Science not trumpeted by US administration
THE head of the world's largest general science organisation has accused the Trump administration of paying "scant attention” to research and lacking understanding of scientific thinking.
American Association for the Advancement of Science chief executive Dr Rush Holt pointed to the "great slowness” in appointing people with a scientific background to senior positions.
He said scientists had "not been at the table for most of the policy discussions”.
Donald Trump has dismissed climate change as a "hoax”, but Dr Holt says the problems are much more widespread, encompassing a range of issues from public health to the military.
He was speaking amid controversy over the US Department of Interior's decision to halt a $1m study into the effects of "mountain-top” coal mining on the health of people living nearby.
Mr Trump has spoken repeatedly about his desire to reinvigorate the ailing US coal industry.
In an outspoken editorial, the prestigious journal Nature said the decision suggested the Trump administration might cancel other scientific studies it did not like in "another blow for science and for academic freedom”.
Marches for science were held in the US and other cities around the world in April because of concerns over Mr Trump's attitudes towards climate change and hard evidence generally.
And, in an interview, Dr Holt told The Independent there had been little sign of improvement.
"Within the administration, there's scant attention paid to science, to the scientific way of thinking, to the support for science, not in policy and not in funding,” he said.
He said this applied to issues such as public health, social welfare programmes, immigration discussions and "even security and military matters”.