March for Science

 

Do you have march fatigue yet? The left apparently does not, so we’re in for some street theater on Earth Day, April 22, with the so-called March for Science.

It’s hard to think of a better way to undermine the public’s faith in science than to stage demonstrations in Washington, DC and around the country modeled on the Women’s March in January.

The Women’s March was an anti-Trump festival. Fine. I found it vulgar and demeaning to women, but it’s a free country.

Science, however, to be respected, must be purely the search for truth. The organizers of this “March for Science” — by acknowledging that their demonstration is modeled on the Women’s March — are contributing to the politicization of science, exactly what true upholders of science should be at pains to avoid.

When you read the organizers’ online statement, the purpose seems so utterly vacuous as to cause heads to nod:

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.

Yeah. I know loads of people who oppose the “common good,” don’t you? So what is it really about?

As best I can make out (besides being a nice excuse to enjoy the April weather in Washington, when everything is in bloom), those planning to attend want to express dismay at President Trump’s policies on a range of subjects including climate change and the travel restriction (which they label a “travel ban”).

On the matter of climate change, those who present themselves as champions of science, i.e. fact-based reasoning and commitment to experimental method, ought to be very careful not to blackball everyone who offers a dissenting view. Even among self-described environmentalists, there are differing views on how best to combat global warming. Whether temperatures are rising dangerously is a scientific question. What to do about it is a political question.

When you lump the “travel ban” into the march though, you really go off the rails. As Robert Young, an ecologist, warned in the New York Times, including such matters only serves to cement the image of scientists as “an interest group” who might “politicize their data, research, and findings for their own ends.”

A true “march for science” might tackle problems like the “replication crisis” or “confirmation bias.”

It’s a vanity of the left that they stand for science, “fact-based” policy, and sweet reason as opposed to conservatives who support superstition, “alternative facts,” and denial. Jeffrey Anderson, an associate professor of radiology and bioengineering at the University of Utah, explained to the Times that he would fly to DC for the march because of what he regards as “The wholesale disregard of truth and fact by the president and his close advisers. Their devaluing evidence and the scientific method, is so extreme that I can’t be silent.”

Admittedly, this president has been reckless and heedless of the truth or falsity of his comments on a range of subjects. His endorsements of conspiracy theories about vaccines causing autism and climate change being a Chinese ruse to harm American companies were preposterous and worrying. But he hasn’t said those things lately, and the march doesn’t seem to have been provoked by them.

Note to the left: The above paragraph is what sincere people who are “fact-based” and willing to be critical of their own side write. Now, where is the acknowledgement that there is plenty of hostility to science among progressives? Who objects to nuclear power (despite its potential to combat global warming)? Who rejects evidence of male/female brain differences? Who stands in the way of genetically modified organisms – but also argues that children should be hormonally and surgically modified if they say that they are of a different “gender” from the sex listed on their birth certificate?

When progressives are ready to admit that they sometimes cherry pick the science they like and disregard the science that confounds their worldview, they will have taken a key first step toward the scientific method.

Published in Environment, Politics, Science & Technology
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Members have made 19 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Vance Richards Inactive

    Mona Charen: Who rejects evidence of male/female brain differences? Who stands in the way of genetically modified organisms – but also argues that children should be hormonally and surgically modified if they say that they are of a different “gender” from the sex listed on their birth certificate?

    Biology still counts as a science? Didn’t they move that over to “social construct” column yet?

    • #1
    • April 20, 2017 at 12:30 pm
    • Like9 likes
  2. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Mona,

    A march for pseudo-scientific ideology. This is the hallmark of 20th and now 21st-century tyranny. It is anti-individual, anti-freedom, and despite trying to co-opt the name anti-human. Nothing is more detrimental to the progress of real science than these sick ideologues.

    Sexual schizophrenia is my overall term for what passes as a social justice movement. In a world where 750,000,000 women live as less than slaves to Islam, our society worries about pronouns. In a world where we are trying to make safe spaces for adults so they won’t hear opposing viewpoints, we are rushing towards the permanent mutilation of helpless unsuspecting children.

    NYT Op-Ed Slams Transgender Ideology: Let Tomboys Remain Girls

    These idiots would be just a joke if not for the horrible results of their complete madness.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
    • April 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm
    • Like7 likes
  3. Profile photo of Justin Hertog Member

    My son learned about the “march” in school today. Such wish he had learned a little more science instead.

