I NEVER THOUGHT I would see both the rise of populism and the dismissal of expertise enshrined in the White House. But that has happened and I think it's important for all free-thinking people to step up their game by diving deep into high quality programmes like the BBC Radio 4 series The Life Scientist.
The show is largely the work of broadcaster, author and physicist Jameel Sadik Al-Khalili (in the photo from 1001 inventions), a British citizen whose passport has the imprint "Born in Baghdad" on it. Similar passport holders have endured the humiliation of hours of interrogation in American immigration cubicles.
I graduated from an American high school where several of my classmates have helped propel the rise of right-wing populism. Some of that populism has normalized nasty attitudes and it has scorned reasoned discourse about climate change, religious faiths and immigration policy. I am appalled by the sludge of dubious opinions being passed off as facts. I'm troubled by the phenomenon of science denial because that sort of behaviour leads to the eroding of important international treaties when political appointees revert to their gut feelings about ways things should be done.
Facts are worth fighting for. So I've put The Life Scientist at the top of my podcast player and I plan to share snippets of what I learn with our two children who need to learn the scientific method.