During the dictatorship in Brazil, newspapers were censored, usually at the last moment, so editors took to replacing banned articles with a column entitled “Recipe for Cake”. Readers soon understood these recipes, often on the front page, were a way of saying, “We have been censored, you are not getting all the facts.”
Journalism and science share, or should share, practices designed to protect the integrity of their efforts to uncover truth. But if you watch Fox News you often see such obvious omissions of truth they might as well be recipes for cake. As for more respectable mainstream news outlets, they too fail to tell the whole truth sometimes. Trump may not have been mimicking a disabled reporter when he made those odd gestures; he used the same ones to mime, among others, Ted Cruz when he got confused over a debate question, and reporters knew this.
While scientists funded by commercial interests sometimes lie, the vast majority of them stick to the scientific method. This asks that every discovery be questioned, tested, and then retested by other scientists. Only then is a discovery announced, usually in a conditional way. If there’s a better way of guaranteeing that facts and theories are accurate, I don’t know of it. And yet financially compromised politicians who know nothing about science, constantly attack it on behalf of their backers, putting lives at risk. Would voters vote for them if they knew they were going to do this? Impossible to know because science policy is never debated and rarely discussed during campaigns; not medical science, not environmental science, not even science as the vast economic driver that it is.
Science Debate, an organization I’m part of, is trying to change this. We seek to inform voters that science policy is comprehensible and important to their and their children’s lives and we are now going to provide them with their House, Senate, and Gubernatorial candidates’ answers to 10 science questions. We already have several responses from across the country. These will be entered onto our online interactive map as the 2018 election approaches so you only have to click on the map to see where your candidate stands on the major science issues. We’ll do the same in 2020 and beyond.
This is becoming an expensive undertaking, so please DONATE to Science Debate before the end of the year. In the long run, it will be cheaper than having scientific facts forcibly replaced by “Recipes for Cake.”