Read the other day in the magazine the Atlantic: “The danger of making science political”, by Puneet Opal, medical doctor and professor of neurology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Opal reflects on the relation between science and politics; he observes that, in the US, science is associated with the Democrat party, and he asks the question: why is it so?
Opal’s article is echoing another piece published recently in Nature, “Science must be seen to bridge the political divide”, by Daniel Sarewitz, from the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes at Arizona State University. Sarewitz complains about a very US-centered situation, that is, the fact that most American scientists seem to side with the Democrats against the Republicans. He takes as an example the letter written by many Nobel laureates in support of Obama’s reelection in 2012. This bias, Sarewitz claims, is a bad thing for science. He writes:
“To prevent science from continuing its worrying slide towards politicization, here’s a New Year’s resolution for scientists, especially in the United States: gain the confidence of people and politicians across the political spectrum by demonstrating that science is bipartisan.”