Commentary: Diagnosed with cancer, I have decided to treat it by eating only blueberries – and chanting the Buddha's name. My nephew's doctor says his leukemia needs to be treated with focused radiation, but we vetoed that because we all get too much radiation from cell-phones. I've decided that my company should save printing and advertising money by relying solely on prayer. Wanna invest? Ah, c'mon!
Those statements sound like the U.S. Government, which seems at war with science. Most decisions are made on one intemperate individual's whims, except when rich folks, white supremacists, and/or fundamentalist Christians influence him, often through Fox.
Climate scientists are unanimous that climate change is real and imminent, and that human activities are a major factor. International organizations so report. U.S. agencies so report, so persistently that Mr. Trump plans to silence them. The U.S. Army considers climate change a serious security problem. The City of Miami is wondering how long its water supply can withstand the influx of salt water from rising seas. Some coastal cities are planning somehow to move inland. Highway 37 in the Sam Francisco Bay Area is often under water.
But Mr. Trump does not believe in climate change. Climate change is inconvenient.
Most of the world also understands that we are experiencing a “mass extinction event.” Human activities have eradicated a million species. Per the U.N., biodiversity is declining at an “unprecedented pace,” with one-eighth of Earth's plants and animals in danger of extinction. Mr. Trump is eliminating as fast as possible U.S. protections for endangered species. Who needs 'em? Birds crap on cars, bees sting people, so good riddance! Worrying about this stuff is bad for business.
The National Institute of Health has many programs using or experimenting with stem cells. There are people alive and healthy today, who would not be alive and well if not for stem-cell therapies. Mr. Trump is eliminating those too: programs will be ended when current contracts are up, and any further work will involve passing some sort of “ethics review” that will likely be conducted by people who apparently feel that such research is going to encourage loose women to have abortions.
Many people get shot to death, some in mass shootings. The Center for Disease Control views that as a health issue. (Death is sort of related to health. It's hard to stay healthy when you're dead, or paralyzed.) Well, that subject offends the holy NRA, so we won't even let the scientists seek answers we'd rather ignore.
The folks so desperate to prevent abortion seem also to oppose readily available birth control and sex education. No one's yet managed to explain that one to me.
Coal pollutes badly and is uneconomical; but Mr. Trump is going to rescue that industry, as if it were a damsel in distress.
Scientific truths, unless they're clearly useful to business, seem almost like so many red capes Mr. Trump cannot but charge when he sees them. But stifling science won't help us compete in the world.
Trump didn't start the assault on inconvenient scientific facts. When the scientific consensus on cigarette smoking and nuclear power proved inconvenient, corporations and politicians manufactured “doubt” to justify inaction. Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would be appalled. Gallileo might find all this quite familiar.
If you think blueberries, Buddha, and prayer sound foolish as cures, now you know how most of the world regards our country these days.