Keep them mad. Maybe serious science is coming up for oxygen… just maybe. From Emma Marris at Nature:
On 23 October, a group of current and former volunteers posted an open letter to the central March for Science organization in New York City, alleging that it is secretive, insensitive to the concerns of its volunteers, and unwilling to share power or information with organizers of its many affiliated ‘satellite’ groups around the world. The volunteers also claim that the organization sidelined and stonewalled experienced activists who wanted the movement to focus on how science can be used in ways that perpetuate racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.
In a statement to Nature, the March for Science said that it welcomed the “concrete feedback and suggestions”. But volunteers have already walked away from the group, and at least one major satellite group, in New York, has severed ties. The turmoil comes at a time of renewed political activism by US scientists, much of it in protest against the policies of US President Donald Trump.More.
Maybe the organizers wouldn’t need to be so secretive if they could afford to just say the truth and get support: Science has nothing to gain or learn from the activists who claim that objectivity is sexist, algebra is racist, and math is white privilege.
They should not be catered to; they should be rebuked and repudiated. Science has much to offer everyone—but only if basic values like objectivity and sound mathematical reasoning are celebrated and shared, not cast into suspicion.
The activists want to plunder science as they have plundered arts disciplines, making their own sensitivities and grievances the story, rather than anyone’s prospective achievements. If they succeed, the science faculties will have no excuse because they have been warned by the fate of others. The fate of social sciences is instructive.
One can only say to them, finally: No need to remember Bret Weinstein and Heather Heying You’ll be them when the activists get round to you.
What’s really needed now is for Big Science to speak up. But that’s asking people who are obsessed by evidence-based doubt about their claims to grasp what is at stake in dealing with activists for whom evidence itself can be a form of oppression.
Note: News posting will be light till this evening due to other deadlines.
See also: Marchin’, marchin’ for Science (Hint: the problems are back at your desk, not out in the streets)
All sides agree: progressive politics is strangling social sciences
Biology prof Bret Weinstein’s persecutors face sanctions from Evergreen State College
Nature: Stuck with a battle it dare not fight, even for the soul of science. Excuse me guys but, as in so many looming strategic disasters, the guns are facing the wrong way.