March for Science Gains Support from Scientific Societies

AAAS and more than 25 scientific societies throw their support behind the event.

By | February 27, 2017

FLICKR, ANUBISABYSS

Update (March 14): The March for Science has released a list of 63 new partner organizations that pledged their support for the event, which now includes 394 satellite marches across 37 countries. “We encourage SfN members in the U.S. and worldwide to participate in these events and to reinforce the central role of science to improve our health and lives and support sound policymaking,” Eric Nestler, Society for Neuroscience (SfN) president, wrote in a statement on March 2. In a February 28 statement, The Genetics Society of America encouraged members to “continue to speak up after the March, to call on policymakers to invest in scientific advances, to enact policies that build on scientific evidence, and to encourage communication and engagement between scientists and the public they serve.”

The March for Science now has the support of more than 25 scientific organizations across the U.S., according to a list released on the Washington DC march’s website last Thursday (February 23).

Among the newly announced partners is the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Association of University Professors, and the New York Academy of Sciences. "Besides giving legitimacy to the march and our efforts, [these partnerships] also give a lot more visibility, which really promotes . . . the message that this is a global issue, not just a DC issue,” lawyer Melissa Slawson, and co-organizer of March for Science San Diego, told The Scientist.

The DC march—and a growing list of over 300 satellite marches around the world—has spurred debates about whether such overt activism will garner support for science or simply increase political polarization. But the new partners emphasize that they consider the March for Science non-partisan. “I believe it’s important that organizers and the science-loving public who participate in related events around the world ensure they are positive, non-partisan, educational, and diverse,” AAAS CEO Rush Holt said in a statement. Similarly, the American Statistical Society (ASA) said in a press release that, “The ASA strives to follow the principle that the application of science to policy be done in a nonpartisan manner.”

Still, some groups appear hesitant to become formal partners. According to Science, a number of organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience (SfN), the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), and the American Chemical Society (ACS), are considering supporting the march but have not yet made a decision. “Although we have a date and a compelling mission statement, there’s a lot that has yet to be worked out,” ASPB CEO Crispin Taylor told Science. “That said, to the extent that the march organizers maintain their emphasis on a positive and apolitical message regarding empirical science and its role in decision making, I expect that, at a minimum, ASPB will support the participation of its members in the march.”

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Avatar of: Old stick

Old stick

Posts: 5

February 27, 2017

In the face of 'unpresidented' attacks on evidential fact it seems to me to be vital that scientists throughout the world unite to protect perception and empiricism as the the only genuine sources of knowledge.

February 27, 2017

I would like the US Scientific Societies to have their annual meetings in Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal so that everyone from around the world can attend without the harrassment of the Trump's border edicts.

Avatar of: Catfish

Catfish

Posts: 4

February 27, 2017

These marches are a really bad idea. To bring someone around to one's position requires subtlety and appreciation of the mindset of the person one is trying to persuade. Let us assume (pretty reasonably) Trump's view of scientists is at best that they are useful techies who can create cool stuff (and get people into space) and (maybe) tell us the future in the sense of the weather etc. but who are are wrong about stuff too, like global warming.  At worst he regards scientists as being like the media, democrats and all the other groups he does not like whinging idiots/liars who in addition take public funds. What  position on scientists will be re-inforced by us marching? I want to try to bring Trump around to the importance of evidence etc. Quiet words in his ear will have more effect that public marches which just mean we get binned in with all the other anti-Trump groups. Yes the marchers will feel good about themselves but if that means Trump is less likely to listen to scientists because he thinks we have joined the "enemy" then we have scored a home goal.  Marchers impress marchers they seldom impress their opponents.

Avatar of: True Scientist

True Scientist

Posts: 59

February 27, 2017

Since when the perception and empirism as the geniune sources of knowledge got under attacks???

I have a better idea how to avoid the harrassment of the Trump's border edicts. Let's the US Scientific Societies have their annual meetings not in Canada but in those terrorist based Muslim countries. After all ambushes are over and all blood dries out in the streets we may have much shorter lines at border entry points.

February 27, 2017

We all know what this march will be about.   It will be as "non-partisan" as every other anti-POTUS march that has taken place.  Remember the Women's March, where an original sponsoring group were disinvited because of their pro-life position?  And it may not be without violence.  No, not angry scientists, but agitators parachuted in for the sake of burning and looting.  Will all this be funded by George Soros?  Who will pay for the enormous police presence that will be necessary?  The long-suffering taxpayers including those who voted for the candidate who would save an America on the edge of the abyss.   

So by all means, make science look idiotic by following all the other lefties who cannot get over the fact that we have a democratically elected president. Seriously, the time has come to grow up and use your time writing  grant applications not agitating.

 

Avatar of: Salticidologist

Salticidologist

Posts: 39

February 27, 2017

The scientific society that I head does not support marches or advocacy on behalf of science, but our members are free to do what they want to do in their own capacity.  We do recognize that government participation in science has always been a threat to science as it has a tendency to interject political objectives or political dogma into scientific research.  However, we also think that attempts to organize to oppose this government participation also interjects political dogma into the public conception of science.

