Science is, by its very nature, objective. It uses data, backed up by demonstrable, empirical evidence, to try and explain as much of life, the universe, and everything as possible. The facts are often willfully distorted by politicians, though, particularly when it comes to man-made climate change and, on occasion, vaccines.
Sometimes, however, the facts are completely suppressed by political agencies.
This was most recently and publically demonstrated in Canada under the Harper administration, when researchers funded by the state were banned from talking freely to the media. Even when they could speak out, their responses were highly moderated and censored by the government.
Now, a similar thing may be about to happen in the U.K.
As reported by the Guardian, many British scientists will soon be legally blocked from speaking out on key issues affecting the nation, from genetic modification and stem cell research to dietary dangers and, yes, climate change.
“This is extremely worrying,” William Sutherland, a professor of zoology at the University of Cambridge, told the Guardian. “If they go ahead with this new anti-lobbying clause, then we will have many more poor decisions being made by government for the simple reason that it will have starved itself of proper scientific advice.”
As of May, researchers that received grants from the government will not be allowed to use the results of their research to lobby politicians for change.
The aim of the edict, proposed by the Cabinet Office, is to stop non-governmental organizations trying to affect legislative change.
Senior scientists and research groups see this, quite rightly, as a straightforward assault on academic freedom.
And it doesn’t take a super smart person to see the reason behind this. Without the freedom of scientific evidence, politicians and business can twist the information whatever way it works for their businesses to make profit, not considering the damage they leave behind.
And we all know that if it is going to affect the UK this legislation will soon come to the US and the rest of the world, and we need to act before it’s too late.
Fiona Fox, head of the Science Media Centre, said that if passed, this clause will “be a victory for ignorance and a blow for the evidence-based policy that our politicians claim to want.”
Science is, at heart, a search for truth – it cannot, by nature, be gagged and still operate properly. If you are worried by this, get in touch with the government or sign this petition.