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Scorn for Science

In an editorial, the editors of Scientific American bemoan the increasing lack of respect politicians in the US have for science. They add, though, that the current presidential race takes that lack of respect a step further.

Members of both political parties have exhibited opposition to science — members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have habitually "meddl[ed] in petty science-funding matters to score political points," they say — and science has often taken a backseat in political and policy debates. But, they argue that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's comments on global warming, the EPA, and vaccines go beyond that.

"Donald Trump also has shown an authoritarian tendency to base policy arguments on questionable assertions of fact and a cult of personality," they write.

They add that this lack of respect for science is also a drifting away from American ideals. "When the founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, scientist and inventor, wrote arguably the most important line in the Declaration of Independence — 'We hold these truths to be self-evident' — they were asserting the fledgling nation's grounding in the primacy of reason based on evidence," the editors of Scientific American write.