EDITORIAL

Stick to science

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Science  10 Jan 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6474, pp. 125
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba7714

Summary

“Just stick to science.” This is a common admonition that Science receives when we publish commentaries and news stories on policies that readers disagree with (rather, we should “stay in our lane” and focus on research). It turns out that “stick to science” is a tired-but-very-much-still-alive political talking point used to suppress scientific advice and expertise. According to a recent issue of The Washington Post, “stick to science” is what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator said in chastising and silencing its own Scientific Advisory Board, of which two-thirds of the members were appointed by the current administration. The EPA is planning to pat these folks on the head while the administration does what suits its political goals. Sadly, this pattern is not new—the administration declares something outrageous, goes through the motions of consulting scientists, and then does the outrageous thing, regardless. The scientific community should not let this cycle continue because facts that have stood up to, in some cases, years of scrutiny are being suppressed in the service of politics.

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