Re the March for Science that was held April 22: At issue is the danger of setting a scientific agenda antagonistic to progress.
As an HIV/AIDS activist, I know the power of science and the pitfall of silence. After governmental neglect during the critical first years of the outbreak, HIV/AIDS became the widespread epidemic we saw in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s, and the global pandemic today.
The war waged on science in 2017 not only challenges existing research, but also prevents further investigation into issues that are deliberately neglected because of their political contention.
Just as there are ways to see scientific work that has alleviated human suffering and opened new ways of interacting in the world, I recognize that the history of science is replete with racism, sexism, and unethical experimentation, and that many groups remain underrepresented in the production of science.
Fighting for science now does not condone its darker history.
In fact, looking at the entirety of science history allows us to examine how it was influenced by the politics, social norms, and culture, and how these can continue to hinder science.