March for Science or March for Reality?

By Lawrence Krauss

Shortly after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, it was announced that a March for Science would be held Washington DC and in a host of other cities in the United States and around the world to protest the new Administration’s apparent anti-science agenda—from denial of climate change to dismantling the EPA, to budget priorities that will cut key science programs throughout the country—and to lobby for science-based policymaking as well as support for scientific research to address the challenges of the 21st century.

Meanwhile the Trump administration’s anti-science actions continue. Attorney General Sessions announced just this week that he was disbanding the National Commission on Forensic Science, which advises the federal government to enhance national standards in this area.

I have no idea how the Marches for Science—now over 400 in number across the globe—will play out, and how the media will interpret them. A series of worrisome tweets emanating from the March for Science twitter account over the past week, following similar early statements made on the groups website that were subsequently removed, claimed that scientific research promotes violence and inequity in society. These have been disavowed but the variety of mixed communications from leaders of the march over the past months suggests at the very least that the organization encompasses a wide diversity of agendas.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. I’m on my way to the Science March in Cleveland now.

    I am not a scientist, I am a citizen who understands the value of science and technology in every waking minute of my day. Therefore, I have vowed to be one more body in the total count of this, and other marches, including next week’s Climate March in Washington.

    FWIW, my sign says, “Facts Should Always Dictate Policy.”

  2. The UK could also use a “March for Reality”, rather than counting muppet votes based on customised “Facebook likes” fed to them by foreign propagandists!

    So while Theresa may calls an election to try to muster extra “authority” for brexiteer fairytales, the electoral watchdog is investigating the undeclared sources of some of those brexiteer fairtales!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39672956

    Leave.EU investigated by watchdog over referendum ‘offences’

    Campaign group Leave.EU is under investigation over “potential offences” during last year’s Brexit referendum.

    The Electoral Commission is looking into the spending returns of the group, saying there were “reasonable grounds” to suspect offences may have occurred.

    Leave.EU has faced claims it failed to declare advice given by an American social media strategy firm.

    Leave.EU founder Arron Banks said he would “vigorously” contest the allegations.

    The group, which was backed by then UKIP leader Nigel Farage, ran a separate campaign to Vote Leave, the officially-designated group backed by senior Tories.

    The Guardian reported last month that Leave.EU was advised by Cambridge Analytica, a company hired by Donald Trump during his US election campaign, which uses artificial intelligence to personalise political messages according to the things voters say and “like” on Facebook.

    It said campaign filings published by the watchdog in February made no reference to Leave.EU’s association with the Washington DC-based company, which also has offices in London and New York. It said the issue had been brought to the watchdog’s attention by Labour MP Stephen Kinnock.

    Cambridge Analytica is largely owned by Robert Mercer, a US businessman who helped to fund Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

    The Electoral Commission said the investigation would focus on whether one or more donations – including of services – accepted by Leave.EU was “impermissible” under UK electoral law and, as a result, whether its spending return was complete. It would not elaborate further.

    Under UK law, foreign citizens cannot donate to political parties or other organisations unless they are on the electoral register.

    Companies and other corporate donors – including limited liability partnerships and unincorporated associations – have to be based and registered in the UK.

    Mr Banks, a leading UKIP donor in recent years, tweeted that the watchdog had “allowed the government to spend £11m on a pack of remain lies” – a reference to a controversial pamphlet backing EU membership sent to every household in the country.

    The insurance millionaire, who is a close ally of Nigel Farage and is considering standing in the general election in Clacton, told the Observer last month that Brexit had been a “war” and he “did not give a monkey’s” about the Electoral Commission.

    A very Trump-like attitude to legal requirements and codes of conduct!

    It looks like the far-right’s attempts to manipulate the ignorant to high-jack democracy, and brand valid information as lying “fake news”, are very widespread!

    It also seems, undeclared conflicts of interest are not limited to the USA!

    Various Tory MPs are also having their election expenses investigated!

  3. The US could also use some political leaders, who are literate in history rather than in biblical fantasies through faith-blinkers!

