Australia’s Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce comments on the World Health Organisation report on processed meats causing cancer and says bacon should not be compared to cigarettes and that the report is a ‘farce.’
Now there are nuances to the WHO report and it’s conclusions were not unanimous, but to knee-jerk label it as a farce is simply stupid. What on earth gives a politician the hubris to think that their ill-educated views should be put on an equal playing field with in-depth scientific research? And no, Mr Joyce, being a farmer does not give you any special insight into the medical properties of sausages, it just gives you a vested interest.
The continuing deep lack of respect for science demonstrated by the current crop of politicians is tiresome and has moved well past concerning. You cannot govern effectively if you refuse to understand the role that fact-based research leading to scientific conclusions has in understanding the world we live in. We may not want to believe that bacon contributes to cancer; we may believe it and decide to ignore it; but what we can’t do is pretend that the facts don’t exist.
Except, of course, that’s exactly what you can do if you are a politician. In any other field we’d just call the person doing it dumb and delusional.
Now, if only I could just believe that we had a government of scientists.