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Thu Feb 16, 2017, 11:26 PM

Rush Holt Speaks Up For Scientists.

Rush Holt is my former Congressman, a physicist.

I'm an old man, and I can honestly say that in my lifetime I was never so proud as to have him as my representative. There are some things on which he and I disagreed, but I was always impressed by his thoughtfulness, his integrity, and his high ethical standards.

He went out of his way many times to do unpopular things to help people - Muslims come to mind - during trying times, for example, after 9/11.

He retired from Congress a few years back, and accepted leadership of the AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publishers of the important scientific journal Science.

He recently wrote an editorial in Science on the Muslim ban. The link is here:

Act for Science (Science 355 (6325), 551, 2017)

Excerpts:

This year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publisher of Science) Annual Meeting in Boston (16 to 20 February) promises again to be one of the world's most recognized forums for communicating the excitement, beauty, power, and relevance of science. Attendees from dozens of countries, from nearly every field of study, and from all sectors will share ideas and build collaborations. Attendees share a cherished understanding that science practiced with diligence and reverence for evidence illuminates the human condition, leads to measurable progress, and provides the best insurance against error and deception. These amazing benefits depend on open communication as a fundamental ingredient of science. This is why President Trump's recent immigration ban has been a jolt across the global scientific enterprise...

...As I write this, I understand that a Sudanese scientist who is to be recognized for excellent work by women in developing countries will not be present for her award. Furthermore, the head of The World Academy of Sciences, also from Sudan, has cancelled his trip to Boston. There are an unknown number of other such cases. The denial of entry is a detriment for the individuals, and it is also an affront to science. To me, the very real damage to science outweighs the very thin claim of enhanced national security.

For science to be effective and provide its benefits to people, some fundamental principles must be observed and defended—among them, the freedoms of open communication, collaboration, and diversity of perspectives, all of which are disrespected by such travel restrictions. Scientists and others see a variety of troubling signs surrounding science...

... the unwarranted restrictions on communication by federal scientists with other scientists and the public, and most troubling, policy-making that is based on ideological assertion rather than on verifiable evidence. Public officials citing “alternative facts” leave scientists dismayed...

...To fight the immigration order would mean stepping into political terrain, a scientist will say; taking part in a public event to promote science could tarnish science or appear confrontational. Based on a long career in science, with a substantial interlude in elected office, I say that these are excuses for inaction. Taking action is the best course when science is threatened or when science can illuminate public issues. Scientists should not fool themselves with the misconception that politics is dirty compared to the scientific enterprise, and they should therefore avoid the fight. Nor should scientists think that by standing back and letting the facts speak for themselves, they allow reason to prevail and proponents of flawed policies to wilt...



Damn I miss Rush Holt. I always thought he belonged on a bigger stage than the 12th Congressional District of New Jersey, but that was not to be. He did run for the Democratic Senatorial nomination, but much to the loss of our country, he didn't get it.

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Reply Rush Holt Speaks Up For Scientists. (Original post)
NNadir Feb 2017 OP
enough Feb 2017 #1

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Fri Feb 17, 2017, 08:28 AM

1. Morning KR. NT

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