    From RDFS Home Page link!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mark-green-transgender-evil_us_58f8c4cce4b0cb086d7eb012?l1f&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

    Trump Pick For Army Secretary Says He Opposes Transgender Equality Because He Must ‘Crush Evil’… . . . He has also said he believes being transgender is a disease.

    But for Green, there’s also a biblical reason to oppose these policies: He needs to “crush evil”

    So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed.

    So I’m going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I’m going to protect our state against potential infiltration from the Syrian ISIS people in the refugee program. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I’m ready to fight.

    From Wikipedia – The Epistle to the Romans or Letter to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul

    That character Saul / Paul who wrote “Romans 13”!
    Where did his conversion take place again and who was he writing the letters to? – Perhaps this brain addled “Biblical expert” could brush up on his history and geography as well as his gender biology!! 🙂

    wikipedia – Damascus is the capital and likely the largest city of Syria

  4. Bravo, Vicki.

    I’ve just come back from the one in London ending outside the Houses of Parliament. A lot of pix to sort through. I’m hoping RD’s

    “Science. It works, Bitches!”

    snapped against the Parliament buildings works also.

    I’ll post if I can. Lots of young folk and not a few families.

  5. Just returning from the March of Science in Berlin, which convened at Humboldt University and ended at Brandenburg Gate. Thousands attended. A thing of beauty.

    A March For Science is a March For Reality, and more.

    Carl Kruse

  6. As a foretaste to the Washington march, global support for science and scientists has been voices world wide!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-39679629

    March for Science: Rallies worldwide to protest against political interference

    Thousands of scientists are protesting in hundreds of cities around the world against what they see as a global political assault on facts.

    The first-ever March for Science, which has been timed to coincide with Earth Day, is aimed at promoting action to protect the environment.

    Organisers say it is also a celebration of science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community.

    The main event is due to take place later on Saturday in Washington DC.

    The event’s promoters said the march in the US capital was not aimed against President Donald Trump, while adding that his administration had “catalysed” the movement.

    From climate change and pollution to medicine, men and women who support science have been motivated by the coverage of the recent Women’s March and are mobilising to make their concerns heard.

    Organisers of the March for Science Vienna, in Austria, said on the group’s Facebook page that it was encouraging people to turn out to join a movement that began shortly after Mr Trump entered the White House.

    Mr Trump has previously called climate change a hoax and his views have raised concerns among the scientific community that the public are beginning to doubt the facts provided as scientific evidence.

    In London, scientists and science enthusiasts marched from the Science Museum to Parliament Square.

    Many are protesting against what they see as the “alarming trend” among politicians for discrediting their research.

    Ignorant denialist, and corrupt politicians, have always been around, but there is no excuse for the media treating such ignoramuses as if they held authoritative expert opinions!

    Political fantasists and propagandist liars, are still fantasists and liars, whatever badges of pseudo-authority or fancy titles, they award themselves!

  7. I see we have a prime example of dishonest, ignoramus, double-talk, here!
    Nobody should confuse Trump’s pseudo-appeasing blitherings with his actions, appointments or actions!

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/330037-live-coverage-march-for-science-seeks-to-send-message-to-trump

    President Trump said Saturday that “rigorous science is critical” to his administration’s efforts “to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection.”

    Err no!! Rigorous science is critical” of his administration’s failing efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection.”

    “My Administration is committed to advancing scientific research that leads to a better understanding of our environment and of environmental risks,” Trump said in a statement marking Earth Day.

    LIAR!!! Better understanding does not come from shutting down, denying, and defunding research!

    “As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate,” he said.

    Ironically laughable – coming from chief science denier and pseudo-science promoter Trump!!

    Trump remarked on the United States’ “abundant natural resources and awe-inspiring beauty,” saying there was “an obligation to safeguard them for future generations.”

    . . . From hazards like deregulated exploitation, pollution, and climate change! –
    So where is the plan about when to reverse course and to START DOING THIS?

    “My Administration is committed to keeping our air and water clean, to preserving our forests, lakes, and open spaces, and to protecting endangered species,” he said.

    Liar!! Actions and evidence show otherwise!

    At the same time, Trump argued, “Economic growth enhances environmental protection.”

    Delusional wish-thinking nonsense, when referring to carbonaceous Trumponomics, along with obstruction of modern green technology developments!

