Is there any evidence that Trump and his administration are anti-science? And since when has the equation been drawn between conservatism and anti-science sentiment?

Allegations (from, for example, Fox News and political commentators such as Ben Shapiro) indicate that the Science March of 2017 may be organized and promoted not by scientists, but by US left wing politics instead. According to these allegations, the left and progressives want to label the Trump administration as anti-science.

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    I think you should ask such reputable sources as Fox News and Ben Shapiro, since nothing coming from the "March for science"(marchforscience.com/mission) specifically targets Trump or the current administration. There has been some controversy about denial of human-caused climate change by some of the cabinet members, but that is the only thing I could think of and, again, it is not ever mentioned in the site of March for Science.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 17:32
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    Also from the website homepage: On April 22, 2017, over 500 Marches **worldwide** stood up for science (emphasis mine).
    – SJuan76
    Commented Apr 23, 2017 at 17:42
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    This question is problematic. The title asks why Trump is labelled as anti-science but references sources who deny that he is and claim 'others' are making said claims. There is no reference to any claims that Trump is anti-science or any evidence of frequency.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 16:42
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    ...the fact that Trump does not care about global warming and even wants to remove US from international climate agreements...
    – NaN
    Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 16:59
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    @EASI Climate agreements focus on climate change, not global warming. The main problem of climate agreements is that they seem to put more pressure on industrialized nations, while the whole developing world does nothing, and that is a bit unfair for the US and its taxpayers. To the Trump Administration that talks so much about "America First" it also certainly does not fit its agenda. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


Evidence That Trump Is Anti-Science

There is plenty of evidence that the Trump administration is anti-science. For example:

  • One of his first acts in office was to place a gag order on federal scientists reporting their results and removing their past scientific reports from government websites.

  • Trump denies empirical evidence that torture is not an effective interrogation method.

  • He appointed a Secretary of Education who thinks that schools funded with public dollars should teach Christian doctrine, something that has consistently involved rejection of evolution in favor of creationism.

  • He appointed a climate change denier as head of the EPA. More generally, his EPA appointee denies many well documented scientific links between pollution and public health harms.

  • He has proposed deep budget cuts to science funding in the National Institute of Health (NIH), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Energy (DOE), and directed funding away from Earth oriented climate research in the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA).

  • He insists that vaccines are connected to autism.

  • He has appointed an attorney-general who has discontinued efforts to improve the accuracy of forensic science in criminal investigations to reduce wrongful convictions:

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions will end a Justice Department partnership with independent scientists to raise forensic science standards and has suspended an expanded review of FBI testimony across several techniques that have come under question, saying a new strategy will be set by an in-house team of law enforcement advisers.

    In a statement Monday, Sessions said he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a roughly 30-member advisory panel of scientists, judges, crime lab leaders, prosecutors and defense lawyers chartered by the Obama administration in 2013.

  • His attorney-general has also supported empirically untrue statements about marijuana, for example, stating that heroin and marijuana are equally harmful.

Evidence That Conservatives Are Anti-Science

The connection between U.S. conservatives and the anti-science movement is real and is largely a product of the strong ties between U.S. conservative politics and Evangelical Christianity (see generally the links in this article on the topic).

These ties started to develop when Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater adopted a Southern strategy, but Nixon established the EPA and Trump SCOTUS appointee Neil Gorsuch's mother lead that agency. The Evangelical merger with conservative Republican politics really took hold in the 1980s.

There are particular points of contention including:

Anti-Science Positions On The Left

There are absolutely anti-science positions on the left as well as the right, although the claim that there are more than two human genders in nature is not one of them. Gender is a term different than sex, and incorporates not just biological anatomy or gender chromosomes but realities like sexual orientation and transgender identities, both of which exist and are probably congenital if not genetic.

  • The left tends to underplay the fact that there are meaningful sex differences both physically and psychologically.

  • The left tends to overstate the extent to which race lacks a biological component. While it is correct that definitions of race vary culturally and the meaning of race varies, it tends to ignore the obvious fact that sociological race is heavily correlated (in part due to history) with the geographic place of origin of one's ancestors and that geographic ancestry can be ascertained with genetics in an objective manner.

  • The left tends to have exaggerated perceptions of the environmental and safety risks of nuclear power and genetically modified organisms.

  • The left tends to have exaggerated perceptions of the benefits of organic agriculture and to understate the benefits of non-organic agriculture and GMOs in preventing world hunger.

  • The left tends to be unduly skeptical of the reality of IQ as a construct and of the extent to which IQ is hereditary.

  • Anti-vaccination sentiment is not unique to liberals or conservatives. (Of course, it is perfectly possible for more than one political party to share a particular anti-science opinion.)

But, despite specific policy-driven instances, the political left, in general, tends to have much more trust in the scientific establishment and a more positive attitude towards science.

Scientists and the Political Left Are Not Mutually Exclusive

Many allegations (from, for example, Fox News and political commentators such as Ben Shapiro) indicate that the Science March of 2017 is organized and promoted not by scientists, but by US left wing politics instead.

The notion that scientists and the US left-wing politics are exclusive of each other that this statement assumes, is false.

Many scientists, either by happenstance or as a result of their experience as scientists are part of the political left in the U.S. and it is hardly crazy to think that the March on Science could be organized by people who are both scientists with wide backing in the scientific establishment and active in the political left in the U.S. with wide backing in that community.

This is not to say that there are not any conservative scientists (although only 6% of scientists identify as Republican), by all means there are and indeed on most college campuses, the sciences tend to be relative "safe spaces" for conservatives among faculty and students alike. But, scientists are, for example, systemically less religious than non-scientists, and non-religious people are far more likely to lean left in their politics than right, although there are exceptions (e.g. noted blogger and conservative atheist Razib Khan).

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Apr 24, 2017 at 19:04
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    Comments purged. Please respect the "move to chat".
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 15:29
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    Sources on the 'the left tends'?
    – Communisty
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 8:01
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    It would be nice if your "anti-science positions on the left" had as many citations as the one for conservatives. Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 18:13
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    Additionally, the issue with sex differences and biology is misguided. While there are many significant differences between human sexes, the majority have very small effect sizes (exceptions include height, strength, and body composition, all of which are under fairly direct control by specific sex hormones), such that there is much more overlap between individual scores than there is difference between sexes. Recognizing these key facts in the data is not an 'anti-science' position. Commented May 7, 2020 at 23:13

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