Avatar of: Salticidologist

Salticidologist

Posts: 39

February 27, 2017

The scientific society that I head does not support marches or advocacy on behalf of science, but our members are free to do what they want to do in their own capacity.  We do recognize that government participation in science has always been a threat to science as it has a tendency to interject political objectives or political dogma into scientific research.  However, we also think that attempts to organize to oppose this government participation also interjects political dogma into the public conception of science.  Scientists work best as individualists who are always sceptical of published results, even if these appear in "referreed" journals.

Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 213

February 27, 2017

This sort of "march movement" has been seen before with many political efforts, a la the '60's.  They are usually feel good efforts for the participants but end up being only semi-effective politically.  Once done, afterwards, it gets down to full blown real politics lead by those running for office.  This movement isn't a waste of time, but big advertising, a precursor to things yet to come.

Working on grants, writing papers, and hoping the science will speak for itself has always been nonsensical without some sort of inside political advocacy.  Historically, the only thing that has ever gotten any political movement in this Country has been through agitation followed by inside politics.  Any idea that only subtle whispers to President Trump will do anything for science makes no sense.    

Avatar of: Paul Stein

Paul Stein

Posts: 213

Replied to a comment from true american scientist made on February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017

George Soros, lefties, candidate who would save America on the edge of the abyss?  This sort of terminology appears to be from one who may just worry about the outcome being against one's own political views.  

I do completely agree about the worry of those masked, hooded anarchists who simply tag along for the rioting and destroying. One hopes there will be some firm self-policing of events by organizers to remove any of these folks.

Avatar of: JMinCA

JMinCA

Posts: 4

Replied to a comment from True Scientist made on February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017

I am not sure if you are being sarcastic.  However, having the meetings in banned contries will NOT help avoid harrasment.  It will subject ALL scientists at border entry points to greater scrutiny since they will be returning from one of the banned countries! 

I would gladly attend a meeting in Canada, or Mexico, or even Europe or Australia if I could afford the airfare.  But I am not convinced that would be helpful to US scientist re-entry either.  If CBP can detain Muhammed Ali Jr., a US citizen, on his return from out of the country, what will they do to less famous US citizens?

So, the even better idea to avoid harrassment of #45's border edicts is to make sure they are blocked in the Courts, and CBP is held accountable for their behavior. 

Avatar of: Mike Holloway

Mike Holloway

Posts: 22

Replied to a comment from Catfish made on February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017

" I want to try to bring Trump around to the importance of evidence etc. "

The major mission of this march should be educating the marchers on why they're there.  This isn't about the Narcissist, and the anti-science campaign did not just start this Jan. 20th.  The Narcissist is only a flag just recently planted on the tip of the iceberg.  This march is for, and about, the country.  Its about the very real need for people who care to stand up against the misrepresentation and misappropriation of science for political ideology and conspiracy theories.

This needs to be a teachable moment about the absolute necessity of government funded research, of what science is, how its done, and how to tell the difference between peer reviewed, evidence based, science and mere assertion.

 

Avatar of: Catfish

Catfish

Posts: 4

Replied to a comment from Mike Holloway made on February 27, 2017

February 28, 2017

"This needs to be a teachable moment about the absolute necessity of government funded research, of what science is, how its done, and how to tell the difference between peer reviewed, evidence based, science and mere assertion."

If people are skeptical of the above, how will the march remotely persuade them? Worse could it make them more anti-science?

 

Avatar of: Salticidologist

Salticidologist

Posts: 39

March 16, 2017

Science is neutral, even with respect to the practice of scientists.  It represents an enlightenend ideology about the nature of knowledge that is little understood by most people who have no comprehension of of role of scepticism and falsification in the advancement of knowledge.  Even many people who do science have an insufficient understanding of the ideology.  Science drives technology and thereby societal change, but it takes no responsibility for the results.  It creates new things as it destroys old things.  There is no morality to this, just inevitability s a result of the evolution of an extreme tool-making species.  Societies that embrace science have become militarily successful and have conquered the planet.  Still, science itself is neutral.  It is like the volcano that buries a city but creates new land in the process.  Science has no cause.  Marching "on behalf of science" is not science.  I is advocacy, and my hypothesis is that it is more a symptom of our times than a cause of anything.  I suspect that there is more hate than love among real scientists for the Federal System of Funding Science (FSFS).  I do know one retired professor who did little science during his tenure but he loved activism.

Avatar of: Salticidologist

Salticidologist

Posts: 39

March 16, 2017

 

 

Science is neutral, even with respect to the practice of science.  It represents an enlightenend ideology about the nature of knowledge that is little understood by most people who have no comprehension of the role of scepticism and falsification in the advancement of knowledge.  Even many people who do science have an insufficient understanding of the ideology.  Science drives technology and thereby societal change, but it takes no responsibility for the results.  It creates new things as it destroys old things.  There is no morality to this, just an inevitable result of the evolution of an extreme tool-making species.  Societies that embrace science have become militarily successful and have conquered the planet.  Still, science itself is neutral.  It is like the volcano that buries a city but creates new land in the process.  Science has no cause.  "Marching on behalf of science" is not science.  I is advocacy, and my hypothesis is that it is more a symptom of our times than a cause of anything, and less than useful.  I suspect that there is more hate than love among real scientists for the Federal System of Funding Science (FSFS).  I do know one retired professor who did little science during his tenure but he loved activism of this sort.  In his narrow view of life, places like Iraq and Libya do not exist.

 

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