“When a scientist says something, his colleagues must ask themselves only whether it is true. When a politician says something, his colleagues must first of all ask, ‘Why does he say it?'” -Leo Szilard
There are claims flying around all the time that science is corrupt, politicized, and that the robust scientific conclusions reached about a number of issues are unreliable. Whether it’s about vaccines, HIV/AIDS, fluoride, climate change or the genetics of sexuality (or a host of other issues), you will often see the rare scientist who dissents from the mainstream highlighted along with the standard view.
First off, the presentation of two opposing viewpoints doesn’t validate the opposition viewpoint at all; you can always find a contrarian. But with the vastly different global political landscape of 2017 rapidly approaching, it’s important to vigilantly guard against what will come next: catastrophic policies based on the acceptance of the nonsense alternative to the science.
Scientific truths do not change with the political winds, and it’s our job as scientists, science communicators and a scientifically literate society to fight against it with everything we’ve got!