AND WHAT you have seen so far in the global response to VIRUS should frighten you all. Our inattention to science is sometimes laid to American supposed ''scientific illiteracy'', but the truth is far more complicated.

If it's true that a lot of Americans don't know a lot about science, it's because across American society, science is actively undermined, underfunded, ignored and suppressed.

On social networks and in too many corners of the mainstream media, scientific expertise cloaked by a fog of propaganda. misinformation and scam ads for essential oils and that one mystery food every gut doctor in America is begging you to throw out.

From the food industry to the drug industry to the oil and gas industry, corporate America routinely hides science under a haze of well-funded oppo.
The gun industry did one better : Under legislation pushed for by the National Rifle Association, the federal government until recently was hamstrung in even funding scientific research into gun violence.

Our collective inability to communicate about sciences has thoroughly perverted our politics. Because science has become so deeply intertwined with partisan dogma, people's very conception of scientific of expertise has been hijacked by tribal reflex.

TODAY, a lot of people seem to determine how much they trust scientists based on their political ideas, which is backward and bizarre.

What we are left with is a society embarrassingly ignorant about the world around us. The vice president thinks smoking doesn't kill, condoms are ''very poor'' protection against disease, and the best way to curb an H.I.V. outbreak is through  prayer.

The president says global warming is a hoax and attempts at conservation are mar making American life too inconvenient.

It's not just politicians. The number of Americans who say vaccines are important is declining - and anti-vax conspiracies cross partisan divides, finding fans among Northern California hippies and some corners of the G.O.P.

Hence my call for divine intervention. Science and scientists face crushing opposition. In addition to silent-spreading disease and a burning planet, they must take on the moneyed, the godly, the dictatorial and Mike Pence.

If we won't sport them and won't listen to them, the least we can do is pray.

The World Students Society thanks author Farhad Manjoo for his opinion.


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