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The Science and Policy Connection

The US is backing away from scientific inquiry and the benefits it brings, writes Arizona State University's Lawrence Krauss at Slate.

He argues that three recent news stories highlight the relinquishment of scientific prowess by the US. First, President Donald Trump appointed Sam Clovis, a former economics professor and radio host, to the top science post at the Department of Agriculture. The spot has traditionally been held by someone with advance degrees in science or medicine, which Clovis does not have, according to the Washington Post. Secondly, Joel Clement, who directed the office of policy analysis at the Department of the Interior, has written in an op-ed, also in the Post, that he was reassigned to an accounting position after speaking out about how climate change will affect Alaska Native communities. Lastly, Krauss points to an announcement by China, covered by the New York Times, that it plans to build out an artificial intelligence industry worth some $150 billion by 2030, while the US has made cuts to that area.

All of this, Krauss says, reflects an "insidious and worrisome trend" in the US that will "affect the health and welfare of the country a generation from now."

"Good science is the basis of good public policy. We ignore that connection at our peril," he adds.