Krauss’s two articles on the Science March

As I’ve said repeatedly, I’ve been conflicted about participating in the March for Science, and have explained why I decided not to participate—but why I don’t discourage others from doing so. I wish them well, and hope that they effect some change.

In the meantime, physicist Lawrence Krauss has published two simultaneous pieces on today’s March: one in the New Yorker (“What is science good for?“), and the other in Scientific American (“March for Science or March for Reality?”). They’re both good, especially the first one, which makes the point that the March’s goal of “[calling] for science that upholds the common good” is a bit problematic. That goal, says Krauss, leads to political decisions about supporting science having foreseeable and beneficial concerns to humanity, and of course turns the “common good” into an “inherently political” and subjective aim that shouldn’t govern scientific research. I agree with him when he says that pure curiosity should be the center of the scientific enterprise. And his point about science being, in that respect, similar to the humanities—a kind of art, but one that finds objective truth—is one I’ve often made. But here—read for yourself:

And yet, as important as these economic and technological spinoffs of science are, knowledge, in itself, is still at the center of the scientific enterprise. In this respect, perhaps the greatest benefit of science for society is how it transforms our culture. Science provides us with a new perspective on our place in the cosmos and a better understanding of ourselves as human beings. It helps us overcome our otherwise myopic preconceptions about how the world works. At a deep level, it allows us to see through some of our illusions about reality, which result from the peculiarities of space and time within which we happen to exist, and to perceive, instead, the detailed, fundamental workings of nature.

In these aspects, science resembles those other human activities, like art, music, and literature, that distinguish humanity as a species. We don’t—or shouldn’t—ask what the utility of a play by Shakespeare is, or how a Mozart concerto or a Rolling Stones song upholds “the common good,” or how a Picasso painting or a movie like “Citizen Kane” might be in “the national interest.” (Perhaps it’s because we insist on thinking in such terms that support for art, music, and literature is also under attack in Congress.) The free inquiry and creative activity we find in science and art reflect the best about what it means to be human.

In one small respect, Lawrence undercuts this thesis by arguing that research driven by curiosity still has had salubrious spinoffs for society, and that, too, should get people to support basic research. Further, a lot of directly goal-driven medical research has itself had beneficial results, or transgenic work like the creation of “golden rice.” That kind of work should be supported.

Nevertheless, human curiosity is a worthwhile motivation for scientists, but, I’d add, only if the results if that research are passed on to the people who fund it: the taxpayers. The implicit conclusion is that to make the results of pure science a true “common good” in the Kraussian sense, researchers must tell the public about their work, making public outreach a real priority for all scientists. (Some aren’t very good at it!). I agree again, and that’s one reason why I do it. And the eloquent quote by Wilson given below should be read and remembered by all of us:

In 1969, Robert Wilson, the first director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, near Chicago, was asked by Congress whether the huge particle accelerator being built there would contribute to “the national defense.” His response then is appropriate now:

No, sir. . . . I don’t believe so. . . . It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. . . . It has to do with, are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending.

Finally, I agree with Krauss’s conclusion about the goals of a good science march, and had the ones given below been the main aims, without the pollution by identity politics and the unsustainable accusations that science itself is a tool of oppression, I’d be adding my carcass to the group:

The March for Science can meaningfully celebrate the ways in which the process of science enhances our lives, and it can usefully demand that the government pursue evidence-based public policy. It’s certainly true that Congress should use the knowledge developed by free inquiry to assist in developing policies to promote “the common good,” as the electorate conceives of it. But the standard of “the common good” should not be the one by which science is judged, because such a standard risks politicizing what is inherently apolitical. The March for Science must be clear-eyed in its defense of the scientific process as an independently valuable human activity. It should defend the core value of the scientific process: discovering more about the universe, and ourselves.

