James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, once uttered: “Knowledge
will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”
That was two centuries ago. Today, learned leaders of our states and nation appear intent to arm the governed with ignorance. Sadly, there are a great number of Americans willing to feel empowered by eschewing knowledge.
Fake news and alternative facts? The only variable should be one’s opinion regarding the facts, not reality itself.
Yet because of the assault on basic information, we find marches and demonstrations taking place around the globe in favor of science.
As a nation, we should be horrified the scientific community feels compelled to take to the streets.
But when our 45th president, Donald Trump, continues to assert climate change is a hoax, there is cause for alarm.
When the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, denies climate change is real and that carbon dioxide is not the primary driver of global warming, there is cause for alarm.
When Vice President Mike Pence claims human evolution is merely a theory and should be taught that way, there is cause for alarm.
When Ben Carson, a doctor who heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development, says childhood immunizations are unnecessary, there is cause for alarm.
When the White House eliminates references to climate change from its official website and attempts to gut funding for the National Institutes of Health, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the EPA, the scientific community starts mobilizing publicly.
It’s an unfortunate necessity. And perhaps it is having results, as Congress overwhelmingly rejected Trump’s first budget proposal and left scientific funding in place.
But the battle needs to be continued both in Washington, D.C., and in state capitals around the country where legislatures are passing bills rejecting the science of climate change and evolution.
We must insist that science remain intact, whether we believe it or not.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry