Biblical war on science: EPA chief Scott Pruitt uses the Bible to justify new rule preventing university scientists from serving on key advisory boards.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is using the Bible’s Book of Joshua to prevent “hundreds of expert scientists working in environmental and health fields at universities from serving on the (agency’s advisory) boards”
BuzzFeed News reports:
Referencing the Book of Joshua, EPA head Scott Pruitt announced sweeping changes to the agency’s science advisory boards, opening the door to more input from the business world.
The Hill reports:
Pruitt cited a Bible verse from the book of Joshua, in which Joshua led the people of Israel to the promised land but asked them to choose between worshipping God or their “false gods.”
“Choose this day whom you will serve,” Pruitt said, quoting Joshua.
Pruitt called his new directive the “Joshua principle,” declaring:
This is sort of like the Joshua principle. Either service on the committee to provide counsel to us in an independent fashion or choose the grant. But you can’t do both.
In the book of Joshua there is a story about Joshua leading the people of Israel into the promised land after Moses passed away. And Joshua says to the people of Israel choose this day whom you’re going to serve. And I would say to you this is sort of like the ‘Joshua Principle’ that as it relates to grants to this agency, you are going to have to choose either service on the committee to provide counsel to us in an independent fashion or you can choose grants, but you cannot do both.
Democrats and environmentalists condemned the new directive. Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said:
Scott Pruitt’s latest move to reject qualified scientists to make room for industry-sponsored individuals isn’t fooling anyone.
Since he arrived at the agency, Mr. Pruitt has repeatedly worked to silence EPA scientists, deny the facts and discredit science inconvenient to his agenda; now he’s trying to get rid of the scientists altogether.
Frankly, this directive is nuts.
There is an important role for citizen advisors who are not experts in a scientific field and who represent various constituencies on advisory committees. But they should complement, not replace the experts. Disqualifying the very people who know the most about a subject from serving as advisors makes no sense.
In a statement, Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), also denounced the new rule, declaring:
Leading scientific experts who are conducting environmental science research should not be prohibited from participating on EPA science adviser boards and committees if they have met the appropriate financial conflict of interest policy. Science and the use of science in evidence-based policymaking cannot thrive when policymakers use politics as a pretext to attack scientific objectivity. Given its desire to limit expert perspectives and the role of scientific information, we question whether the EPA can continue to pursue its core mission to protect human health and the environment.
However, not everybody was appalled at the new, Biblically driven, anti-science, directive. Leading climate change deniers like Republican Senator James Inhofe and Republican House Science Chairman Lamar Smith were pleased with the new rule.
Bottom line: EPA chief Scott Pruitt is using the the Bible’s Book of Joshua as a justification for preventing expert scientists from serving on the EPA’s advisory boards.
Trump’s war on science continues, with a little help from the Bible.