The “March For Science”

Derek Lowe explains why he won’t be marching. I agree.

[Update a while later]

Arthur Lambert isn’t attending either:

…there’s no denying this march is political. It is a mistake to position the scientific method against the Trump administration or any other one, for that matter. That would serve only to undermine a central premise of the march: that scientific knowledge is apolitical. Organizers argue that the march is “nonpartisan.” While this may be the official line, I’m skeptical of whether anything approaching it can actually be achieved, especially on the heels of a divisive election. For example, I recently spoke with a colleague who was organizing a poster-making session for the march. She proudly described her design as an “I’m With Her” arrow pointing toward planet Earth.

I was also “with her” last November, but that should be beside the point. I fear that, contrary to its mission of inclusion, the march may actually alienate many of those it seeks to convince. Scientists are highly educated, the academic version of the 1 percent Wall Street class. They are also overwhelming Democratic. I can assure you that this has little to no impact on their science or for the potential public impact of their findings. But it would not be unreasonable for a rural blue-collar worker, watching the marches from afar, to perceive them as yet another attack from the condescending elite. We cannot drum up the broad support for science that the march seeks by aggravating a deep divide already present in this country.

Want more Trump? This is how you get more Trump.

[Update a while later]

Bill Nye is the perfect talking head for a march against science:

March organizers have paid lip service to critical thinking and “diverse perspectives” in science. However, Nye is a good example of someone who promotes science as a close-minded ideology, not an open search for truth.

He attacks those who disagree with him on climate change or evolution as science “deniers.” He wouldn’t even rule out criminal prosecution as a tool. Asked last year whether he supported efforts to jail climate skeptics as war criminals, he replied: “Well, we’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?”

Real science encourages debate. It doesn’t insist that scientists march in lockstep. Or that they speak with one voice. In fact, scientists disagree on far more issues than the March organizers admit.

Bill Nye the lock-up-the-heretics guy.

[Update mid morning]

Bob Zimmerman says that the march against science is a Democrat Party operation.

[Update a while later]

“I love Neil de Grasse Tyson, but he’s wrong on climate.”

I don’t find him all that lovable, myself.

[Sunday evening update]

Judith Curry has a lot of links to “untangle the March for Science.”

[Bumped]

[Monday-morning update]

Bill Nye the Constitutional-Ignorance Guy.

[Update a while later]

Nye freaks out when schooled by an actual scientist on CNN. Just like his meltdown with Tucker Carlson.

24 thoughts on “The “March For Science””

  1. Well Bill Nye is one of the co-chairs, so they’ve got that going for them. Although it seems being a white guy was causing some issues.

    And of course Bill Nye Saves The World debuts tonight. Phil is ecstatic:

    We had fairly animated discussions on this pretty often, and sometimes it felt like we couldn’t converge on a solution. When that happened, more often than not Bill would step in and say something that really struck me: “We are science!”

    … Striking. Just… striking. Err… Strucking.
    Sorry… Strucking!

    No word on whether Phil will be joining the marchers next week.

  2. “Science” is burning over $10 billion on the James Webb Space Telescope while over 200 million people contract malaria every year. Wake me when these posers are marching about that.

    1. I hear something called DDT is very effective against the mosquitoes that spread malaria, with little toxicity to vertebrate life. 😉

  3. This fits right in with my later free speech comment. Marching is just another way of ‘proving’ relative truth. If enough people make enough noise “it must be true?” …goes the illogic.

      1. The ritualistic chanting of slogans is the cornerstone of science and hive mind transcendental states of mind. It couldn’t be a cult because these people are far too smart to even know what one is.

      2. Has the mob of peasants-with-pitchforks switched sides?

        Are they angry with Dr. Frankenstein for saying that there are certain things, relating to experimenting with humans and their body parts, that scientists should not do and then not doing those things?

  4. “They are also overwhelming Democratic [sic]. I can assure you that this has little to no impact on their science or for the potential public impact of their findings.”

    Oh, gimme a break. Packaged right there is the problem. We are supposed to believe this assertion from authority, because if a believer in “science” says it, it’s gotta be true. And if their beliefs have no impact, why do all their solutions end up being 19th Century Socialism, imposed by force?

    If you sooper-geniuses want people to believe you, you first need to stop lying to yourselves.

