EDITORIAL

March for science

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Science  07 Apr 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6333, pp. 7
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan3466

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Summary

In Frank Capra's seasonal classic It's a Wonderful Life, the main character, George Bailey, wishes he had never been born and is then transported to a version of his world where all traces of his existence have been removed. This world is much different—darker and less enlightened. Distressingly, the United States is now filled with echoes of George Bailey's nightmare. It seems that some people are dismissive of the beneficial effects of evidence-based approaches on our lives. Available evidence, even when quite substantial, is ignored or minimized. Non–evidence-based approaches are treated as equally likely as evidence-based ones to lead to factually correct, robust results. The federal budget proposal recently released by President Trump's administration includes draconian cuts for almost all research agencies. If implemented, these cuts will severely damage the U.S. scientific enterprise for years to come. Based on history, this path is likely to lead to decreased long-term technological innovation as well as poorly conceived public policy.