    • #3
    • April 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm
    • Like2 likes
  4. Profile photo of Melissa Praemonitus Member

    -A true “march for science” might tackle problems like the “replication crisis” or “confirmation bias.”-

    Or even the fact that most of the marchers cannot state any step of the scientific method to save their lives. It would be very interesting to make a video visit to a march and start asking questions.

    Thanks for highlighting this, Mona.

    • #4
    • April 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm
    • Like10 likes
  5. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    -A true “march for science” might tackle problems like the “replication crisis” or “confirmation bias.”-

    Or even the fact that most of the marchers cannot state any step of the scientific method to save their lives. It would be very interesting to make a video visit to a march and start asking questions.

    Thanks for highlighting this, Mona.

    Absolutely. Send Jesse Waters and some stealth interviewers with real questions.

    • #5
    • April 20, 2017 at 2:14 pm
    • Like5 likes
  6. Profile photo of drlorentz Member

    The March for Science is a great embarrassment to science. About six weeks ago I received an email from the American Physical Society, to which I belong, informing me that the society’s leadership had “… unanimously voted to endorse the march.” Yet the email concluded with the following paragraph:

    The American Physical Society, while steadfastly nonpartisan, is dedicated to the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics, to upholding scientific integrity, and to supporting a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive scientific community. APS will work with the march organizers and other scientific societies to further these positive principles.

    This is disingenuous, bordering on the Orwellian. The March for Science is clearly political and partisan. The original purpose of the APS was “…to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics.” The diversity/inclusion agenda can only be part of a scientific society’s mission in our post-modern, social-justice-warrior, equalist world.

    Of course, this is hardly the first involvement of the APS in political affairs. From statements on climate change to diversity advocacy to absurd forays into international affairs, the APS is just becoming yet another lobbying organization with only tangential interest in science per se.

    In 2010, distinguished physicist Hal Lewis resigned from the APS, excoriating the leadership for betraying the society’s founding principles for money and political influence. We can now add virtue signaling to the list. This gives science a bad name and I want no part of it.

    • #6
    • April 20, 2017 at 2:21 pm
    • Like13 likes
  7. Profile photo of Cato Rand Member

    Even “whether temperatures are rising dangerously” is not really a scientific question. Whether temperatures have risen, or will rise are scientific questions. How much is a scientific question. “Dangerously” already gets you into the realm of political judgements. All of life is change, and somebody is always hurt by it. If you label a change “dangerous” you are prejudging that the change, and the harm, have crossed some line which can only be adjudicated politically.

    • #7
    • April 20, 2017 at 3:13 pm
    • Like14 likes
  8. Profile photo of Paul Erickson Member

    Maybe we small government types should stage a march in support of Math. Given the way they borrow and spend in Washington, it’s in far greater jeopardy than science.

    • #8
    • April 20, 2017 at 7:06 pm
    • Like10 likes
  9. Profile photo of Paul Erickson Member

    Hey, this is a march I can get behind. They want to do away with the UN!

    See, it’s right on the hat! They want a UN-Less world!

    • #9
    • April 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm
    • Like10 likes
  10. Profile photo of Chris Lang Member

    @monacharen – I say we organize a Ricochet march against marches. We’ll do it ironically, and meet in a park for a BBQ and drinks. Let’s face it, it’ll really be a Ricochet meetup.

    • #10
    • April 20, 2017 at 8:51 pm
    • Like15 likes
  11. Profile photo of Hammer, The Member

    Mona Charen: It’s hard to think of a better way to undermine the public’s faith in science than to stage demonstrations in Washington, DC and around the country modeled on the Women’s March in January.

    … though, to be fair, I’m not crying for the left when it shoots itself in the foot. Repeatedly.

    At this point, I’m almost just amused.

    • #11
    • April 20, 2017 at 10:44 pm
    • Like2 likes
  12. Profile photo of Hammer, The Member

    Mona Charen: Admittedly, this president has been reckless and heedless of the truth or falsity of his comments on a range of subjects. His endorsements of conspiracy theories about vaccines causing autism and climate change being a Chinese ruse to harm American companies were preposterous and worrying. But he hasn’t said those things lately, and the march doesn’t seem to have been provoked by them.

    A note on this, too. I think Norman Podhoretz had it right on the last podcast. I am finding myself less and less outraged by the nonsense Trump tweets (or says). As you say, it is also seeming to happen less and less… but even if it wasn’t, what we’re finding is that his words sometimes indicate what he’s thinking – sort of – but they don’t really mean much of anything else. He’s said some absolutely ridiculous things. It’s easy to be outraged, at first… until you realize that he’s doing something different. Then my emotion is more a confusion, but certainly not anger. It’s just weird. I can handle weird. Especially when it gives me things like Justice Gorsuch.

