In Nate Charest’s letter published on May 4, he claims that “science needs no champions.” Unfortunately, I disagree. In a world of willful ignorance and denial, scientific evidence and conclusions are often neglected or unreasonably disputed. Greater dissemination of scientific research is needed across all religious and political beliefs. Political groups in particular have an agenda, and scientific evidence is frequently dismissed in support of the group’s goals.
To be sure, some of my most admired and appreciated science professors are likely theistic, while others are likely atheistic. I don’t know their beliefs for certain, because they are professional scientists and teachers foremost and they keep their personal beliefs private. Science does not need to rely solely on atheists as its champions. I know many exceptional scientists who are likely theistic — they synthesize their religious and scientific views, and they advocate careful, unbiased science.
I truly hope that more people, irrespective of belief or political opinion, will continue to learn from science, advocate good science and yet remain healthily skeptical. Especially in politics, scientific evidence is often reduced to mere opinion, which is incredibly dangerous. This extreme polarization and ignorance span all political and religious spectra. Luckily, advocates and practitioners of good science also comprise a variety of religious and political beliefs. We just need more of them, along with a better-educated populace.
Lucas Reddinger is an economics Ph.D. student at UCSB.