We live in an age of alternative facts and destructive doctrines based on outright lies. This is not the first time Western Civilization has come face to face with its ugly side. The Dark Ages of Medieval Europe was filled with millennial cults, and very little knowledge. Powerful institutions decided what was true, the facts be damned. The soil, economy, and public health deteriorated.
But we broke out of it. Sort of anyways. Eventually everyone had to admit the Earth went around the Sun and so did planets like Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. Stars were distant, and we now know them to be in some ways similar to The Sun. And they too have planets.
The Enlightenment in a few ways, for a few people, pushed back the darkness and reminded us of the power and importance of actual observations beyond dogma. Galileo pointing a telescope at the sky and reporting exactly what he saw, Newton doing the math of gravity, the users of microscopes seeing one celled creatures in the water and learning how a few of them cause diseases, created a factual basis for knowledge and then knowledge became something that we could use to create better communities. It meant you could actually stop a cholera outbreak and save thousands of lives today, and build functional sewage treatment plants so outbreaks do not happen in the future.
I March for Science because the current mania for alternative facts creates a real risk to the public health, and to the health of the planet that we depend upon for our daily bread. We must have clean water, clean air, a climate safe economy, healthy food if we are to thrive. It is just that simple. And Science, Truth, the public health are under attack from the forces that have done this before. The denying of evolution and climate change, or that smoking cigarettes causes cancer, the use of alternative facts, is being used by ideologues in high office to promulgate policy positions that threaten modern civilization based on their apocalyptic and market oriented fantasies. It is only by demanding that we go back to a truth based system, a system based on accurately studying and measuring what is happening in human beings, in our communities, on our planet, and in the Universe, that we can design real solutions for real problems like climate change and the scourge of war rather than phony problems like how like how the election was rigged by illegal immigrants and they are stealing all the jobs.
The United States, like every industrialized nation, has supported science and reaped massive benefits in proportion to that support. Research and development is responsible for the wonders of the modern world as well as many of its worst horrors like nuclear weapons. But it is only a closed minded few that think it makes sense to cut off the flow of new information about how the world works or to stop using the knowledge we already have. That those who wish to live in a fact free universe rule our nation today, and have made clear that they want to make the world safe for poisoning again, tells me how important science is to the proper functioning of our communities. So we March for Science.
I have been conducting a several year study of a population of amphibians in an urban cemetery. The pond they use for breeding is filling in. Amphibians are a global canary in the coal mine disappearing faster than any other group animals on the planet, and this pond, silting in from inappropriate land management practices that could easily be remedied if facts ruled, and threatened by climate change, needs a little restoration. To do this I have to demonstrate that I understand how the system currently operates, and how my modifications to the system will improve the health of the amphibian populations. I wish the process were easier to navigate, but I am also very happy that a fact based system based on real wetland biology, governs what I can do to a little rainwater pool. And that same real world understanding ought to govern every land use decision being made. But that real world understanding is exactly what the government is about to kick to the curb so that looting the planet can be faster as the world gets hotter and our communities less secure. So I March for Science.