As an interdisciplinary conservation scientist, I spent a lot of time thinking about the proper role of science in advising and informing government decisionmaking. While scientists don’t know everything and science can’t solve every problem, relying on expertise and evidence to inform decisionmaking generally results in better outcomes than just making up nonsense. When science and expertise is ignored, marginalized, or mocked, when experts are threatened rather than listened to, well…. *gestures around at the current state of the country after the last four years*. Read more >
February 22, 2021 2:44 PM EDT
January 27, 2021 4:29 PM EDT
Today, the Biden Administration releases a presidential memo on scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking, setting the stage for the administration’s efforts to build back from the Trump administration’s unprecedented assault on science and strengthen protections for science and scientists across the government. This is big and it puts science on the agenda like never before. Here’s my take on today’s bold actions and what we should watch in the coming months and years. Read more >
November 9, 2020 1:31 PM EDT
I have studied science used and misused by US presidents for a decade, but the Trump era kicked that work to a new level. In less than four years, we have logged more than 160 attacks on science (and counting)—more than any other president in the last seven decades. From ignoring evidence of harm to gagging federal scientists to suppressing inconvenient science, the administration has disrespected the crucial role that science and technical experts have long played across the government, under both parties, to protect public health, safety, and the environment. Now we must rebuild and build better at the same time. Read more >
October 13, 2020 2:17 PM EDT
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists just did something pretty awesome – they stood up to bullying and won. And their win could be a key event in safeguarding the development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in the US.
September 16, 2020 9:00 AM EDT
One of the most devastating lessons we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is that when science is sidelined by the government, people pay for it with their lives. As we approach 200,000 people dead due to the novel coronavirus in the US, along with millions of sick and hospitalized, it is the responsibility of all of us to encourage our government representatives to restore the role of science in policymaking during the pandemic and beyond.