Many of us would like to believe that science is the search for truth as it relates to the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world. However, that belief is only partially true.

Scientific research is often driven by government grants and contracts, whether you’re in a university or Fortune 500 company. While the research itself may follow the scientific method and lead to unbiased results, politics determines the fate of those results. For example, the carbon dioxide level is currently about 400 parts per million (ppm). For the last 650,000 to about 1950, the carbon dioxide level never cross the 300 ppm level. However, with the increased use of fossil fuel, such as coal and gasoline, the carbon dioxide level began climbing to its current level. The bad news, it is still climbing. At 500 ppm it is a health hazard to humans.

Well over 90% of the scientific community agrees that global warming is related to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse” gas that traps heat. As a result, we are seeing the sea level rise and the Gulf of Mexico become a catcher’s mitt for the increased frequency of hurricanes. In addition to the human suffering caused by climate change, there is a financial impact. According to the US Government Accountability Office’s Website, their report “Information on Potential Economic Effects Could Help Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Fiscal Exposure” projects climate change will cost the US Government “between $4 billion and $6 billion in annual coastal property damages from sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms,” between 2020 and 2039. However, the reality of climate change is being treated as a political issue. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, kept three scientists from speaking at the October 23rd Narragansett Bay Estuary Program workshop on the 2017 State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed report.

The government has the ability to politicize science by directing research via:

  • University grants
  • Military industrial complex programs
  • Government laboratories/agencies programs
  • Censorship of government scientists

Obviously, science is no longer the pure search for truth regarding natural phenomena. Today’s science follows the government’s roadmap. Acting on results is a political decision, even when life and death are in the balance.

What does all this mean? Science is riddled with politics. Scientists working on government programs have two choices, follow the government roadmap or quit. Let me be clear. I am not talking about defense contract research, which for security reasons must be kept secret. I am talking about fundamental science, such as climate change research, which should proceed without censorship or political agendas.

Unfortunately, the EPA’s mission of “protecting human health and the environment” is now politicized to the point that they will censor government scientists and deny the reality of climate change. Although the World Health Organization estimates that “Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress,” the EPA director, Scott Pruitt, told CNBC that “ “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” Pruitt is an attorney, not a scientist. However, he apparently feels comfortable challenging the mass of scientific evidence that contradicts his viewpoint.

Human endeavors tend to always be inherently political, including scientific research. However, politics in science should be confined to interpreting the results, not refuting results that have been widely established via the scientific method. For example, are these irrefutable facts or results open to interpretation:

  1. Greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, trap heat.
  2. Carbon dioxide is increasing dramatically to the point that the amount of heat trapped is causing sea levels to rise and weather extremes, such as droughts and hurricanes.
  3. The increase in carbon dioxide is due to human activity, specifically burning fossil fuels like coal and gasoline.

The bulk of the scientific community would argue they are facts. Is it possible they are wrong? Yes, it is possible. However, government censorship and policies will not set the truth free. As Einstein stated, “ Truth is what stands the test of experience.” If we examine our current experience, we are seeing unprecedented carbon dioxide levels associated with unprecedented climate change. We need to embrace the facts and work on solutions. Governments can censor scientists or deny reality, but Mother Nature will have the final say.