Monday, April 24, 2017

I was at the March for Science on Saturday

(Will blog on Harry Lewis's 70th Bday next week-- Today's post is more time sensitive.)

I was on the March for Science on April 22. Here are some Kolmogorov random comments

1) Why should I go to it? One less person there would not have matters. AH- but if they all think that then nobody goes. The Classic Voting Paradox- why vote if the chance that your vote matters is so small (even less so in my state- Maryland is one of the Bluest States).  In the case of the March For Science there is another factor- since I live in Maryland I really CAN go at minimal effort. Most of the readers of this blog cannot (Though there were some other marches in other cities. Scott was at a March in Austin Texas.)

2) One of the speakers said something like `and the fact that you are all here in the rain shows how much you believe in our cause!'  While the rain might have made our being there more impressive, I wish it had been better weather.

3) Here are some of the Signs I saw:

What do we Want!
Empirical  Based Science!
When do we Want it!
After Peer Review!

Trump- where's your PhD? Trump University?
(This one is not fair- most presidents have not been scientists and have funded science. Trump himself not have a PhD  is not relevant here.)

A sign had in a circle:  pi, sqrt(2) and Trump and said: These are all irrational.

A 6-year old had a sign: Light travels faster than sound which is why Trump looks bright until he talks (I think her mother, who was there, made it for her).

Science is the Solution (with a picture of a chemical Flask)

If you are not part of the solution you are part of the precipitate

Truth is sometimes inconvenient.

So severe even the nerds are here

I can't believe I'm marching for facts!

There is no planet B (this refers to if Global Warming kills the planet we can't go elsewhere- a play off of `Plan B')

I'm with her (pointing to the earth) (The person with this sign told me she used the same sign for the Women's  March- so recycling!)

Science has no borders

Science doesn't care what you think.

Its not Rocket Science- well, some of it is.

4) The March For Science was the same day as Earth Day and many of the talks mentioned global warming and pollution. Many of the talks mentioned the contributions of women and minorities. One of the speakers was transgender .Hence the March had a liberal slant. BUT- if believing in Global Warming and wanting to open science up to all people (e.g., women and minorities) are Liberal positions, this speaks very badly of conservatives. First ACCEPT that Global Warming is TRUE- then one can debate what to do about it--and that debate could be a constructive political debate.  One talk was about Indigenous Science-- I can't tell if its a healthy alternative  view or ... not.

A more telling point about the march having a liberal slant is the OMISSION of the following topics:

Technology has

(a) helped Oil people extract more oil, and fracking to be cost effective

(b) GMO's  have helped feed the world and have had no ill effects (I think anti-GMO in America is a fringe view-- I don't know of any elected democrat who is anti-GMO, though I could be wrong. I think its a more mainstream view in Europe.)

(c)  make the weapons that keep us safe (that's a positive spin on it)

(d) DNA used to prove people GUILTY (they did mention DNA used to prove people INNOCENT).

So the March LOOKED like it was a bunch of Liberal Scientists. Does this make it less effective and easy for Trump and others to dismiss? Or are we so far past any hope of intelligent conversation that it doesn't matter?

5) Many of the machers, including Darling and me,  had lunch at the Ronald Reagan Center. Is this an IRONY?

NO: Reagan funded the NSF as well as other presidents, see this blog post of Lance's from 2004. That post is interesting for other reasons: at the time Dems and Reps seemed to both RESPECT science. Trump may be the first one not to- though its early in his term so we'll see how it all pans out. Second, Lance has been blogging for a LONG time! (since 2003, and me since 2007).

YES: See these quotes by the Gipper (ask your grandparents why Reagan is called that):here

6) Will it have any effect? Short term I doubt it, Long term probably yes. An article about the impact of the the Women's March: here

7) There have been Women's Marches, The Million Man March, Civil Rights Marchs, pro-life, pro-choice, anti-war, pro-gay, anti-gay marches before. Has there ever been a March for Science before? Has there ever been a need before? I don't think so but I am asking non-rhetorically.

Cutting EPA because you don't believe in Global warming is appalling, (see here) but I understand politically where that comes from.

Not allowing funding of gun violence because you are pro-gun is appalling, (see here) but I understand politically where that comes from.

IF they cut funding on the study of evolution (Have republican presidents done that?) then that would be appalling but I would understand politically where it came from.

But cutting the NIH (see here) or the NSF (has he done that yet or is he just thinking of doing that?) I really DON"T understand- It does not even fit into the Republican Philosophy.

There should NOT be a NEED for a MARCH FOR SCIENCE, Or, to quote one of the signs

I can't believe I"m marching for facts!


  1. other signs seen
    "Save Frosty the Snowman"
    "Don't trust molecules, they make everything up"
    ones about Star Trek
    and one claiming that "all scientists agree" to something anatomically impossible about President Trump

    often felt like a march BY scientists against Trump with the ad-hominem and body shaming attacks on him rather than a march FOR science

    1. I liked the one about people "loosing" jobs due to cuts in science funding.

  2. some more signs these from NYC:
    The oceans are rising and so are we.
    Act now or swim later.
    The universe is filled with protons, neutrons, electrons and morons.
    Reductio ad absurdum: Reject fake facts.
    Science saved my colon, so cut the crap.
    Got polio? No? Thank science.
    Keep your tiny hands off my way too tiny grants.
    Science brought you viagra, don't cut the hand that jerks you.

    Question for the game theory of marches: Is it better to go to a big march eg Washington or your local march?

  3. Awesome read. Wish I could've gone but in lieu of that I attended an Orchestral concert on campus that day (my friend is a violinist in the orchestra). Although I admit..the weather may have influenced my decision...