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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science
Brian Holmes on Tue, 25 Apr 2017 05:54:08 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science


Like any of the disciplines, professions or institutions whereby society 
shapes itself, that thing called science is worth struggling over. And 
never was there a better chance to do it than now! I agreee with Peter 
Lunenfeld, and with David Garcia's remarks on Karl Popper. Those who 
support a left/egalitarian position need all the allies they can get, 
and the only way to reach out is to identify what you can respect in the 
politics of the Other - or even in the epistemology of the Other.

What's happening now is new. Fifty years ago when the Cold War 
military-industrial model was at its height, the critique of scientific 
universalism was vitally necessary. Far as I can see, many branches of 
science have changed significantly since then, and the proof was out on 
the streets this weekend. It's not just about defending positions and 
budgets - it's also about the realization that with knowledge comes 
responsibility. In the US there is a lot of public support for 
scientists who demonstrate that realization, because people are aware 
that this is the right time, not just to restore the government-science 
relation, but to fundamentally alter it in favor of an ecological vision.

For the last six months I have had my head in publicly funded 
environmental science, of the kind produced by NASA, NOAA, USGS and last 
but not least, EPA. Without any naivete about the role that 
technoscience has played in creating the climate crisis, or about the 
degree to which the Environmental Protection Agency has been thwarted in 
its core missions, still I am impressed with the new generation of 
ecologists and earth-systems scientists. Trump's attacks are precisely 
targeted on the people who are trying to give democratic society the 
organs of perception that we need to understand the characteristics and 
directions of accelerated and potentially devastating global change. 
This doesn't mean there should be no debate about science in general, 
and even more, about particular research programs. There should be a lot 
more, and it's finally happening. Prem Chandavarkar rightly says that it 
is not enough to know, you also have to act. Political engagement with 
the quintessentially instrumental realm of science is the first step 
toward a highly significant form of action in the present.

Times change and those who cling to outdated critiques become irrelevant 
if not reactionary. One of the most urgent agendas of the present is the 
transformation of the scientific ethos and its institutions.

curiously yours, Brian


On 04/24/2017 02:18 PM, Lunenfeld, Peter B. wrote:

> Dear Eric, Florian et al. --
 <...>

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