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Americans need to stop distrusting scientists | READER COMMENTARY

President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump listens as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, April 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci/AP)

Regarding the editorial, “Anthony Fauci is the person of the hour so, naturally, he’s also a target” (April 9), Donald Trump loyalists issuing death threats to Dr. Anthony Fauci is emblematic of a larger problem, namely the growing trend in our country of displaying mistrust and even animosity towards experts in the scientific community. If there is one characteristic of the “Trump era” that stands out as being the most dangerous to the future of humanity, it is the extreme politicization of science. Not only did it cause the White House to ignore top health experts and deliver a woefully inadequate response to the pandemic, but worse still, it has stifled our progress in addressing climate change which will ultimately prove to be a much graver threat to human existence than the coronavirus.

Many conservatives have the perception that there is liberal bias everywhere they turn — in the media, in Hollywood, in our education system and the list goes on. And in many cases, their observations are valid. But the idea that all of our top science experts are engaged in a vast liberal conspiracy to fudge their data, produce fraudulent scientific reports and deceive the American people is an extreme stance that goes well beyond that of a vigilant conservative and deep into fringe conspiracy theorist territory. Insanity is effectively becoming normalized.

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Looking forward, the biggest threats we are facing are ones which require a great deal of scientific knowledge to assess and ultimately overcome. If we are going to make it to the year 2100 in one piece, we need to start listening to scientists instead of mistrusting and marginalizing them.

Robert Burnett, Silver Spring

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