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Woman protesting with a sign that says "Listen to the Science!" hanging on her backpack

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

The White House has rehired a climate scientist who was forced out by the Trump administration, and is proposing to dramatically increase the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Science is back” has become a Biden slogan. But listening to scientists is only the first step—and only a partial step, given the deep distrust many Americans have for experts. We must improve how ordinary citizens help shape science policy.

This is one of the findings of a recent report from the Hastings Center that examines the role of citizens in shaping policy in health and science. That role should not be limited to electing candidates and then, a few years later, expressing approval or disapproval of their job performance. Too many issues are in play at once for the voting–governing connection to be meaningful for many of them, and most people do not choose candidates on the basis of a clear understanding of policies, anyway

It is unlikely, for example, that elections will provide guidance about the governance... see more