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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dr. Aaron Carroll on "Repeal and Replace"

From The Incidental Economist. One of my many requisite stops. Always fine content there. Nice summary of the GOP alternative propositions, including those of the controversial and contentious Trump HHS Nominee Dr. Tom Price.

The health space blogosphere is on fire this week with anxious speculation over the fate of "ObamaCare." See my prior post on the topic.

Meanwhile, The Celebrity Apprentice Administration is off to a wild, disconcerting start.


I'm deep into this fine book.

Highly recommended, based on my study thus far. Interesting stuff therein on the intertwined topics of "big data" / "computational journalism." Relevant to health policy as well, given the new administration's reported week one federal agencies' gag orders.

My Pinterest Page characterization:
Among other things, an utter (albeit implicit, unintended) refutation of "Libertarianism," and concomitant validation of the ever-present Gresham's Dynamic risk.
There will be a nexus with these two books below, in addition to a number of other titles in my recent stash.

The new Trump administration is staffing up with Science Deniers at the cabinet level and taking early steps toward increased opacity.


What is the Scientists' March on Washington
Welcome! We want to thank you all for your incredible outpouring of support for this march. We are working to schedule a March for Science on DC and across the United States. We have not settled on a date yet but will do so as quickly as possible and announce it here.

Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics. Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is a non-partisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science. 

 There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable. An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.

 Please bear with us as pull together our mission statement and further details. Many more updates to come on Monday. 
Twitter: @ScienceMarchDC
Reddit: /r/scientistsmarch
Get Email Updates
To help:
Count me in.

For openers, concerned people minimally simply must closely read Shawn Otto's book "The War on Science." Reciting again the Amazon blurb:
"Wherever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government." But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society--from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense--we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based more on the demands of the most strident voices.

Shawn Otto’s compelling new book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons why evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise on both left and right, and provides some compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it's too late.
We now perhaps stand on at precipice of a destructive U.S. "Soviet Science 2.0 / Lyskenoism 2.0" that bodes ill for every aspect of the STEM space (and beyond) in our country.

Our Science Denier in Chief:
Is Anyone Actually a Scientist?
Forget the terrible “I’m not a scientist” schtick. Trump’s comments on climate change suggest no one is a scientist.

My favorite Trumpism is “nobody really knows.” He says it all the time. Did Russia interfere in the U.S. presidential election? “Nobody really knows.” How big is ISIS? “Nobody really knows.” Why did President George W. Bush invade Iraq? “Nobody really knows.” How can we identify potential terrorists? “Nobody really knows.” Most of the time, “nobody really knows” means Trump doesn’t want to, or isn’t prepared to, answer the question. (That’s why he says it so often.)

Climate change is different. “Nobody really knows” is simply Trump’s official position on global warming. It’s one of the rare times he uses his catchphrase offensively, rather than to get himself out of a jam. He doesn’t say it with a shrug and a casual toss of his hands. He leans in. To borrow a well-worn phrase from Trump supporter(ish) Donald Rumsfeld, Trump considers climate change a “known unknown“—the fact is that nobody knows about it...
I don't think we can overstate the risk here. Time to push back forcefully.

More to come...

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