Defend Scientific Integrity

Congress

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Over the past year, we’ve watched a steady stream of anti-science policies passed in the U.S. both on a federal and state level. Actions ranging from withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement to pulling funding from comprehensive sexual health education programs to barring researchers from publicly communicating their science have become stunningly routine, even expected.  Science advocates are a diverse group - we come from all backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, races, ethnicities, abilities, disciplines, and professions - and, united, we can take a stand for science and send a clear message: we demand science and will not be silent.

At the same time, the current presidential administration and Congress have consistently placed individuals with little to no science background - and, still worse, people who actively reject the scientific consensus on important scientific issues like climate change - in critical science leadership and advisory roles.  A year into this administration, not only do many critical roles remain unfilled, but others that have been filled are largely held by unqualified individuals who have failed to demonstrate a reasonable grasp of science issues, the strength of scientific consensus, and the function of the scientific method.

Evidence-based policies are our best chance to approach the world's complex and evolving challenges. Scientific integrity - the application of scientific knowledge, independence of the scientific enterprise, and incorporating the insights of scientific experts - is needed at all levels of government. Science must be transparent and freely communicated - we cannot hold our elected and appointed officials accountable if we do not hold an open conversation on the evidence behind policy decisions.

In 2018, we join together as science advocates to ask that President Trump prioritize appointing individuals with the appropriate level of science training and experience to critical science roles in our government. We ask that he preserve vital science roles in our government and give agencies the support they need to fill vacant positions. As part of this process, we demand that Congress thoroughly examine the scientific background and qualifications of each candidate proposed for science leadership. During the course of confirmation and vetting, our elected officials must evaluate each nominee’s understanding of, and commitment to, the scientific method and scientific consensus. When confirmation votes arrive, we urge our Congressional leaders to cast their votes for science. We ask the same commitment to scientific integrity and leadership from our state and local officials.

Further, we ask that the directors of all science agencies - current and future -  commit to ensuring that their staff and advisory boards are knowledgeable and equipped to make the science decisions that dictate our present and future.


References:

Federal science leadership tracker

The art of science advice to government

Trump Science Job Nominees Missing Advanced Degrees

Trump taps climate skeptic for top White House environmental post

Sidelining Science Since Day One

Sessions orders Justice Department to end forensic science commission

Scott Pruitt just stripped the EPA’s Science Boards in favor of ‘industry’ counsel


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New York, NY

To: Congress
From: [Your Name]

We join together as science advocates to ask that President Trump prioritize appointing individuals with the appropriate level of science training and experience to critical science roles in our government and that he preserve existing scientific advisory roles in the federal government.

As part of this process, we ask that Congress thoroughly examine the scientific background and qualifications of each candidate proposed for science leadership. During the course of confirmation and vetting, our elected officials must evaluate each nominee’s understanding of, and commitment to, the scientific method and scientific consensus. When confirmation votes arrive, we urge our Congressional leaders to cast their votes for science. We expect the same commitment to scientific integrity and leadership from our state and local officials.

As our elected leaders, we ask that when you consider and craft policies, you uphold the scientific integrity our democracy requires. Please commit to to applying scientific knowledge, upholding the independence of the scientific enterprise, promoting freely communicated science, and consulting scientific experts. Science is a pivotal part of our democracy and evidence-based policies are our best hope for the future.

Further, we ask that the directors of all science agencies - current and future - commit to ensuring that their staff and advisory boards are knowledgeable and equipped to advise on the science decisions that dictate our present and future

Thank you,