Since my review of the presidential candidates’ positions on science issues earlier in the week, I have seen a number of efforts by other scientists to warn the scientific community and the public that Donald Trump stands out as the most egregiously and consistently anti-science candidate in this year’s election.
One effort is an open letter authored by a number of prominent scientists, including Harriett Hall and Steven Novella, two prominent skeptics and authors of the Science-Based Medicine Blog:
As members of the scientific community, we invite our colleagues to stand together in making it clear that Donald Trump’s views on many pressing topics are at odds with scientific reality and represent a dangerous rejection of scientific thinking.
There should be no place for this kind of rhetoric – or this kind of attitude toward expertise itself – in the halls of government.
As a community, we affirm the values that make us who we are: curiosity, skepticism, integrity, and simple adherence to the facts.
Vaccines save lives every day, but Mr. Trump has stoked discredited fears about vaccines and autism and accused doctors of lying to people about them.
Every major country on Earth is adapting to a changing climate and reducing emissions from fossil fuels, but Mr. Trump has claimed it is a hoax, a statement that prompted a response from hundreds of members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the country’s leading scientific advisory body.
Mr. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, has a similarly disconcerting record:
He also dismisses the evidence that climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels.
He delivered a speech to the House of Representatives challenging the teaching of evolutionary science in classrooms based on a misreading of how evolution works.
Nearly 40 years after the Surgeon General first warned us about the dangers of smoking, Pence claimed that “smoking doesn’t kill” and said there was no direct link between smoking and lung disease.
These are not the words and thoughts of responsible leaders.
The letter currently has 712 signatures, including mine.
Another open letter signed by 375 members of the National Academy of Sciences warns of the dangers of denial of human-caused climate change and of a refusal to participate in international efforts to combat it, both positions embraced by Donald Trump and rejected by all of the other candidates:
Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality.
During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control. Such claims are inconsistent with reality.
The political system also has tipping points. Thus it is of great concern that the Republican nominee for President has advocated U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord. A “Parexit” would send a clear signal to the rest of the world: “The United States does not care about the global problem of human-caused climate change. You are on your own.” Such a decision would make it far more difficult to develop effective global strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change.