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Nature advises scientists concerned about March for Science’s “special interests”: Shout louder


From the editors of Nature:

Nature is delighted to offer its own endorsement of the march and, more importantly, of the movement that the marchers will represent. We encourage readers to get involved, to show solidarity and to speak out about the importance of research and evidence — not just next weekend, but more often and more forcefully.

Some serious and important criticisms have been made of the science march, its methods and its possible implications. But a sense of the bigger picture is essential here.

Yes, there is a risk, as critics claim, that the march and the wider protest it hopes to symbolize could be diluted or even sidetracked by any number of special interests. Yet there is a straightforward solution for scientists who are concerned about this: turn up and shout louder about what you think matters more. More.

Shout louder? Unfortunately, campus fascists have cornered the market on shouting louder. A small library could be assembled featuring profs whose legitimate research has been silenced as a consequence.

In any event, it’s worth reflecting that, at one time, shouting louder than a pressure group was not the job of a scientist. Nature’s advice underlines the problem.

The really spooky part is that the organizers honestly believe that their problems are with outsiders and not within their own disciplines. One concern is that, when they fail to achieve much, they will become yet another clutch of victims of conspiracy thinking (we have enemies!), instead of reviewing their recent history and strategies in relation to what works.

See also: But PNAS: You are in the Marchers’ gunsights too…

Ten tips for spotting a fake science news story

How did “populism” become such a dirty word? A left-wing journalist offers some thoughts


Blinkers Award goes to… Tom Nichols at Scientific American! On why Americans “hate science”

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