Top Scientist Reminds Republicans That "Science Is Not A Political Construct"

US Congress by moonlight. Eugene Moerman/Shutterstock

Just in case you aren’t aware, there’s something in America called the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (CSST). Among other things, its job is to decide much of America’s scientific research policy, from NASA to the United States Geological Survey.

It has also for some time now been controlled by a collection of Republican lawmakers, most of which do not seem to think climate change exists, that pollution is really a thing, or that protecting the environment is a worthwhile endeavor.

Just this week, the CSST had a meeting entitled “Making EPA Great Again”, which gives a little hint as to the bias they have against the Environmental Protection Agency – a federal organization that has been threatened with censorship, funding cuts, and even its complete abolition.

“Witnesses will discuss how EPA can pursue environmental protection and protect public health by relying on sound science,” a description of the meeting reads. The implication, of course, is that the EPA currently is not using sound science – except, of course, it is.

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It’s not the science that GOP lawmakers tend to like, however, which is why they spent a good length of time at the gathering talking to a lawyer for coal industries, a chemical industry lobbyist, and an academic who once accused the EPA of engaging in a form of terrorism.

All in all, it was a proverbial shit show, at least on the part of the GOP members present. However, there was one exception to this – Dr. Rush Holt, a physicist and the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest nonprofit general scientific society.

“Science is not a political construct or a belief system,” he told the gathering of lawmakers. Noting that it teaches “humility in the face of evidence,” Holt added that “when one’s cherished beliefs, partisan ideologies, and wishful thinking have turned out to be wanting, the scientific evidence is likely to remain.”

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In a thinly-veiled attack on the GOP committee members, he underscored that “policymakers should never dictate the conclusions of a scientific study.”

“Without respect for evidence, and by extension evidence-based policymaking, our country’s future, and indeed all of humanity's future, becomes dangerously compromised.”

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