The Honest Broker

AAAS Sends a Message

Advertisements

Organizations give awards to recognize those individuals who best display the values that organization seeks to represent and uphold. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the leading scientific organization in the United States. From a vast pool of excellent scientists who engage with the public, the AAAS has decided in 2018 to give its prestigious award for Public Engagement with Science to climate scientist, Michael E. Mann.

I find this remarkable. Who is Dr. Mann?

That is just a short list.

Mann is fully entitled to his views and the use of whatever techniques he thinks appropriate to advance his extreme politics. He is certainly not alone in playing political hardball in 2018.

My issue here is not with Mann. It is with the decision by AAAS to single out Mann as someone who embodies our highest values of the scientific community: a role model to emulate who engages in behaviors to celebrate.

With this award, what message is AAAS sending to the scientific community and to the public?

The AAAS is telling us that engaging in hyper-partisan, gutter politics, targeted against Republicans and colleagues you disagree with, using unethical tactics, will be rewarded by leaders in the scientific community.

AAAS could work to help to defuse the pathological politicization of science. Instead, it has thrown some gasoline on the fire.

Advertisements

Advertisements