The Sci Am piece deals less with the nature of science and much more with the malfeasance—and lack of respect for truth—of the Trump administration itself, pointing out all the ways that administration has lied about or tried to suppress science. We all know, despite the claims of the March’s organizers, that it’s really a political protest about Trump, more like the “Women’s March, But With Scientists”. That’s fine, but Krauss argues that perhaps Trump himself, and our constant efforts to publicize his administration’s lies and missteps, will itself accomplish what the Science March is supposed to do:

By providing such a constant and sharp explicit and observable contrast between policy and empirical reality, the Trump administration can encourage a new public skepticism about political assertions vs. reality, and a demand for evidence before endorsing policies and the politicians who espouse them—the very things that most marchers on April 22nd will be demanding. This skepticism is beginning to manifest itself in data. A Gallup poll result on April 17 indicated that only 45 percent of the public believe President Trump’s promises, a drop of 17 percent since February.

. . . The Trump Administration is discovering that obfuscation, denial, and hype may work when selling real estate, but in public arena eventually reality has a way of biting you in the butt. And the public is watching. The March for Science may be lucky to capitalize upon a growing awareness that there is no Wizard behind the curtain. The number of marchers, their backgrounds, or even their myriad messages may not drive the success of the March. Rather, it may be driven by the harsh examples coming out every day that reality exists independent of the desires or claims of those in power. In this case, the greatest asset the March for Science has going for it may be Donald Trump himself.

My only beef here is that Krauss, as a secular Jew, should have said “tuchas” instead of “butt”. 

49 Comments

  1. Eduardo
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    “pure curiosity should be the center of the scientific enterprise.” Yes!!

    • Harrison
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Carl Sagan made the point in his essay Maxwell and the Nerds that if you limited scientific research to only what we knew would yield results, you’d be living in a world without radio and television, because the mathematics behind these inventions was discovered out of pure curiosity. The fact is humans aren’t capable of knowing where the next fertile field of discovery may lie, and today’s curiosity-driven research with no foreseeable practical application may be tomorrow’s critical new industry.

      • Eduardo
        Posted April 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Very true. But even then, how exhilarating to the soul is to just know how something in nature functions.

      • Richard
        Posted April 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        I would disagree with that. I suspect that we would still have radio and TV without Maxwell. I doubt very much that Guglielmo Marconi, John Logie Baird, Philo Farnsworth, and a host of other innovators, worked from any mathematical description of electro-magnetism. Rather, it was more likely a case of “I’ve had this great idea, now how can I get it to work?”. And tweak and twiddle as required…

        Throughout history, technologies have generally been developed first, and only later has someone worked out the underlying mathematics. E.g. siege engines such as mangonels and trebuchets, and later cannon, were being used to bombard cities effectively long before anyone worked out the laws of motion, gravitation and air resistance which govern the trajectories of projectiles. Steam engines were introduced in the Industrial Revolution well before the laws of thermodynamics were formalized. Orville and Wilbur Wright were flying before much was known about aerodynamics. Etcetera.

        • sensorrhea
          Posted April 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          I’m not expert enough in the history of science to say for sure where the preponderance of inventions first vs. basic research first lies, but I feel strongly the latter is the winner.

          http://spectrum.mit.edu/spring-2014/the-brilliance-of-basic-research/

          This is especially true in modern times when technology progresses at microscopic and quantum levels.

          • colnago80
            Posted April 22, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            A counterexample: Einstein published his paper on stimulated nuclear emission long before the laser was invented.

        • JonLynnHarvey
          Posted April 22, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

          But often the opposite is true as well.

          Euler worked out the basics of both group theory and graph theory in the 18th century.

          The first was later used to classify many forms of molecular symmetry in chemistry, and greatly aided Crick/Watson in figuring out the genetic code.

          Graph theory is basic to the development of phone networks.

          However, I grant that Newton worked out calculus largely in order to put meat on the bones of his theory of gravity.

        • Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          Marconi and company could not have done what they did without knowing about the existence of electromagnetic “waves” (quotes are presentist, but whatever). These were first found by Hertz, driven by curiousity provoked by Maxwell’s and hence also Faraday’s curiousity.

      • Filippo
        Posted April 22, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

        “Nevertheless, human curiosity is a worthwhile motivation for scientists, but, I’d add, only if the results if that research are passed on to the people who fund it: the taxpayers.” [PCC(E)]

        “The fact is humans aren’t capable of knowing where the next fertile field of discovery may lie, and today’s curiosity-driven research with no foreseeable practical application may be tomorrow’s critical new industry.”

        This must particularly chafe (borderline) scientifically illiterate Romneyesque English undergrad MBA/JD venture capitalists, who can’t be all that sure what curiosity-motivated research can lead to financially-exploitable results. (Though, IIRC, corporations less and less, and government more and more, fund research.)

        Chomsky, whatever fault may be found with him, makes a good point about the privatization of profit and socialization of risk. Corporations profit from government (taxpayer) investment. Government invests in research, then turns its fruits over to for-profit corporations, which consider it peachy keen. When have taxpayers gotten a dividend? “STEM” types “hold” patents, but the corporations for whom they are intellectual/creative/innovative hand maidens get the $$.

        There’s such a push for students to major in STEM fields. I’m sure tech-oriented venture capitalists want that – I wonder how they respond when students instead say, “I want to be like you – a billionaire MBA/JD venture capitalist”?

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know, looking for a silver lining in how despicable Trump and his followers are looks more like a consolation prize to me. Kind of like saying you don’t know how good this food is until you are starving to death.

  3. Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    The product of science is both good and bad. Mostly good, IMO, but the bad could hurt us in a big way, if we are not more careful. That is one reason I prefer to value science mainly as a way of gaining knowledge. Perhaps with knowledge will also come, some day, wisdom.

  4. Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Further illustrating the conflicts outlined in Dr. Coyne’s discussions on how we, as scientists, can best communicate the need for scientific research… in Memphis the March organizers had a falling out (reported in _The Scientist_ 22 March 2017). As a result, today features two events: a “rally” followed by a march.
    //wired.com/2017/04/memphis-two-marches-science/

  5. Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    “he says that pure curiosity should be the center of the scientific enterprise”

    I think Krauss is excellent on this point. Even creationists want the benefits of technology, but (a) reject the freedom of inquiry that drives scientific progress; and (b) reject the cultural or psychological implications of what science tells us about reality.

    Some on the Left harbor similar opinions, being reluctant to open the door to science, fearing its “materialist dogma”, or “inherent patriarchy” etc.

    It is important to argue for and emphasize the nature of this link between the unpredictable nature of scientific discovery on the cutting edge (to use aggressive colonialist language) of science, and the benefits of new cell phones and cancer cures.

  6. nicky
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    “It has nothing to do with directly defending our country except to make it worth defending.”
    What a brilliant statement!

  7. Martin X
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    “The free inquiry and creative activity we find in science and art reflect the best about what it means to be human.”

    Gag.

    Krauss is singing to the choir; the people he needs to persuade will have their eyes glaze over reading this article, if they even read it at all.

    If he wants to appeal to non-science people while accomplishing his own goals, he needs to make only two points:

    1) science is extraordinary useful
    2) it’s best done by allowing scientists to pursue what they’re interested in.

    Done, end of story. Everything else is noise.

    • Filippo
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      You’re probably right. Re: Hofstadter’s “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” and Jacoby’s “The Age of American Unreason.”

    • rickflick
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      I disagree. The issue is like a layered onion. Each level must be addressed from top to bottom. You can’t conclude that an articulate expression of important principles is not of any value regardless of whom it addresses. It penetrates society generally. Utility is important but so is poetry.

    • Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      I wish that approach worked too. In my limited experience, people do not believe (2). This extends to even otherwise perceptive scholars like philosopher of science Philip Kitcher, who thinks that for politico-ethical reasons we have to allow “people’s vetos” by allowing those likely to be affected by the work to moderate its study. He mentions ethnic minorities and intelligence research as an example. The problem is of course that one cannot know what the consequences are, nor does he spell out exactly how the moderation etc. are to work. (See _Science, Truth and Democracy_ and _Science in a Democratic Society_.)

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    …leads to political decisions about supporting science having foreseeable and beneficial concerns to humanity, and of course turns the “common good” into an “inherently political” and subjective aim that shouldn’t govern scientific research.

    Fair enough. But the public funding of scientific research is a quintessentially political question. And there’s no reason the expenditure of limited taxpayer funds shouldn’t be directed at maximizing the public good (however it is that that concept may be measured).

    Marchers ought to be entitled to express their views on that topic.

    • Jamie
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Cities, counties and states within the USA are restrained in their spending by the taxes they collect. The Federal Government is not. We can, as a matter of policy, (and do) decide to spend as much on basic research as we as a polity agree to, which indeed makes it a political issue. But there is no reason why the basic research institutions of this great nation could not be “fully funded”. No tax dollars need ever be collected to do so.

      For my part, the “public good” comes not at the front end in deciding what to research, but at the back end in deciding to acknowledge or ignore what science tells us. We will only survive the long term by aligning policy with reality. It is the public good to acknowledge (and fund) science.

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Just for accuracy [& nothing else] here is the 1969 Wilson quote without the very generous ellipses. The parts in UPPER CASE comprise the famous edited quote we all know.

    Pastore: Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of this country?

    Wilson: NO SIR; I DO NOT BELIEVE SO

    Pastore: Nothing at all?

    Wilson: Nothing at all.

    Pastore: It has no value in that respect?

    Wilson: IT ONLY HAS TO DO WITH THE RESPECT WITH WHICH WE REGARD ONE ANOTHER, THE DIGNITY OF MEN, OUR LOVE OF CULTURE. It has to do with those things. It has nothing to do with the military, I am sorry.

    Pastore: Don’t be sorry for it.

    Wilson: I am not, but I cannot in honesty say it has any such application.

    Pastore: Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?

    Wilson: Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, IT HAS TO DO WITH: ARE WE GOOD PAINTERS, GOOD SCULPTURES, GREAT POETS? I MEAN ALL THE THINGS that WE REALLY VENERATE and honor IN OUR COUNTRY AND ARE PATRIOTIC ABOUT. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but IT HAS NOTHING TO DO DIRECTLY WITH DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY, EXCEPT TO MAKE IT WORTH DEFENDING.

    Transcript here: http://history.fnal.gov/testimony.html

    • Posted April 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately, this might well have been why the superconducting supercollider project was allowed to die a few decades later. Once Congress realized high energy physics research does not necessarily lead to better and bigger atomic bombs, they wouldn’t appropriate billions more for it.

      • Filippo
        Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Yep, since many Amuricuns don’t know or care about CERN (or much of anything else outside their direct daily experience), why should Congress much care?

  10. Historian
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    The real shame is that there is a need for this march. Throughout most of American history, most Americans worshiped science, at least in its applied applications. The hundred years from approximately 1820 to 1920 witnessed perhaps the greatest transformation in the nature of everyday life, not just in the United States, but in the world. A Rip Van Winkle falling asleep in 1820 and then awakening in 1920 would not recognize the world. The airplane, electricity, and the automobile would have bowled him over. A person falling asleep in 1920 and awakening today would not experience this shock. He would be able to adapt fairly quickly. Of course, great changes have taken place since 1920, but much of it has been “behind the scenes,” such as advances in health and the introduction of computer technology, even granting that Rip would have been amazed by radio and television. Perhaps because scientific change is not so apparent to superficial glance as it was previously, people need to be reminded that science continues to do wondrous things, even if they are not as apparent as the sudden appearance of a “horseless carriage,”a light bulb or a flying machine.