    1. Reading the comments at the first two links, they are not even self aware.

      There is even a guy who thinks people are religious because they think religion exists to explain chemistry or cell division. These people are shallow thinkers.

    2. I think it is still OK to use “Democrat” as a noun as in “my grandfather Joseph was a union carpenter and a loyal Democrat.”

      Just don’t use “Democrat” as an adjective, even if “Democratic” is a bad fit.

    1. I bet a lot of them think that most of the advances in stem cell research have come from embryonic stem cell research.

  5. They’re taking a huge risk. What with all the kings and emperors of the earth being ardent flat-Earthers and entrails-readers, marching for science is a real game-changer.

    (Sadly, this may actually reflect the mindset of the marchers. Sarcasm doesn’t stand a chance.)

  6. I put a big long post on Facebook about this, but here’s the gist:

    To the people claiming the mantel of science: how much of today’s warmer climate is due to variations that fall well within historic norms, and how much is due to human activity? After all, if science can deliver absolute truth (as so many claimed during this weekend’s marches) and the science is “settled”, please give me a number. Is it 10% natural and 90% anthropogenic? Is it 20-80? 50-50? Science, ACTUAL science, is all about quantification. For a theory to be valid, there needs to be a number. Not a best guess, but a cold hard number.

    What should we do if it turns out that the number is 80% natural and 20% man-made? What if everything we’ve done to ol’ Terra Firma in the last three centuries is only 1/5th the reason for our warmer temperatures? Do we chuck everything and go back to the stone knives and bearskins because it will be 1 degree warmer in 100 years instead of 0.8 degrees?

  7. What this sort of thing is doing is removing the inhibitions from defunding science. Science is now political? It’s fair game, then.

    1. Your question might be answered by the short video Rules for Rulers

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs

      or maybe in the TLDR version, The Dictator’s Handbook

      http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs13/The_Dictators_Handbook.pdf

      Now a universal Theory-of-Political-Everything has a kind of one-size-fits-all quality that might be annoying, but The Dictator’s Handbook does try and explain everything, including the uniqueness of the Green Bay Packers NFL team. That a team from a city of barely 100,000 population can remain a football legend has to do with its non-profit status and diffuse ownership, but this doesn’t explain history’s most hated dictator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Thompson.

      Yeah, yeah, Ayn Rand, we are Libertarians, not Conservatives and all of that, but these works explain why democracies put a lot of resources into public goods, which include roads, schools, and hospitals. The reason is that the “keys” (to power — this theory is all about the keys to power, how they are different but the same in all political systems), the keys in a democracy are more diffuse (like ownership of the Packers), the ruler needs to keep more people happy, the way to that is through productivity leading to prosperity, and the way to that is to spend your “treasure” (taxed from the people you rule) on roads, schools, and hospitals, which make people more productive — it is not altruism but self interest at work.

      That raises the question regarding not only why many Libertarians/Conservatives/Right blogosphere people are so anti-education, especially anti-university, not even distinguishing between the College of Engineering and Gender Studies.

      You could say “Science” and “Science Education” are keys to ruling power in our system because the bring victory in war, productivity of the workforce and hence prosperity in peace, so why does a certain Upper Midwestern governor want to starve his state university system and (over the long term) impoverish his constituents?

      Well, on the Climate Change question, even the College of Engineering has swung over to the side of impoverishing rather than enriching their patrons among the populace.

      But for the Science Marchers, who are their “keys” because they support scientific dogma that seems to benefit elites at the expense of the masses, counter to how New Deal tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect is supposed to work. Some Alt-right people have sinister theories on this.

  8. I just don’t agree with the paradigm.
    I would oppose a march for any kind of science other than military, preferably to a John Phillip Sousa tune…

    Now a national Stroll through Science, or perhaps a whimsical Skip into Science, or a National Day Dream of Science, or a Dalliance for Science, or a Serendipitous Journey through Science…..

  9. Watched the signs as they passed me by at my local coffee shop in Seattle. One had a poster that said: “I’m with her” as it was pointing to the earth.

    So, we’ve got goddess worship as science.

  10. Nye’s interview has produced an interesting array of reactions, ranging from “Nye freaks out when schooled by an actual scientist” in your blog to “Bill Nye Destroys climate change-denying Trump adviser William Happer” on the Politics YouTube Channel. How is that?

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