Scientists Are Running For Congress Because "The Future Hangs In The Balance"

Nonprofit political action committee 314 Action is sending scientists to Washington. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

They’re nothing less than real life superheroes, and 314 wants to showcase them to the voting public. Morrow stressed to us, however, that the last thing they want to do is take a scientist and make him or her “look like a typical Washington D.C. politician.”

“We want their authenticity to remain intact.”

Run and advised by a mixture of academics, including Michael “Hockey Stick” Mann, this is no mere protest group. Former political operators have joined the cause, whose mission is to train up willing scientists to become savvy, charismatic leaders-in-waiting.

The behavior of anti-scientific politicians, particularly when it comes to abusing and warping scientific information, is “insane,” according to Naughton. “They’ve been encouraged by the Trump election to do and say more ridiculous things. We cannot accept this any longer.”

A lot of concern over the March For Science was that it was getting too political, and that science should be non-partisan. 314 would argue that the times are changing, and that the direct threat to both science and science communication from the Trump administration is too extreme to just sit by and let it happen.

“Science is pure, and politics is dirty. That’s been the mantra for ages,” Naughton tells us. “But what politicians have shown us – the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology in particular – is that they are unafraid to meddle in science.”

This particularly influential Committee is currently dominated by GOP politicians, many of which are heavily funded by fossil fuel industries. As you might expect, these lawmakers like the idea that climate change is a hoax. They often tweet Breitbart articles to back up their assertions.

Jason Westin, a cancer researcher running for Congress, along with his family. Westin for Congress

They often hold meetings where three or four climate deniers ramble on about this great conspiracy by NASA et al., before getting their single, token respectable researcher to actually tell them the truth of the matter – which they then ignore, of course.

“The GOP has done a fantastic job of conflating scientific consensus with propaganda from the fossil fuel industry,” Naughton explains. “If you look at who primarily funds the GOP, it’s not hard to understand why this happens.”

Morrow tells us that they’ve highlighted three particularly offensive members of the science committee – Knight, Lamar and Rohrabacher.

None of these three GOP lawmakers are scientists, by the way – not by a long shot. “Rohrabacher, the number three on that committee, once said that climate change was started by dinosaur farts,” Morrow notes, not incorrectly.

“Our goal is to target these members and get them off the Committee. We’re focusing a lot of energy and time on these three districts.”

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