• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A War on Science, Morals and Law

A new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists accuses Trump’s Interior Department of “relentless attacks on science ranging from suppressing and sidelining the work of the department’s scientists to systematically refusing to act on climate change.”

To put it mildly, this is concerning.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an advocacy group whose words are chosen to advance their viewpoint. They refer often to “science,” which we assume to be non ideological, universal, and true. In this sense, science is the highest guiding principle that all should follow, as it is in the best interest of our nation and planet.

In practice, the power dynamics and other social divisions within our society don’t go away when one does “science.”

Yale sociologist Justin Farrell points out that disputes over the management of nature can be more moral than scientific in nature. Science can tell us how many wolves or grizzly bears live in Wyoming, or how much habitat and genetic diversity they need to survive as a species. But the belief that humans should manage nature to preserve intact ecosystems is a moral one.

Economics and politics matter too, as we determine whose interests and opinions matter most.

What’s it worth to us to protect Bears Ears National Monument, which encompasses land sacred to Native Americans? To Native Americans and those who support them, the land is priceless. The mining industries can put a specific price tag on the minerals in the ground.

Whether it’s worth banning mining on land that is beautiful, ecologically valuable, and sacred to Native Americans is a moral question, not a scientific one.

That said, science is needed to help us make sound decisions that compromise between groups with competing values and interests. The government needs to produce, believe, and disseminate science that will allow it to act in the best interests of the American people, and to help the people hold the government accountable.

The Trump administration clearly isn’t doing that.

According to the LA Times, “Interior isn’t the only science agency that has been turned into a billboard for political and ideological propaganda. The Environmental Protection Agency has been similarly hollowed out, and the Department of Health and Human Services has all but abandoned its duty to advance Americans’ access to affordable healthcare.”

There’s another reason why we need solid science within the government: to enable the government to follow its own laws.

Trump’s administration is taking a see no evil, hear no evil approach. Without information about how a mining project might impact an endangered species, or human health, or water quality, they’re going to end up enabling projects that violate existing laws. Which is probably the point.

It’s understandable that some people disagree with our laws or don’t wish to follow them. However, we have a democratic process for changing those laws. When it comes to public safety regulations, industries and politicians have no business going around voters by suppressing the science needed to uphold the laws that protect them.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Jonah Raskin
Here’s Hoping
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
Jonathan Cook
Israel Prepares to Turn Bedouin Citizens into Refugees in Their Own Country
Stan Cox
Healing the Rift Between Political Reality and Ecological Reality
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail