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Anti-science wave sweeps Poland

Nature volume 532, page 441 (28 April 2016) | Download Citation

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  • A Correction to this article was published on 08 June 2016

Poland's government is showing a worrying trend to disregard scientific evidence and rationality (see, for example, Nature 530, 393; 2016). Polish academia needs the backing of international scientific societies to help counter some alarming implications for the population.

For instance, we find it questionable that Poland's Parliamentary Committee on the Safety of the Programme of Vaccination of Children and Adults invited an anti-vaccination activist to speak as an expert at one of its meetings (see go.nature.com/6bbg5u; in Polish).

In addition, the country's in vitro fertilization (IVF) programme has been axed. This leaves some 17,000 couples stranded in mid-treatment and almost 22,000 others on the waiting list (see go.nature.com/nfuede; in Polish). And if proposed anti-abortion legislation goes through, IVF is likely to become illegal. The health ministry is developing an alternative programme based on natural procreative technology ('naprotechnology'), a fertility treatment that is approved by the Catholic Church but lacks sound scientific support.

Some Polish universities, such as the University of Gdańsk and the Medical University of Wrocław, are engaging speakers on such scientifically refuted topics as curing cancers with vitamin C or breast enlargement through hypnosis. Creationism, too, seems to be experiencing a resurgence. For example, the book Ewolucja, Dewolucja, Nauka (Evolution, Devolution, Science) Fronda, 2016) by the dendrologist Maciej Giertych, which we read as arguing against evolution, is being promoted in schools. In our view, this poses a threat to the country's scientific-education programme.

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Affiliations

  1. University of Cambridge, UK.

    • Paula Dobosz
  2. University of Warsaw, Poland.

    • Jakub Zawiła-Niedźwiecki

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Correspondence to Jakub Zawiła-Niedźwiecki.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/532441d

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