backing in that community.

    This is not to say that there are not any conservative scientists (although only 6% of scientists identify as Republican), by all means there are and indeed on most college campuses, the sciences tend to be relative "safe spaces" for conservatives among faculty and students alike. But, scientists are, for example, systemically less religious than non-scientists, and non-religious people are far more likely to lean left in their politics than right, although there are exceptions (e.g. noted blogger and conservative atheist Razib Khan).

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    Sources on the 'the left tends'?

    WRT scientists in general not being conservative, this is far too simplistic, because you have several distinct varieties of "conservative". As well as, of course, some distinct varieties that could be grouped as "liberal". Then there are people that are "conservative" on some things, say economics, but "liberal" on others like gay rights.

    As per the suggested edit, the bullet point `anti-vaccination sentiment` seems to be contradicted by the source you link. The link says: *"but it is definitely conservatives who are most opposed to mandatory vaccination"*. Perhaps you meant to phrase it differently?

    @JJJ Most conservatives are fine with voluntary vaccination; They are just opposed to mandatory things. It's wrong to label that as 'anti-vaccination sentiment'.

    Regarding, the new link to support that anti-vaccination sentiment isn't related to political preference. The link in question seems to be trying to find some correlation between election results and the rate of non-medical exemptions, that seems pretty far-fetched to me. Instead, I suggest looking at specific research into more than just correlation. An example: this paper (not perfect in terms of representative sample and big study) but it does conclude perception on this matter is related to political ideology.

    It would be nice if your "anti-science positions on the left" had as many citations as the one for conservatives.

    @AzorAhai The question was specific to the Trump administration while the commentary on the anti-science positions on the left provided just for framing and perspective and were otherwise off topic, which is why there were fewer citations.

    @John I think moreso he is equating non-scientists rejecting conclusions having broad consensus in the scientific community as being anti-science. It is true that scientists are wrong all the time. And in fact, skepticism is an important quality for a scientist to have. There is a difference though between skepticism and closed-mindedness. A person that willfully ignores overwhelming scientific evidence can fairly be characterized as rejecting science. A scientist saying "insufficient evidence exists to convince me of your conclusion" to another scientist is an entirely different thing.

    Re *"... unduly skeptical of the reality of IQ..."*: URL or link needed. SFAIK, IQ testing skepticism is especially well deserved; IQ's uncritical acceptance has had and continues to have catastropic results whenever its results are applied to politics.

    The point in this question about biological race and the left is misguided. This question comes up on Biology.SE fairly frequently, see https://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/14414/do-humans-have-enough-biological-differences-to-be-grouped-into-races-or-subspec as a common duplicate-target for those questions. In summary, categorization by race strongly overemphasizes minor genetic variation in genes involving things like skin color. Additionally, there is more genetic diversity in the content of Africa (as one would expect given humans originated there) than there is between "races".

    Additionally, the issue with sex differences and biology is misguided. While there are many significant differences between human sexes, the majority have very small effect sizes (exceptions include height, strength, and body composition, all of which are under fairly direct control by specific sex hormones), such that there is much more overlap between individual scores than there is difference between sexes. Recognizing these key facts in the data is not an 'anti-science' position.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM