Science, not Silence! “I don’t want to believe. I want to know.” (Carl Sagan – cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator)
Philosophy 101 courses are full of Relativists – many college freshmen are prone to say things like “Well, that’s not how I was raised. . . ” and “I was always told. . .” and “Everyone around me, back home, thinks. . .”
As a Philosophy instructor, teaching Contemporary Social and Moral Issues, my classes discussed, amongst other things: Abortion, Animal Welfare, Affirmative Action, Euthanasia, and Copyright Infringement. I’m not a trained scientist, lawyer, or doctor, but I have extensive training in logic, reasoning, and argumentation. I was trained, as an undergraduate at Marquette University and a graduate student at The Ohio State University, to inspire my future students to read. . . to question. . . to think!
These days, children are taught to do these things at a much younger age!
Some of my college students had not previously engaged in such inquiry; some of them were surprised to discover that they had signed up for a philosophy class, not a psychology class. They were puzzled, wondering when we’d start reviewing the experiments on dogs, salivating in response to the sound of a bell, or interpret ink splotches that resembled mutant butterflies. (They may have been looking for the red velvet fainting couch.)
There are strong links between Philosophy, Psychology and Neuroscience. I studied all three, and understood that I needed knowledge in each discipline in order to grasp the others. Inquiry, whether it’s philosophical or scientific, is driven by a longing for objective truth, not merely tradition. New discoveries are made, which change the way we understand the world, and we reserve the right to get smarter!
Integrity in research, strict peer review and results that can be replicated, researched and confirmed is at the heart of science, philosophy of science, and philosophy. There is no place for uneducated bias.
Sadly, science is under threat. Doubt is being cast, suspicions raised and conspiracies suspected. On Earth Day, April 22, hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens marched in support of “Science, not Silence”. The Science March’s website documented 610 satellite marches, across the country.
While I was in Washington, D.C., soaked by the persistent rain, and attending a “teach in” with speakers from The Nature Conservancy, like-minded supporters of scientific reasoning were marching in cities scattered all around the U.S., including my home state of Ohio. Athens , Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Delaware, Mansfield, Mount Vernon, Oxford, Toledo, Wooster, Yellow Springs, Youngstown and Zanesville all hosted marches. Many friends were there, signs in hand, and at other satellite marches, from Chicago to Fort Lauderdale.
Now, we act. The Nature Conservancy’s home page declares: “Follow the Science: We can create a future in which people and nature thrive.”
Their Mission: “Conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Every acre we protect, every river mile restored, every species brought back from the brink, begins with you.”
Why did The Nature Conservancy participate in the march? Driven to make the future better for both nature and the people who rely on it, the organization relies on science to help us understand how the future is likely to unfold. Visitors to their website can take the “Connect with Nature Pledge” to put their love of nature into action (see link below).;
Connect with Nature Pledge: “We need nature … and nature needs us. I pledge to put my love of the natural world into action this month and do one simple thing to bring nature into my life just a little bit more.”
I traveled into the city on the D.C. Metro’s Orange Line, from Vienna, headed to the Federal Triangle Stop. After parking in a lot full of Subarus, Jeeps and Prii (pl. for Prius), I made my way to the station, where I noticed that the platform was crowded with passengers clutching handmade signs, ready to march for science.
It was my suspicion that I’d be in good company when I got to the march. City-Data.com claims that 43% of Subaru owners identify as Democrat, with 27% Independent and 4% are Non-Political, or non-Voters. At the entrance to the Metro station was a Virginia voter registration table. I was thanked for already being a registered voter in my home state.
Fellow passengers on the train included: the walking stereotype of a high school biology teacher who doubles as the track coach, young scientists with stars in their eyes, and a scattering of earthy, crunchy, granola tree huggers. Yep, I was in good company! I already had my Metro card, from previous trips to the Nation’s capital, and was ready to get this day started.
The area around the Washington Monument, where the march would start, was fenced off, and security was diligently searching bags and backpacks. Many of the speakers quickly broke through the above stereotypes about scientists, who they are, what they look like, and what drives them, giving a new face to science. The continuous rain didn’t seem to be keeping participants away, and a brave 13 year old girl, aspiring to be an astronaut one day, boldly addressed a large crowd.
The march itself. . . well, I’ll let the rest of my images speak for themselves.
Today in Columbus, OH is voting day – City Council, the School Board and a levy to provide services to seniors are on the ballot. Elections matter, your voice matters, and these elections give a voice to the issues you care about! Wherever you are, be a part of a community that shares their knowledge, learning from each other, and protecting our home.
A simple message, seen all over D.C. during the Science March was: “There is no Planet B!” Hiding our heads in the sand is not an option, and ignoring good science, is just not an option. Take the time to read up on the issues you care about. Ask lots of questions, and be open to answers that don’t fit your preconceived notions.
Read. Question. Think.
Join me on my next adventure,
March for Science: https://satellites.marchforscience.com/
She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMWGXt979yg
Map of Satellite Marches: https://www.marchforscience.com/satellite-marches
The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/
Habitat Network: http://content.yardmap.org/