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Too Many Democrats Spoil the Science?

A recent Slate article says that there are too many Democrats in science. Democrats found themselves in a unique position during the Bush administration and were able to "score political points" by accusing Bush of being "anti-science," says Slate's Daniel Sarewitz. Now they're convinced that anyone who disagrees with them on issues like climate change is "fundamentally irrational," he adds. Meanwhile, Republicans say that mainstream science has become corrupted by political ideology and gravitates towards fringe scientists, Sarewitz says.

In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe says Sarewitz's conclusion is "reasonable ... if you're the sort of person who thinks about politics all the time." But not everyone does. Politics is one way people view the world, and an easy way to keep tabs on which side is scoring points, but how much of that goes on in labs? If you're talking about a politically-driven topic like climate change, then Sarewitz may have a point, but, "it's hard to fit disagreements over dark matter or RNA's role in early life forms into a left/right framework, much less intramural spats like the structure of the norbornyl cation, the usefulness of total synthesis, or how much palladium you really need to do a metal-catalyzed coupling," Lowe says.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.