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I am a scientist. I rely on research to guide my understanding of the world. A single study is suggestive and provides a bit of evidence that demands replication and expansion. In science, theories are espoused and then are tested and retested and either supported or refuted. New theories arise and they, too, are tested by solid research. I am not one of those sticklers who believe that one type of research is right and all others are wrong. As a scientist, I take what I can learn from all scientific research and integrate it into my worldview.

I am at a loss to explain how certain politicians and others can assert otherwise. On March 9th, Scott Pruitt, the “temporary” head of the Environmental Protection Agency (I say temporary since the administration's stated goal is to disband the entire agency) claimed that he did not believe that carbon dioxide is the primary driving force behind global warming. When asked about this belief Pruitt said the following:

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

There is not tremendous disagreement at all. Nearly every reputable scientific study supports the idea of CO2 driving our warming trend that has seen each year eclipse the last as the hottest year on record.

Sadly, Scott Pruitt is not the only Trump cabinet member to deny scientific proof. Rex Tillerson, Tom Price, Rick Perry and others have all made solid statements (many of which came during confirmation hearings) that scientific facts are not facts but suggestions to be measured on the same level as beliefs. Their statements allude to their conviction that beliefs (and often religious beliefs) are more important than scientific studies. Science clearly demonstrates that decisions we make about the environment impact our health. A variety of cabinet members and Trump insiders have denied the evidence. Some suggest that vaccines cause autism; science says NO. Some say fracking does not harm the environment; science says IT DOES. And this touches nearly every topic discussed by the new administration.

I am a scientist.

  • I am afraid for our world that our leaders don’t believe in science.
  • I am afraid that our children and grandchildren will all need to wear gas masks to combat the impact of pulling out of climate change accords and the loosening of all forms of legal obstacles to ruining our environment.
  • I am afraid that whole species of fish may become extinct due to the rising water temperatures.
  • I am afraid that even though the science shows that WE are causing the polar ice caps to melt our leaders are not only doing nothing about it but actively working against efforts to halt global warming.

I AM A SCIENTIST AND I AM AFRAID THAT SCIENCE IS BEING “TRUMPED” BY BELIEFS. I WILL CONTINUE TO RELY ON SCIENCE. IT IS THE ONLY ROAD THAT CLEARLY LEADS TO UNDERSTANDING AND PRESERVING OUR WORLD.

About the Author

Larry Rosen

Larry Rosen, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills and the author of Rewired.

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