    Whether or not my speculation is correct about why people do not seem to appreciate science as they once did, the current situation is dangerous and plays into the hands of the right wing, particularly in areas such as climate change. Robinson Meyers notes in a recent posting at the Atlantic:

    “There is a vast partisan disagreement, for instance, on the question of whether scientists near-unanimously agree that human industrial activity is causing global warming. (They do; nearly every study finds unanimity on this issue among scientists. But only 13 percent of self-identified conservative Republicans think that’s the case, as compared to 55 percent of liberal Democrats.)”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/04/climate-polling-burnout/523881/

    It staggers the mind that only 13 percent of conservative Republicans believe that human activity causes climate change. It is not particularly assuring that only 55 percent of liberal Democrats believe so. In any case, science and politics are now intertwined, whether we like it or not. Scientists and science popularizers somehow have failed to convince the American public about how crucial the work of scientists is to retaining and improving our way of life. The march may help in this endeavor, but it is only the beginning considering that the anti-science forces control the government, as is the case with current head of the EPA.

    • Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      What really bothers me is that not only do Republicans have the views you mention, but the trend is *in the wrong direction*. See (IIRC)_Climate Casino_ – a book on climatology etc. written by a (sensible) economist.

  11. Posted April 22, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I’m in DC now, just left the march. It was fun, hopefully it will be a good attention getting device. I have one very practical complaint, the same complaint I make for all large events like this: nowhere to pee! They had porta-johns at the start but nothing at the end. Maybe I just failed to find them. I overheard a lot of others making the same complaint. Biology happens!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Thanks…good stuff. I liked – Evidence is not the enemy.

      • Posted April 22, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

        Sign at the Seattle march said “Science told you it would rain today”, which it did. But since it has rained here nearly every day for months, you probably didn’t need science.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted April 22, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Actually the two days leading up to the march were clear, and the sun is coming out again now as I write, after the march is over.

          The prediction was that the highest probability for rain would be while the march was in progress, and that prediction proved to be correct.

          • Posted April 22, 2017 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, it was a joke. And since you live in Seattle, you know why we joke about it. 🙂

  12. rickflick
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I commented this on another thread. Maybe this is a more appropriate place:

    I’ve just returned from the March in beautiful downtown Poughkeepsie, NY. The turnout was encouraging at about 1000 people. It was very upbeat and a fun time. A band played, children waved their posters with things like “Science is Cool!”. Young families with babies, middle aged, retirees. Passing cars honked their horns in approval. One guy in a pickup gave us the finger. Someone near me said, “That’s his I.Q.”.

    There was no evidence of a regressive left.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh…and there were Porta-Potties.

    • Posted April 22, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      I just heard the report from my home town in Logan Utah: “Big crowd. Only one coal roller.” Can’t ask for a better outcome I guess.

      • Colin McLachlan
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 3:37 am | Permalink

        I had to Google “coal roller” – what is wrong with these people!
        HFB.

        • Posted April 23, 2017 at 5:45 am | Permalink

          They used to circle the block at town-hall protests, dumping cloud after cloud on our small assemblies (usually about half of the demonstrators are little kids). I would have thought Earth Day and Science Marches would be their dream targets, but maybe they realized that it’s a stupid and immoral hobby?

  13. Posted April 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I realise Wilson is answering a specific question with his answer and it is a good one, but i prefer Kruass’s implication of the betterment of all humanity and perhaps in some way not known to me, negating the insatiable thirst of the military budget.
    I can imagine THAT spent on science and education. Yeah i know a lot of science is done in the name of better ways of killing. Yeah but.. would it not be better for our planetary well being to follow the lines of universal truths which science shows and progresses than battering each other over the head? of course it would! he said to himself.

  14. Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    “As I’ve said repeatedly, I’ve been conflicted about participating in the March for Science, and have explained why I decided not to participate—but why I don’t discourage others from doing so. I wish them well, and hope that they effect some change.”

