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A force for science vs. a voice for science?

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From Rush D. Holt, chief executive officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), at Scientific American:

In the past few years, we have engaged in more forceful and frequent advocacy, rephrasing our motto from “the voice for science” to “the force for science,” and after decades of slow decline in membership, our rolls have turned around dramatically. Our new members, who like our longtime members clearly value Science magazine, now say that they value even more our public advocacy and efforts to fully integrate science and engineering into society and government.

In short, we are seeing around the world—in marches, in scientific society membership, in civic participation—scientists joining with each other and turning outward. More and more scientists are leaving their cloistered labs and observatories, at least occasionally, and taking a constructive attitude toward seeking improvements in public health, environmental protection, education, and evidence-based policymaking. More.

One senses that this will not end well. Force is something anyone can do and often the less knowledgeable the person is, the better they are at it. If scientists are truly newbies in that kind of thing, they had best be very cautious.

See also: The March for Science is back, with diminished attention

Still Marchin’, Marchin’ 2018 …

Marchin’, marchin’ for Science (Hint: the problems are back at your desk, not out in the streets)

2 Replies to “A force for science vs. a voice for science?

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Holt likes to talk about “evidence-based” policy. He means it in a one-sided way. A quote:


    The genius of science is that it will make ordinary people capable of making very smart decisions. We’ve lost that idea… a lot of ordinary Americans feel they not only can’t comprehend evidence but that it has little relevance for them and has no place in their lives. Climate change comes along and instead of asking, “What’s the evidence,” they say, “I don’t believe in it.”


    Needless to say, he’s holding the picture upside down. In general the people who believe in GW are loyal followers of fashion and receivers of grants, while the people who disbelieve have looked closely at the evidence.

  2. 2
    asauber says:

    More and more scientists are leaving their cloistered labs and observatories

    …and we get less and less science.


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