When Politicians Cherry-Pick Data And Disregard Facts, What Should We Academics Do?

Advocating for facts and evidence at the March for Science in California earlier this year. Matthew Roth/flickr, CC BY-NC

Kristy Hamilton 15 Jun 2017, 15:31

Standing up for scientific integrity

I have long advocated for greater public engagement from academics. But how do we bring scientific literacy to the realm of policy-making? We begin by being authentic in local, regional and global arenas. Surveys in both 2013 and 2016 show that only one in three Americans discusses global warming with friends or family. If that number is to ever approach 100 percent, academic scholars must lead the way, whether that be in small gatherings, town hall meetings, local schools, newspaper editorials and publications (like The Conversation), public protests, government testimony and of course the classroom.

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Computer scientist Patrick Madden is running for Congress because ‘in Washington, there’s an all out attack on the very idea of facts, and on anyone who tells the truth.’ Patrick Madden for Congress

At the extreme, some, like Dr. Patrick Madden, have decided to run for office.

We cannot wait until our particular science is under threat, as some MIT scientists had to do when President Trump misused their climate data in his speech as well. We must stand up for all science and the integrity of the scientific process now.

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