Regarding the March for Science that took place on April 22nd, the point, as far as I saw it, was to get scientists engaged, in addition to the obvious message that people care about data driven decision making in Washington. Bill Foster, a PhD physicist and United States congressman from Illinois put it far more eloquently, and I suggest that you read what he had to say on the matter. Considering the historically unprecedented amount of support and participation from scientists, non-scientists, and professional societies, as well as the degree of individual engagement from practicing scientists that I witnessed, the march was successful. I don’t think that many people really expect for people marching in the streets to persuade congressmen to change to being less political and more data driven, but the whole thing definitely served to plug otherwise largely anti-social and aloof scientists back into reality and get them in the mindset of engaging in public discourse again. In this sense I believe that the march was very successful and is merely the first step in a long path of bringing scientists out of their small academic bubbles and back into the communities around them, which is something I personally am trying to accomplish in my own way with this blog.
If you are interested in ways you can help bring science back onto the table in policy making discussions, the time to do so is now. The Union of Concerned Scientists just published an article detailing a particularly egregious bill going through the Senate right now that would cripple the EPA and OSHA as they try to make scientifically informed decisions about what is safe and healthy for consumers and citizens, so there is no time to waste in continuing to stand up for science.
If you are interested in getting more plugged in with scientifically minded activism I can personally suggest the work of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, the Union of Concerned Scientists, The Environmental Defense Fund, and many more organizations that are doing great work (Like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club). If you are more religiously minded and do not really know where you stand on issues of science and faith, let me wholeheartedly suggest Biologos, as well as Reasons to Believe (though I disagree with some of what they have to say), but stay as far away from Answers in Genesis and Ken Ham as possible though.
Don’t let this weekend’s historical moment pass by unmarked. Take advantage of the momentum gained to further propel our country forward with data driven policy making and the intelligent and conscientious use of resources. When science is done well everyone benefits.
Update: The American Association for the Advancement of Science has just sent out a wonderful email detailing all the ways they intend to prompt and facilitate further engagement from the scientific community. The results of the march are already being felt. Read it for yourself here: