In my opinion, scientific societies shouldn’t issue political or ideological statements except under two conditions:
1.) The government is trying to gut science or has other policies that would impede our understanding of nature or the functioning of the scientific society. (This includes, I suppose, policies that wreck the environment when organismal biology is concerned, for without an environment and its species there’s nothing to study.)
2.) The government is misusing scientific data to enact policy, in which case a scientific society (without endorsing or denigrating the policy) should correct that knowledge—when that knowledge is in the ambit of the Society. This is one function of the National Academies of Science: to inform government policy with scientific data.
There may be other circumstances for societies to intervene, but the two areas above are on my mind as I write this.
What I do oppose is scientific societies taking political or…
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