The March for Science is a march against greed and ignorance

The organizers of tomorrow’s March for Science declare: “We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”

I understand the desire to present this in nonpartisan, inclusive terms, and yet the urgent need to defend science comes from the fact that it now faces a concerted attack from the leaders of multiple government agencies including the occupant of the White House.

Moreover, this attack does not represent a counter-scientific body of opinion. On the contrary, what it represents is a body of interests that see in science a threat to their investments.

The strategy being pursued by those who see science as a threat to their wealth is to promote ignorance and erect barricades that are designed to obscure inconvenient truths.

This isn’t a debate in which a lack of appreciation for the value of science can be countered by the promotion of its virtues.

It is not a struggle of ideas through which a new paradigm replaces an outmoded system of belief.

It is a struggle of values standing up against those who prize their possessions more than truth or life itself.

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  1. “What it represents is a body of interests that see in science a threat to their investments.” This is a crucial insight into a conceptual asymmetry that makes mutual understanding almost impossible. Seen from the right, talks of facts (and even policies) is just a way to disguise or promote interests. Liberals are therefore ‘hypocrites’ at best. Seen from the other side, rightwing intentions are equally incomprehensible and huge efforts are made to normalize them, which often involves pretending that rightwing pundits and politicians are not saying what they are obviously saying.