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Is the March for Science on Washington tailor-made to undermine the cause?

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From Maria Gallucci at Mashable:

Separately, environmental and climate groups are planning a People’s Climate March in April to protest Trump’s plans to scrap former President Barack Obama’s climate policies and advance construction of controversial oil pipelines.

Both climate activists and scientists said they were bolstered by the Women’s Marches, which drew millions of women and men around the world, from Washington down to Antarctica.

Next to signs promoting women’s reproductive rights and dismissing Trump’s past xenophobic and misogynistic statements, many demonstrators carried posters urging participants to “Stand Up for Science” or declaring that “Climate Change is Real” — a fact that Trump said he doesn’t fully accept. More.

Gee, that’ll help.

<em>Coffee</em> Tins When people have spent a lifetime immersed in a discipline, the best way for them to command respect is probably not to just take their cues from anyone with a crowd, a sign, and a mike.

Especially if the last crowds rumbling through the streets represent people who were not listened to before. On climate change, for example:

Worth knowing, from Tyler O’Neil:

“The work of the EPA has been heavily politicized under the previous administration,” Jay Richards, assistant research professor at the Catholic University of America and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, told PJ Media. “There is no evidence whatsoever that the current administration is interested in suppressing genuine research or purging scientific data. It is within its rights to change priorities, and to correct the ideological imbalances of the previous administration.”

Cake fork set - personalised

Richards argued that “so much publicly funded climate research has not hewed closely enough to the data itself, preferring instead to rely on speculative models based on poorly tested assumptions.” Rather than determining “facts on the ground” in order to enable policymakers to “run cost/benefit analyses based on the real world,” the EPA “models assume the question ahead of time, so don’t constitute independent evidence of it.”

“With respect to climate change, it has yet to be determined precisely what the role of human activity is, and in particular, how sensitive the climate is to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Richards added. “What is fairly clear is that most of the models predict about twice the rate of warming as we actually observe. That is the central scandal of the climate change debate.” More.

Question: Do the people who are not marching feel that the marchers represent them in some way? It is possible that the whole culture of “marching” is based on a misunderstanding of how the internet is changing communications.

The non-marchers, if they are average Americans, haven’t changed their views much over the years. From the Brookings Institute:

On the core issue of acceptance of evidence of global warming Americans are in an almost identical place as they were eight years ago. Just prior to Barack Obama’s election in the fall of 2008, 72 percent of Americans indicated that they thought there was solid evidence of global warming with only 17 percent skeptical of such evidence and 11 percent unsure about this matter. In the most recent round of the NSEE—conducted in the lead-up to Donald Trump winning the presidency—70 percent of Americans stated that there is solid evidence of global warming with 17 percent not seeing such evidence and 13 percent not sure. While it is important to note that while there were significant shifts of public opinion regarding global warming in the years between these elections, particularly during a dramatic decline in acceptance during 2009 and 2010 (Figure 1), Obama and Trump will have arrived in the Oval Office with remarkably similar public views on the existence of climate change.

The non-marchers may not be opposed to the marchers in particular. They are on line, doing something different and getting their information elsewhere.

Time will tell. Let’s see if politicians who ignore the marchers lose popularity. All we know for now is that the previous US Administration, by listening to them, did not appear to change many minds.

See also: Claim that US publicly funded science can’t be shared now is false. Could these people please melt down in a private, not a public, place somewhere? The world has business—and science—to do.

Nature: Scientists stunned by Trump victory Really? What does that say about the scientific method?

and

Tenured professor calls it quits (Barry Arrington on Judith Curry).

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2 Replies to “Is the March for Science on Washington tailor-made to undermine the cause?

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    A large march shows there are a lot of people who feel so strongly about something that they are actually prepared to get up from their computers and express their feelings in the real world rather just shout the odds in cyberspace.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    A more effective protest would be to give up all Federal funding. This would make the point and simultaneously HELP science to regain its honesty.

    Needless to say, that ain’t gonna happen. “Scientists” will continue to consume tax money while they spit on the taxpayers.

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