    • #12
    • April 20, 2017 at 10:49 pm
    • Like4 likes
  13. Profile photo of @gossamer Coolidge

    Mona Charen: A true “march for science” might tackle problems like the “replication crisis” or “confirmation bias.”

    Scientists, at least in biomedicine, are fretting because of the large budget cuts proposed for the National Institutes of Health. So it seems to me that the worst thing to do right now is a whiny march full of grievances. Rather, if scientists feel they must march for some reason, then they should have a parade to celebrate science and its accomplishments. Despite the flaws in the current system leading to the reproducibility issues, STEM is a driver of the economy.

    • #13
    • April 20, 2017 at 10:53 pm
    • Like2 likes
  14. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    Ryan M(cPherson) (View Comment):
    I can handle weird. Especially when it gives me things like Justice Gorsuch.

    As a dude who didn’t vote for Trump- I feel you.

    • #14
    • April 21, 2017 at 2:15 am
    • LikeLike
  15. Profile photo of Henry Castaigne Member

    @gossamer (View Comment):
    Rather, if scientists feel they must march for some reason, then they should have a parade to celebrate science and its accomplishments. Despite the flaws in the current system leading to the reproducibility issues, STEM is a driver of the economy.

    This march isn’t about science. It’s a rebellion against the prosperity that capitalism provides. Since Marx, science has been promoted as a way to tell different opinions to shut up and get in line. For some reason, all the wealth and food and choices that capitalism gives makes some people really unhappy.

    • #15
    • April 21, 2017 at 2:22 am
    • Like7 likes
  16. Profile photo of James Gawron Thatcher

    Ryan M(cPherson) (View Comment):
    It’s easy to be outraged, at first… until you realize that he’s doing something different. Then my emotion is more a confusion, but certainly not anger. It’s just weird. I can handle weird. Especially when it gives me things like Justice Gorsuch.

    Ryan,

    Exactly!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
    • April 21, 2017 at 7:58 am
    • LikeLike
  17. Profile photo of Johnny Dubya Member

    Here is my standard response to warmists. It is a series of questions:

    1. Does the climate change over time?
    2. Is Earth warming now?
    3. Is a warmer Earth a net negative development for mankind?
    4. Is it scientifically possible for the actions of present-day mankind to materially cause warming?
    5. If Earth is warming, are the actions of mankind in fact to blame, partly or entirely?
    6. If so, are there actions that mankind can take that will definitely prevent or reduce further warming?
    7. If so, are such actions cost-effective and the better use of resources compared to the costs of adaptation?

    Warmists believe the answers to all seven questions are “Yes.” This is hubris. And superstition. If you challenge their answers to any of the seven questions (only the first is uncontroversial), you are branded a “denier.” I happen to believe that the probability that all seven answers are “Yes” is infinitesimally small.

    What really irritates me are the admonishments to “save the planet” by mitigating global warming. Earth has been warmer, and it has been colder. It has survived. How do these people expect us to take them seriously when they suggest that warmer temperatures will destroy Earth?

    I would like to see a March For Economics, highlighting the lack of fact-based economic policies on the left. It is nothing but superstition to suppose that raising the minimum wage won’t reduce employment of lower-skilled workers, or that rent controls won’t cause a shortage of affordable housing.

    • #17
    • April 21, 2017 at 10:17 am
    • Like6 likes
  18. Profile photo of Joseph Stanko Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    Or even the fact that most of the marchers cannot state any step of the scientific method to save their lives.

    The Scientific Method:

    1. State desired government policy outcome (this is called the “hypothesis”)
    2. Declare that 97% of scientists agree with the hypothesis
    3. Label anyone who disagrees with the hypothesis a “denier”

    Did I pass the exam?

    • #18
    • April 21, 2017 at 10:27 am
    • Like6 likes
  19. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member

    The March For Science*

    *except for human embryology (ask a marcher what totipotent and pluripotent cells are, when life begins, why “fertilized egg” is a pseudo-scientific term, whether sex is determined on a chromosomal level at conception or “assigned at birth”), GMO crops, DDT, vaccines, climate change, the notion that there’s such a thing as “settled science”, etc., etc.

    It looks like the local Fayetteville, Arkansas iteration of the march will get rained out tomorrow. Oh darn.

    • #19
    • April 21, 2017 at 10:59 am
    • Like4 likes