The ongoing war on science has received reinforcements. Government has joined with industry to suppress facts in the name of commerce. In this so-called post-fact era when an unknown percentage of the information we receive is fake news, they are openly suppressing anything that might threaten to counter their version of reality. The Canadian government did it a few years ago — see this post — telling our scientists that they couldn’t report their findings without first having them approved. Now the US is doing it, in part by putting people in charge of scientific institutions who are actively hostile to their goals. They have been waging this war for a long time — think tobacco — and they’re very good at it. They know how to get people to believe what they’re saying, and when they can’t do that, they know how to make them doubt the truth. Scientists, and others who believe in following the facts rather than making them up, are beginning to see that simply making the facts available isn’t enough. The noble assumption that the truth will win simply because it’s true is being shouted down. They need to stand up and come to the defense of science, which is under threats not seen in a long time.
The linked article does a very good job of identifying the problems, and of suggesting solutions to them.
The systematic use of so-called “uncertainty” surrounding well-established scientific ideas has proven to be a reliable method for manipulating public perception and stalling political action. And while certain private interests and their political allies may benefit from these tactics, the damages are something we will all have to face.
The reality is that science touches everything we do, and everyone we love, which is why the War on Science is so deadly serious.
They suggest five approaches that can counter these ongoing attacks. Some of them are well outside the normal comfort zone of scientists, but they are learning that they need to take action. Here are the five steps.
1. Portray an Inclusive Vision
2. Do Get Political
3. Don’t Fall into the “Culture War” Trap
4. Balance Facts with Meaningful Stories
5. Be Forceful
See the linked article for details.