    “We can and must protect our environment without harming America’s working families.

    Yep! Protect them from pollution from coal burning, pesticide use, quackery, and climate change! All the subjects where Trump executive actions are moving them backwards into polluting obsolescence!

    That is why my Administration is reducing unnecessary burdens on American workers and American companies, while being mindful that our actions must also protect the environment.”

    NOPE! It is removing the necessary safeguards, while denying that the consequences will be grossly damaging to the environment and the people!

    He would not recognise “rigorous science” or ” honest inquiry”, if it bit him on the rump, and when it comes to protecting the environment for the future, he hasn’t got a clue!
    Nor has he any interest in seeking honest expert advice on the requirements to achieve any of this!

  8. I’m toying with the idea of making my sign for the Climate March in Washington say, “Rid Our Government of Fossil Fools.”

  9. As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.

    The schmuck didn’t even write those distorting, manipulative words; someone else did like Bannon or Miller or god knows who. Maybe the ghost of Goebbells.

    It’s almost getting redundant now; the man and his administration are villainous characters. They are nefarious, the worst of the worst. This is capitalism at its worst, in its final stage; they have a mania for short term profit – and the military and energy are there to serve those interests – and have no interest in anything else. These are agents of destruction and cannot function without constantly lying. This is a throughly corrupt administration.

    A sad and terrible time. Will we make it to 2018? Why wouldn’t he bomb North Korea? That must seem like the best way to distract his detractors and to make him look like a strong leader.

  10. Vicki #11
    Apr 22, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I’m toying with the idea of making my sign for the Climate March in Washington say, “Rid Our Government of Fossil Fools.”

    That sounds great!

  11. Dan #12
    Apr 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    As we do so, we should remember that rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.

    The schmuck didn’t even write those distorting, manipulative words; someone else did like Bannon or Miller or god knows who. Maybe the ghost of Goebbells.

    I edited the post with the analysis of that Trump quote, and it seems to have disappeared for the present, so in the meantime, here’s the link again!

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/330037-live-coverage-march-for-science-seeks-to-send-message-to-trump

  12. How about this. A bit long but effective:

    “Conservation is a great moral issue for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.” – Teddy Roosevelt, Republican

  13. Alf! I am so glad to “see” you! It’s been a while. I’ve been thinking about you.

    Trump! What a frigging horror-show. I’m worried about france. Big time.

    In spite of it all I’m feeling pretty good. I hope you are too.

  14. Dan #19
    Apr 22, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    A Trump adviser exposes himself as naught but simple shit.
    Big surprise.

    Yep! A prime example of a denialist ignoramus stooge parrot, who knows nothing, but repeats drivel he has copied from some dishonest propagandist or other denialist ignoramus!

    He meets the standard Trump appointment qualification! – Total ignorance of the subject, an asserted D-K. assertive cluelessness, with no idea how to recognise competent reputable information sources, and a posturing air of possessing “superior” pseudo-knowledge acquired from junk pseudoscience publications!
    Too ignorant to even be aware of his own level of ignorance, and associating with fellow ignoramuses for mutual support in their collective stupidity!

  15. Thanks Dan and Laurie, I have been reading along and giving you guys the likes but I have lost patience with this nonsense. Our country has been taken over. And the Judicial Branch and the Congressional Branch of our government seems to want to do nothing about it.
    Reality lost. So,,,,,,,puppy videos…………….

  16. Very eloquent, Alan! (#22) What does D-K mean?

    Sorry you’re feeling so bleak, Alf. I can’t say I blame you. But it’s not over until it’s over.

  17. I think you misunderstood. I gave up and I’m enjoying the show. I’ve been laughing my ass off every day. When has SNL been better?
    There’s already a dog chasing that car, so I can relax.
    The breakup of the Democratic and Republican party is exactly what we need as voters.
    We asked for other alternatives for decades and got nothing. This is stress unleashed.
    I think in the long run this will have a positive effect, but it is a little disconcerting now.
    It does bring to the surface corruption and deceit on both sides, they have exposed themselves.
    I would be worried if the nation was quiet and the international community said nothing. But the kickback will last to the midterms, if Trump and his minions from hell avoid prison.

