'Bigotry and megalomania': Scientific American Editorial board warns of DeSantis’ 'antiscience agenda'

'Bigotry and megalomania': Scientific American Editorial board warns of DeSantis’ 'antiscience agenda'
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona in August 2022 (Gage Skidmore)

The Scientific American's editorial board is highlighting the dangers of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' "antiscience agenda."

In a new editorial, the board noted that the Republican governor "used governmental power in Florida to restrict access to health and education, promoting an intolerant and harmful agenda."

The board emphasized some of the actions DeSantis has taken to obstruct and diminish the importance of science in Florida.

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"DeSantis has banned books in school libraries, restricted teachers’ classroom discussions about diversity, prohibited high school classes that focus on Black history and people, politicized college curricula, limited spending on diversity programs, ignored greenhouse gas reduction in climate change policy, diminished reproductive rights and outlawed transgender health care," the board wrote.

The Florida governor's attack on science began with his pushback against lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, DeSantis dismissed the vast majority of scientific data regarding the effectiveness of masks and COVID vaccinations. He also appointed a conspiracy-driven surgeon general who aligned with his belief.

"The governor has refused all evidence that masks are safe and help prevent COVID, appointed a surgeon general who advised against vaccines, and continues to paint science and evidence as restrictions to the freedom of Floridians. Instead of limiting the role of government, as he claimed in his fight against masks, he is expanding it to selectively promote a particular religious agenda," the board wrote.

The board went on to express concern about DeSantis' attack on abortion — another matter of ignoring science and statistics to push his own agenda.

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"The maternal mortality rate in Florida is rising, yet DeSantis signed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, outlawing it after six weeks of pregnancy and endangering people who have life-threatening complications that termination could help," the board explained.

They added, "Black women in Florida have the worst maternal mortality rates of any group in the state, and research has shown that people who are denied abortions and forced to give birth suffer mentally, financially, and educationally. These statistics surely won’t improve under these new laws, which are pushing health care providers to move out of the state."

The board also noted DeSantis' book bans, “Don’t Say Gay” law, and his attack on critical race theory — all initiatives that appear to ignore key facts and statistics.

"What Ron DeSantis has done in Florida mirrors efforts in other states, including Texas. He is among a new class of conservative lawmakers who speak of freedom while restricting freedom," they wrote.

In wake of DeSantis' presidential candidacy announcement, the board warned, "A country led by someone wielding such cruelty, bigotry and megalomania will never be 'a more perfect Union.'”

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