Vote for Science

Synapse 15: A look at each candidate's views on science

If you’re subscribed to this newsletter, you are likely to support science and its role in our society. So, in light of the rapidly approaching upcoming 2020 election, let’s take a look at what each of the major U.S. presidential candidates has said with regard to science.

Donald J. Trump

Multiple reputable scientific sources including Nature, New Scientist, and Science Mag have written exhaustively about President Trump’s denial of science. On climate change, Mr. Trump pulled the U.S. from the Paris Agreement and rolled back many of the Obama-era eco-friendly industry regulations. On Twitter, Mr. Trump has claimed that climate change is a Chinese fabrication:

Mr. Trump falsely claimed that wind farms harm our health:

On the issue of public health, Mr. Trump has even endorsed the ridiculous claim that vaccines cause autism:

I could keep going and the list goes on and on. The denial of a scientific claim is not in itself a bad thing. A critical part of science is a debate over evidence and its interpretation. But nothing I have seen from Mr. Trump makes it seem like he willing to look at both sides of the evidence and change his mind. For this reason, I have to believe that Mr. Trump trusts his own intuitions and ideologies more than evidence-based facts.

Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In contrast to Mr. Trump, multiple reputable scientific institutions have endorsed Joe Biden for the presidency. Joe Biden has repeatedly indicated respect for science and evidence. On climate change, Mr. Biden plans to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and believes it is the “number one issue facing humanity.”

Joe Biden has plans to invigorate foreign scientific collaboration and make it easier for foreign scientists and engineers who graduate with PhDs to permanently stay in the United States. In the past, Mr. Biden has shown great interest in cancer research and promises to “cure cancer” on his watch as president. Of course, cancer is not just one disease, and finding a cure for all of them is going to take decades, but I think we can agree that more cancer research is not a bad thing.

I should note that some have used Mr. Biden’s stance on life at conception, gender, and economic principles as reasons for his “denial of science.” Regardless, the evidence clearly points to Mr. Biden as the candidate who respects and supports science.

Conclusion

In reading what I have presented, you should of course know about my bias. I am a budding scientist and, like anyone, am willing to fight for my industry. Science is likely not the most important issue in your mind as you cast your ballot. Yet the official opinion of the Synapse Newsletter is that science is a good thing and deserves to be respected and taken seriously if done rigorously. If you believe the same, then I urge you to take these facts into consideration as you vote.

🇺🇸 Political Coverage

In the last few weeks, I have written about a couple of neuroscientific phenomena behind our political life because it is particularly topical right now. I wrote about substituting our opinions for our identities and the problem with categorical thinking. If you missed either, check them out and I will be back next week with more interesting neuroscientific topics.

⚡️P.S. If you're new here and want to read more of the Synapse Newsletter each Sunday, subscribe below!⚡️