    That doesn’t seem accurate from what Dr. Coyne said before

    “If we are to march, we should march in unity for truth, and against those who reject empirical truth. What unites all science—and makes it unique—is that it is a universal toolkit, used in the same way by members of all groups, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or religion. That is what holds us together. If we start dragging in issues of social justice—and I’m not of course saying they should be ignored in other venues—then we divide not only ourselves, but separate ourselves from much of the electorate, who, as we’ve seen above, generally trust us.”

    • rickflick
      Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      The issue seems to be one of herding cats, which often doesn’t work very well.

  15. Canoe
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    There will doubtless be as many individual reasons for marching as there are participants, and all will not agree, or be agreeable to each one of us. The important thing is to be there, to participate, to support the principle that science is fact based and should not be politicized, let alone relegated to truthiness, as this administration has done and will doubtless continue to do. All the rest is quibbling over quillets.

  16. eric
    Posted April 22, 2017 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    We don’t—or shouldn’t—ask what the utility of a play by Shakespeare is, or how a Mozart concerto or a Rolling Stones song upholds “the common good,” or how a Picasso painting or a movie like “Citizen Kane” might be in “the national interest.”

    This is fine for privately funded science. It’s also fine for science that taxpayers (through their representatives) fund for no other reason than to expand our knowledge. But if a taxpayer source gives a grant for the express purpose of gaining some utility, and a scientist says “yes I’ll take that grant,” then IMO they’re ethically obligated to work towards the goal and purpose of the grant. You don’t take someone’s money under false pretenses. If they gave you money for Planet Earth, you can’t give them Citizen Kane and declare that, well, they ought to appreciate what a fine artistic piece you produced with their money. If you do that, you’re the wrong in the wrong, not them.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean every government grant must be applied and produce something immediately useful. Even DOD understands the logic that basic research provides a long-term, strategic, yet stochastic benefit in terms of new useful technologies. They agree with scientists that not every basic research project can be expected to pay off, and that the ones which will might not do so for decades. That’s okay, so long as both granter and grantee agree on expectations.

    So I slightly disagree with Krauss. We shouldn’t ask the utility of some research when utility wasn’t specified in the grant proposal, yes. But if the grant proposal specifies some expected product, yes the scientist has an obligation to try and produce it. If they don’t want to produce it, the ethical thing to do is not take that grant.

  17. Posted April 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Oddly, Science March has been entirely absent from my Google News feed. Plenty of coverage of the Annual Big Dog Walk though. Ditto for the late news on TV (I missed the main evening bulletin earlier).

  18. bobkillian
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    BTW, Lawrence Krauss showed up in person at our Charlotte, NC, march.(And I got a selfie with him. Yay!)

    He was very well received. Bigly.

  19. Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    perhaps the greatest benefit of science for society is how it transforms our culture. Science provides us with a new perspective on our place in the cosmos and a better understanding of ourselves as human beings. –Krauss

    Which is exactly why lots of Trump supporters despise science. They don’t want their view of the cosmos or of human beings disturbed! Which, in turn, is exactly why apolitical science is a pipe dream. The same exact reason why the idea that science has no implications for religion, is a pipe dream. It was convenient for scientists, especially in the early days, to deny any such implications, and it might be convenient now; but there they are.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, some of that. But, I think a big factor is Trump supporters never did well in science course work in school and never got a deep emotional reward from it. They took blue collar jobs or went into business. They also are embarrassed to realize that they failed when others succeeded and are resentful of pointy headed professors who seem to want to preach to them about how society should be run. Thus, the appeal of Trump who speaks and behaves like a member of a construction crew. Supporting Trump is giving the finger to the intelligentsia.

  20. Jim Smith
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I agree with PZ Meyers et al, if a march for science isn’t all about a guy in a dress and wigs pronouns then what is a march for science good for? Dictionary science, bah humbug!


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