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News Scientists to March on Washington?

  1. Jan 24, 2017 #1
    The women did it so why shouldn't we? Some 50 scientists are trying to organize a similar march.

    http://www.scientistsmarchonwashington.com/

    But is it the right approach to the issues that we perceive with this new administration? Would it be better for us individually to write to our senators and congressmen like the AARP encourages us older folks on issues affecting retirees instead of having an organization speaking out for our concerns? Will this, probably unspectacular march have much of an impact on the direction that the present administration seems to be going. The women's march appealed to a large group of citizens because they can identify with them. How many will identify with us?

    Letter have already been sent to Washington by various scientific organizations. expressing concern over the administration's posture toward science.
     
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  3. Jan 24, 2017 #2

    phyzguy

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    Maybe next time we will organize before the election instead of after. I know several scientists who voted for Gary Johnson last November - I'm guessing they wish they had a second chance to cast that vote.
     
  4. Jan 24, 2017 #3

    Student100

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    I think science (and scientists themselves) should remain fairly distant from any sort of political protesting. Report the research, and let them do what they may. To do otherwise just sends the wrong kind of signals about the objectivity of science itself.
     
  5. Jan 25, 2017 #4

    Evo

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    I don't think a march would be the best idea but concerns should be expressed, but thought needs to be given to how it should be done to make sure that it gets the right media coverage so that it can't be ignored. Staying quiet would be the worst thing to do at this time. But with the current administration, you need to be cautious.

    http://www.nature.com/news/science-under-president-trump-1.20966
     
  6. Jan 25, 2017 #5
    I must be out of touch or something, but what is it about this administration that makes it so much more prone to being labeled as being against all and everything that any group of people can ever think up, just because they say it will go against the status quo, and that it just might maybe interrupt their psychological well being.
    Go back as recent as Reagan and the fortune tellers, and yet that administration did not have an anti-science monkey on its back.
    Einstein wrote a letter about atom-splitting, was it to Roosevelt, which was dismissed. Neither of them was accused of being anti-science( einstein ), nor believing in a prominent scientific opinion ( Roosevelt ).
    Perplexed.
     
  7. Jan 25, 2017 #6
    Well, Trump's campaign strategy largely consisted of speaking out against anything, even contradictory things at times, to pander to different groups.

    As for science, he is a climate change denier, anti-vaxxer, thinks frakking poses no health risks, thinks wind farms are ugly and bad for people's health, and thinks that power saving lightbulbs cause cancer. (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-comments-on-science-are-shockingly-ignorant/) (to name a few).

    -Dave K
     
  8. Jan 25, 2017 #7

    russ_watters

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    While I get the appeal of objectivity, I don't think it exists, nor do I think it is fair or logical to say the people who best understand the research shouldn't have a say in its implications.

    In the absence of true objectivity I would rather fight bias with bias rather than keep the side with the most relevant bias silent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
  9. Jan 25, 2017 #8

    russ_watters

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    I know it isn't exactly what you meant, but odds are that the media is going to be more on top of the anti-science (and everything else) views of this President than ever before. I just don't have a lot of confidence they will do it well. Just playing the odds based on the positions suggests they will be more on the right side than the wrong side, but there are still big blind spots.
     
  10. Jan 25, 2017 #9

    StatGuy2000

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    I agree that Trump's campaign strategy (and his current communication strategy, such as it is) consists of speaking out against anything to pander to different groups. What we don't know is whether Trump's ignorant comments on science reflect his true beliefs, or whether they reflect his pandering strategy.

    What we also don't know (yet) is what the Trump administration will actually do with respect to any form of federal science policy, or will be capable of achieving. There has been some early reports of proposed cuts to funding in various scientific research areas (including research on climate science, nuclear physics, etc.), but that's about all we know at the moment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  11. Jan 25, 2017 #10

    russ_watters

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    A lot of it, I think that he is clinging to recent prominent lost battles, which makes for more prominent positions.

    The other thing is how liberals vs conservatives use anti-science beliefs: conservatives who are anti-science tend to attack science/scientists directly (often on religious grounds) whereas liberals who are anti-science say their positions are scientific when they aren't. The different approaches to anti-Vax is the best example of both. Point being, it is easier to attack someone as anti-science when they come right out and say they are anti-science.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2017
  12. Jan 25, 2017 #11

    Vanadium 50

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    The question is should scientists be seen as impartial providers of facts to decision-makers? Or should scientists be just another interest group?
     
  13. Jan 25, 2017 #12
    Do scientists feel their facts turn into or are seen as "alternative facts" by this new admin?
     
  14. Jan 25, 2017 #13
    We should not present ourselves or appear to as another interest group and that seems to be what we are if you clicked on the "scientists march" link under pages where they state

    But we cannot just be fact providers either. Some facts are inconvenient truths and are just too hard to accept especially when they get in the way of making money, take smoking and lung cancer. We must speak out where the public good is at stake.
     
  15. Jan 25, 2017 #14

    russ_watters

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    Since I think the first is impossible and the second overly harsh, how about: Scientists are a special interest group that is uniquely qualified to provide and analyze, for policy purposes, certain types of facts.
     
  16. Jan 25, 2017 #15
  17. Jan 25, 2017 #16

    Vanadium 50

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    Fine, but should such a group be involved in a protest march?

    UCS is a left-leaning group of scientists. Should there be a right-leaning organization to balance them? Should right wing scientists join the UCS in an attempt to make it less left-leaning? Or should we just accept their political leanings as the way things should be?

    Russ alluded to the problem: we want scientists' views to be accepted as apolitical truth, but at the same time we want advocacy. Hard to do both.
     
  18. Jan 25, 2017 #17

    russ_watters

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    Emphatically no. Scientists are professionals and have ways of voicing their opinions more professionally than waving a sign across the street from the White House. They are experts in their fields, not armchair activists.
    Agreed, and IMO, the UCS strays over the line from professional advocacy to activism.
     
  19. Jan 25, 2017 #18
    This data is probably getting stale but "Most scientists identify as Democrats (55%), while 32% identify as independents and just 6% say they are Republicans."

    So, I don't know. It's an independent organization. People should join if they agree with what is presented. I don't think it pretends to represent anyone, but I don't see it excluding anyone either.

    The scientific method is apolitical. What we choose to apply that method to is always going to be motivated by some type of emotional interest at some point.

    -Dave K
     
  20. Jan 25, 2017 #19

    StatGuy2000

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    But what you are implicitly assuming is that scientists are somehow divorced from the political process, or should not have political views. But scientists are human beings first and foremost, and like all humans, they have particular political perspectives. If certain scientists are passionate about or wish to advocate for specific political views, especially if those involve issues that is related to their work as scientists, then should we not expect them to be involved as activists?

     
  21. Jan 25, 2017 #20

    russ_watters

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    I'm disappointed that you got that from my posts, because it is exactly the opposite of what I was trying to say.
    They can if they want, but I would hope they could do it more intelligently than sign-waving activism. And I think it would have more impact if they did.
     
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