A Conservative Journalist’s Reflections On The March For Science Protests

REUTERS/David Ryder

Michael McGrady Director of McGrady Policy Research
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The March for Science was an event shrouded in controversy. Merely, the main impetus for this event was to be a “counter” to the Trump Administration’s so-called war on science.

Last I checked, there was no such declaration of “war” ratified by Congress on one of the most important general fields of interdisciplinary study our society depends on. In fact, through the mission to protest an alleged anti-science agenda, the only war that was declared is on the government taking a stand for scientific integrity and decentralizing the propagation of science as a public policy priority.

Granted, I contend that there is a role for scientists in the public sector – may it be biologists, doctors, you name it – but, the real death to scientific scrutiny comes when there is no room for disagreement for those in the private sector.

This past Saturday, thoughts like these weighed heavily on my mind as I embarked to attend the local March for Science protest in my hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

To begin with the experiential aspect of my “journey,” the protest allowed me to be enthralled by a grief people are feeling. The grief, to me, is misguided and ultimately unfounded; nevertheless, the protest at City Hall in Downtown Colorado Springs was an excellent example of the vocal majority shutting out a silent majority.

No, I am not trying to boggle your mind with a series of literary devices or demean, but dang… these people gave more credibility to the argument that the left’s crusade for logic is the most illogical thing in American politics, currently.

Save your petty qualms of the left as I say that they are a fastidious group. Something I can respect. Regardless of that, the attentiveness to a diversity of opinions on the state of science at this protest, and others like it, is willfully malignant.

A series of speakers at the protest of roughly six to seven hundred people supported the concept of “differing” opinions. They did this by having self-avowed socialists and political environmentalists speaking on behalf of the entire left-wing movement, with the added support of the Democrats.

They argued sentiments that “we the people” need to fight alternative facts to the most trying issues of our time. Of course, the argument which proclaims that settled science shan’t be challenged illustrated the extent of the event’s stubbornness. This was reminiscent of the occupy movements from earlier years.

Climate change was brought up, of course. The speakers at the protest, to a large roar of support from the crowd and the cars honking while passing by on Nevada Avenue, attempted to argue that the current presidential administration in its attempt to siphon money from funding on all climate-related research is dooming us to the climate cataclysm we are doomed too in the next fifty to a hundred years. “97% of all climate scientists agree on climate change” was a favorite line for the crowd, as well.

But, what was most revealing of the arguments from the March for Science organizers at the Colorado Springs event, at least, was that there is a repression of individual, independent thinking because of the “religious right.”

The speakers at this rally used examples like Galileo, Nikola Tesla, and Albert Einstein to argue that repressed thought comes from a society and government that does censor freewill, blinded by the Judeo-Christian ethic. The most repugnant thing out of all of this, though, was the lack of historical understanding these people had regarding individuals like Galileo, Tesla, and Einstein. It was shameful to watch as crowds ate it all up as they took their protesting needs out of anger against an administration that has differing political beliefs, policy goals, and budget priorities.

For example, when Galileo was used as an example as a scientist who was persecuted for bucking the norms, the presentation of the information was clearly half true. Even a quick Google search will yield that Galileo, yes a pioneer in astronomy and “rebel” against the authority of the Papacy, was still very devout in his Christian beliefs. It is a contextual thing given the era Galileo lived in, yes, but the true Galileo was a man that viewed religion and science as complementary schools of thinking.

He said, “God is known by nature in his works, and by doctrine in his revealed word.” Similarly, centuries later, Einstein said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” And in between, Tesla said, “the gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power.”

Granted, the seriousness of the faith of Einstein and Tesla are still widely debated. Aside from that, it is in my opinion that all three of these renowned scientists, and modern thinkers, are yearning for a divine answer that can ultimately be personified into some type of deity.

So, with that, the religious right’s supposed repression and the catalyst of such argument is illogical. There were also small issues I bit my tongue on when I was surrounded by protestors dressed like Antifa members, or in lab coats and goggles, or in the trademark “pussy” hat. I was there to observe, not incite the battle of Colorado Springs.

One of those “small” issues, after my research and preparation for writing the final draft of this op-ed, became one of my other “big” issues.

This issue: no regard for other scientists – by trade and belief.

In simplicity, I viewed that the March for Scientists, based on the Colorado Springs protest, was a march for climate scientists or environmental scientists.

Was there a stumping for petroleum engineers? What about astrobiologists (yeah, it’s a field)? No.

At this particular protest, and some that I watched via other media coverage after the day’s events, there was an attitude that if you’re a scientist that disagrees with the “settled science,” you’re no longer credible and, even worst, a joke of a scientist. This, besides the blaming of the religious right, was one of the abhorrent arguments of the entire protest.

People who work their lives to obtain post-graduate and doctoral degrees in some of the most vital fields of hard scientific inquiry (biology, botany, medicine, pharmacology, meteorology, physics, chemistry, general engineering, and general technology etc.) are not versed or reputable if their hypotheses yield differing results. It’s demeaning. Constitutionally protected, yes, but demeaning.

The culminating result of my day, after all my qualms, was admiration. Admiration for people who can buck the majority of a field and be unique to contribute to a pure marketplace of ideas. And of course, I am talking about the scientists who challenge the norms perpetuated by the progressive liberalization of science.

I leave you, now, with a question. What can we do to make it clear that the right wing is equally supportive, even more so, of scientific inquiry and freedom of thought and conscience? You can believe in outdated man-made climate change progression models. I can believe in vaccination choice for my future child. It’s the ability of Americans in our current state of society to march (even, how stupid it may be), challenged, and exercise free will. But, when the vocal majority starts to suppress other valid perspectives, our free society is lost.

Again, to impress the level of importance of this paradigm, it’s your First Amendment right to fight for climate change research funding. However, it is also the First Amendment right of the repressed climate scientist – with differing viewpoints – to challenge that sentiment. Don’t forget that.

Call me anti-science or a climate denier, all you wish. I care less. However, the overarching opinion isn’t always right.