  18. Dan #19

    Great video Dan!!
    I couldn’t believe what this shit of person (Happer) is saying. What an imbecile!

    Alan4discussion #22: Yep! A prime example of a denialist ignoramus
    stooge parrot, who knows nothing, but repeats drivel he has copied
    from some dishonest propagandist or other denialist ignoramus!

    Absolutely!

    Allan: Ignorant denialist, and corrupt politicians, have always been around,
    but there is no excuse for the media treating such ignoramuses as if
    they held authoritative expert opinions!

    Political fantasists and propagandist liars, are still fantasists and
    liars, whatever badges of pseudo-authority or fancy titles, they award
    themselves!

    Yes! I hate when media pick this imbeciles. I do not know why. In the spirit of science and “hearing both sides” they need to invite opposite side? But somehow… as it has an opposite effect on getting the message right. Maybe I am babbling, but inviting this Happer to talk about his and of his daddy Trump oppinions on science was not good move from journalists. I mean, couldn’t they just have Bill Nye and this woman (I don’t know her name)? People who watched that could have interpreted that this Happer is an equal expert or an authority on this subject. I hope majority saw that he is a fool and that he doesn’t know what is he talking about. But also is awful this notion (from article at the top):

    A series of worrisome tweets emanating from the March for Science
    twitter account over the past week, following similar early statements
    made on the groups website that were subsequently removed, claimed
    that scientific research promotes violence and inequity in society.
    These have been disavowed but the variety of mixed communications from
    leaders of the march over the past months suggests at the very least
    that the organization encompasses a wide diversity of agendas.

  19. Dan #25
    Apr 22, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Very eloquent, Alan! (#22) What does D-K mean?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which low-ability individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their ability as much higher than it really is.
    Psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger attributed this bias to a metacognitive incapacity, on the part of those with low ability, to recognize their ineptitude and evaluate their competence accurately.

    They are too incompetent to evaluate their own competence, and too ignorant to recognise the existence of the knowledge or expertise they lack!
    Hence they suffer from Illusory superiority!

  20. Dan #25
    Apr 22, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Very eloquent, Alan! (#22) What does D-K mean?

    Awareness of this is not new to those who read competent reputable authors!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    Historical antecedents

    Although the Dunning–Kruger effect was formulated in 1999, Dunning and Kruger have noted earlier observations along similar lines by philosophers and scientists, including

    Confucius (“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance“),[2]

    Bertrand Russell (“One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision“),[10]

    and Charles Darwin, whom they quoted in their original paper (“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge“).[1]

    Geraint Fuller, commenting on the paper, noted that Shakespeare expressed a similar observation in As You Like It (“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool” (V.i)

  21. On the topic of banner slogans, I suppose I should dig up this one from an earlier comment on “Trump’s well oiled White House machine” -Burnt out bearings, lubricated with coal dust! 🙂

    “Making American industry GRATE again”!

  22. Alf,

    A friend sent me this (almost) reassuring message this morning. I am taking the liberty of passing it on to you and others. (I do hope he’s right.)

    “Don’t worry about Trump. He has done more to mobilize the liberals and right thinking people in the world than Gandhi and King combined mid term congressional election are just around the corner. The democrats are projected to do very well. Demagoguery will not work this time.”

  23. Some of the denialist comments which follow the Guardian article @#32, demonstrate the D-K false confidence of those ignoramuses who are regularly fed on trash-media pseudo-science propaganda, and who are so stupidly uneducated that they think this is real science!

  24. alf1200 #26

    I gave up and I’m enjoying the show. I’ve been laughing my ass off every day.

    You sound like Voltaire.

  25. Vicki #37
    Apr 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Hahaha!!! Some good signs here:

    I like the one which says, “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at IKEA”.

    Apparently there was an internet rumour of a plan to make impressive wooden statues of members of Trump’s cabinet to line the corridors of the White House, – but they couldn’t find any planks thick enough! 🙂

  26. Alan

    but they couldn’t find any planks thick enough!

    That’s a Brit joke. I’m laughing because Americans must be reading this and thinking “WTF does a plank have to do with anything?” I only understand the plank reference because I happen to have a friend from Manchester, England. 😉 She often remarked on someone being “thicker than two short planks”. I’d never heard of that particular insult before or since then.

