I'm going to put on my scientist hat for this post. One of the things that has come up in many states and in the federal government is how to keep scientific progress moving forward with huge budget cuts. But there may be a more insidious problem that is "gutting" science.
With the current administration, there has been a movement away from a science policy that looks at data on how things really are. Instead science policy has been more aligned with fitting ideological preferences on how the world should be. There have been journalistic reports on intimidation of scientists in government posts, suppression of scientific evidence and perpetuation of misinformation.
There apparently isn't any field that has been spared. Everything from climate change to public health has seen a decline in funding and staffing. Many of the staff losses were those who resigned their posts in despair.
There was an excellent post entitled "Back to Reality" by Olivia Judson, in a blog in the NY Times. She indicates that the distortion and suppression of science is dangerous. It's dangerous because science is a method of thought and inquiry on which our modern civilization is based and which has been hugely successful as a way of acquiring knowledge that lets us transform our lives and the world around us.
She points out that the facts and equations that are taught in schools are but a consequence of scientific activity. Science itself is something else. It encompasses a method for measuring, evaluating and describing events, the environment, and the world based on investigation and evidence. Scientists seek to understand how things really are, based on empirical observations, not on anecdotes or biases. To acquire such an attitude takes training and a desire to be unbiased--to let the data lead to results that can be discussed and presented for review.
I know that there are scientists here where I work and around the world who have bias, ambition and great egos. I think that it's the case that when one conducts an experiment or does a study, there is an idea that the null hypothesis will be refuted. And sometimes as Olivia Judson points out, erroneous conclusions are reached because 1) the study wasn't designed correctly, 2) the interpretation of the data is erroneous, or 3) the data are fraudulent.
But because of peer review and the scientific method, there is a framework within which the truth will eventually come forth. Scientists may argue over data, but to change data, ignore results, or limit access to the "truth" is dangerous and actually threatens the core of knowledge.
I hope that striving for the truth and to uncover facts will be something that scientists always do. And maybe we will be able to engender the trust of the public as we go about our work of discovery.