March for Science…in Morris!


There will be a Morris Area March for Science, and I’m planning to be there. Especially given the announced savage cuts to science funding, it’s important that we stand up and testify to the importance of science.

The Union of Concerned Scientists interviewed a number of scientists about whether they’ll participate in the march, and the answers were overwhelmingly in the affirmative. However, there was also one naysayer, and it’s a good idea to consider the opinions of those who disagree in an intelligent way. Here’s Troy Livingstone’s opinion:

I believe strongly in the values inspiring the march. But I also believe it will be a mostly white, mostly privileged and elitist group who will not be or appear inclusive of all people.

Unintentionally, marchers may reinforce the negative stereotype that science isn’t for everyone.

Finally, I believe that the millions of dollars marchers will spend would have had more tangible benefit advocating for science if they went into the accounts of AAAS or the Union of Concerned Scientists or similar organizations.

I’m all for political activism, but I worry, just like with the women’s march, that many people will call this march their contribution to this cause and leave it at that.

What will matter most is not what happens on the day of the march but everything all of us have done and will do every other day of the year.

Those are very good points. I think he’s right that institutional science, by it’s nature, is privileged, and the people who participate will not be representative of the broader group that benefit from, and will contribute to, science (this problem was also not helped by the dudebro scientists who immediately started whining about identity politics as soon as the organizers tried to emphasize diversity). I think we need to reach out to our public schools and school teachers in addition to lab scientists to make it clear that these are issues that affect everyone. It has to be a march for all, not just working scientists, in support of science.

The concern that motivated individuals will spend “millions of dollars” on a demonstration is silly. Don’t try to police how individuals spend their personal efforts. We should be encouraging everyone to go public with their concerns.

But he’s exactly right that this can’t just be a one-shot, one-day show. This has to be the start of the work. It doesn’t immediately solve anything, but it can be a chance to get a greater commitment to working to tear down the ignoramuses in office.


  1. says

    “Unintentionally, marchers may reinforce the negative stereotype that science isn’t for everyone.

    So, if I march, I should bring a sign that says “Science is for everyone!”?

    “I’m all for political activism, but I worry, just like with the women’s march, that many people will call this march their contribution to this cause and leave it at that.”

    I share the feeling. I was invited to the main Facebook page by someone whose family quite literally worship Republican leaders. There was a meetup for this club I was in back in college in the mid-00’s at her parent’s house and they had this large (I don’t know…2.5’x4′ I would estimate) portrait of President George W. Bush. Her political views have likely evolved since then, but I’ve seen indications she’s still been strongly influenced by the anti-intellectualism of her family. But she was nerdy, so she seems to have some internal conflicts…one of those people who enjoys the fruits of science, but doesn’t necessarily support the effort it takes to produce those fruits may be a way to describe her. Anyway, I was scratching my head on why she’d even bother marching for science if she’s not going to bother sticking up for science the other 364 days of the year.

    That said, I hope there are others who will make more regular commitments. But, let’s also be honest (as PZ has) that, despite claims that the organizers may or may not have made about this not being political, it is totally political and the hope would be that, at minimum, people make an effort to care about science at least one day a year — on election day! That, I hope, would be better than nothing.

    And, actually, that may be better than funding specific organizations. If we don’t vote for politicians who will vote for government funding of science, then we may end up having no choice but to privately fund science. We really don’t want to end up there.

  2. Stardrake says

    My lady and I are glow-in-the-dark Norski types, but neither of us are scientists (I once wanted to be, but the math defeated me). We just appreciate the world science gives us, as opposed to the world anti-science gives us. So we will be there in the Sin Twitties, marching along.

  3. Nancy Holst says

    Mr. Livingstone writes, “Just like the women’s march, some people will call this march their contribution, etc.” Yikes! I wonder if he attended the Women’s March in any city. I participated in the Women’s March on Chicago with approximately 225,000 other people. I was amazed at the diversity of the crowd. I didn’t expect it at all. I thought I’d go downtown with my daughters and listen to a few speakers and maybe march down Wabash Ave but, when we got down there, the crowd was shoulder to shoulder. EVERY ethnic group was represented. There were entire families, including babies (and dogs) in strollers. But, I know, I know, we’ve covered this topic previously.

    My point is that this march started the ball rolling and it hasn’t stopped since. There are nearly 45,000 active members of this group on facebook and they announce rallies/events. There’s one today re: Muslim ban. There’s one tomorrow re: ACA. I am 58 years old and have NEVER seen (or participated) in this level of activism. There are classes/seminars on RESISTING and people are getting involved at the LOCAL level. We are currently (6th Dist. IL) working on ousting Congressman Peter Roskam. Just google him and you’ll see what’s been going on. I’ve been to several rallies where he’s attending a fundraiser or meeting w/ only republican constituents and has literally exited through the back door to escape the crowd waiting outside. There’s an iphone app called 5 calls which instructs you what’s being voted on in Washington on any given day and provides you w/ names and phone numbers of who you should be calling to voice your opinion. We’ll be downtown on March 23rd when Paul Ryan comes to town.

    I could go on and on. I’m VERY excited when I see the level of activism in my community now and it ALL STARTED W/ THE WOMEN’S MARCH.

    Finally, I’ll certainly be attending the March for Science here in Chicago on April 22nd with approximately 10,000 other people. (I just checked, that’s the # that has responded YES to attending with another 29,000 MAYBE attending.) I’ve already purchase my T-shirt which says THINK – WHILE IT’S STILL LEGAL.

    If only WOMEN ran the world…..

  4. numerobis says

    The latest thing showing up on my Facebook feed from the march for science is people talking about 314action, and scientists declaring their intention to run for office.

  5. Tethys says

    I too was bemused by the casual claim that many who marched in the Women’s March have let that be their sole action of resistance to creeping fascism. My FB group of 30,000 + has been non-stop with calling, writing, emailing, and organizing other actions both before and since the march. Some of them are getting themselves appointed to various boards and positions within party politics.

    I still hope that tomorrows SCOTUS hearing leads to nullification. The “budget” that advocates starving the poor, especially children and the elderly is quite revealing of the mind-set of your average white male supremacist.

  6. Chuck Stanley says

    I suggest everyone watch the latest episode of Samantha Bee. She points out how democrats are marching and then 12% turn out for an election. She supported all those marches and other efforts on her previous shows. Her point is that that democrats are all rah rah for #resistance and then still continue to lose (and not turn out). Participating in all this stuff is psychologically feel good for participants, but doesn’t really matter much if you continue to lose. I suggest the democrats continue to call for hearings and spend time in the media talking about Russians. All this protesting and chasing after the Russians is exactly what the Republicans want. They win the elections and continue to implement their agenda in the meantime.

  7. Tethys says

    Um, pretty sure the low turn out election preceded the marches. The DEM candidate actually won the popular vote so WTF are all these people using their energy to bash the left for losing what appears to have been a rigged election? 3 million more people voted for HRC, so explain again how the left did something worng and should be punished for being losers?

    Logic should reveal that as a false dichotomy. Please people, stop acting as if we are discussing the outcome of a basketball game and what the left needs to do to win. Start yelling loudly that the election itself should be declared null and void for multiple, factual, criminal acts on the part of cheato and the GOP.

    Today one of the crooks declared that we might have to bomb south Korea now that they are testing nukes. I just can’t even believe the stupidity of allowing them to profit wildly, while simultaneously parasitizing america via the government.

  8. blf says

    Today one of the crooks declared that we might have to bomb south Korea now that they are testing nukes.

    South Korea?
    Fix your compass. Or at least turn the map around.