  27. Seeing as this is a science topic and jokes have cropped up there was a brilliant one in The Big Bang Theory last week. Werner Heisenberg is out driving his car when he’s stopped by the police.
    Policeman: “Did you realise you were doing 85 mph sir?”
    Heisenberg: “Dammit, now you’ve told me that I don’t know where I am anymore.”

  28. Vicki #37
    Apr 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    I see the pseudo-scientists managed to sneak in their signs!

    “God drowned the last group of climate change deniers”, + a sketch of an ark!

    and on another link, the asserted ignorant biology-duffer claim that,
    “Science says there are only two genders”!
    (male, intersex, hermaphrodite, female, sterile, – looks like more than 2)

    Perhaps they were also having difficulty with understanding that
    2 + 2 = 4 placard, as pseudo-science always was bottom of the class for measuring, calculating, and checking evidence! 🙂

  29. There are more good photographs here!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-39679629

    March for Science: Rallies worldwide to protest against political interference

    Thousands of scientists have taken part in demonstrations around the world in protest against what they see as a global political assault on facts.

    I particularly like the placard which states:

    Science – basically – an inoculation against charlatans.

  30. On the subject of “REALITY” Europe has started to bring the UK brexiteer fantasists down to Earth, with a set of conditions for negotiations.

    There were those brexteers who wishfully thought their “brilliant negotiating skills” would allow them to dictate to the other 27 EU member states, have their cake and eat it, and acquire a better trade deal for Britain than the one the other EU members have, or the one which Britain has at present pre-brexit!

    In reality, they won’t even get to sit at the negotiating table for European trade talks, until after the UK has sorted out its financial responsibilities to the EU, Irish border issues, and the rights of UK and EU immigrants working in their respective countries!

    The EU has also stated that the UK election is a domestic issue (basically about divisions in the Tory Party) and will make no difference to the EU position in negotiations.

    Meanwhile Northern Ireland and Scottish politicians are talking about leaving the UK to remain in the EU.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-39747884

    European leaders are expected to spell out how Northern Ireland could rejoin the EU after any future border poll.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-39755124

    European Council President Donald Tusk has called on the UK to come up with a “serious response” on what will happen to EU citizens in Britain after Brexit.

    We need guarantees,” he said in Brussels as 27 EU leaders backed the bloc’s Brexit negotiating guidelines.

    The rights of EU citizens to live, work and study in the UK is one of three topics they want dealt with in the first phase of Brexit talks.

    The EU’s negotiating guidelines, first proposed by Mr Tusk in March, list citizens’ residency rights, settling Britain’s financial commitments to the EU and avoiding a “hard” border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland as the three top issues needing agreement in what are termed “separation talks”.

    Only once “sufficient progress” is made on these topics can talks touch on the UK’s future relationship, including any trade deal, with the EU.

    Speaking after the summit, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker again stressed that separation talks could not run in parallel with talks on a future trade deal with the UK, backing the line taken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she arrived in Brussels.

    For now the emphasis on unity is real, and the determination for the EU to negotiate as one should not be underestimated in London.

    Speaking earlier, French President François Hollande said there would inevitably be “a price and a cost for the UK – it’s the choice that was made“.

    “We must not be punitive, but at the same time it’s clear that Europe knows how to defend its interests, and that Britain will have a weaker position in the future outside Europe, than it has today within Europe.”

    On the issue of the UK’s financial obligations, EU officials estimate that Britain faces a bill of €60bn (£51bn; $65bn) because of EU budget rules. UK politicians have said the government will not pay a sum of that size.

    Britain certainly won’t tamely accept that it has to pay a huge divorce bill – but it’s likely to find the Europeans united on the concept if not the precise amount, the BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Brussels says.

    Thersa May’s position of, “hide the lack of a coherent plan from the voters and ask for more AUTHORITY for her stance”, looks increasingly transparent – and could collapse – but for the shuffling fudgist incompetence of Jeremy Corbyn – Leader of the (lack of effective) Opposition in parliament – who is pretending brexit is not a key issue!

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