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Re: <nettime> Why I won't support the March for Science
Michael Goldhaber on Wed, 26 Apr 2017 15:53:51 +0200 (CEST)


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


   I took part on Saturday in the March for Science in SF. It wast a bit
   of d� vu for me, since, about 47 years ago,  I helped organize and
   participated in the March 4, scientists' movement that became "Science
   for the People" (SftP),  and then the first Earth Day the next year.
   Slightly earlier, in 1968, I  was a founder of what eventually became
   "SftP". We objected to science being used for war , especially in
   Viet-Nam, and not only weapons science but anthropology and medicine as
   well, in that context. We opposed a whole range of science for the
   corporations, or for racist ends, and so on. Of course these are still
   valid and important concerns. But they have little to do with the
   origins of the current marches, which are the Trump administration's
   strident opposition to non-corprorate-aiding, non-military research
   which goes right along with its opposition to the humanities and the
   arts as well as public broadcasting.

   Of course, on the whole, the organizers of the current event might be
   accused of being a  bit naive, both as to the likely effects of the
   march as well as the purity of science. For some, the primary reasons
   for marching are  selfish: they want their grants renewed or simply
   want to have a job, as well of course, as wanting to be able to carry
   out the research projects that interest them. That's no more selfish
   though than typical strikers .When they speak in favor of
   'evidence-based"   efforts they are referring in large measure to
   climate science or medicine, where , despite perhaps going a bit too
   far, the approach has mostly been beneficial.

   As far as the philosophical implications or, perhaps equivalently, the
   claims to universality, it's certainly easy for science as well as
   philosophers to claim too much. No overarching view is unproblematic.
   With climate science for example, absolute certainties are out of the
   question. There is only one earth, and in general., at best, scientific
   precautions are statistical or probabilistic in nature. One is simply
   too small a sample. For the right, that is an entirely fallacious
   dodge, but it cannot be logically refuted.

   I myself doubt that the marches will change much of anything, though
   they may add some esprit de corps. They were hardly covered even in
   what should have been the most sympathetic press. But to rail against
   them on Nettime strikes me as absurd to the point nearly of idiocy,
   being principled about utterly the wrong thing.

   Best,

   Michael

   On Apr 25, 2017, at 12:32 PM, carlo von lynX <lynX {AT} time.to.get.psyced.org> wrote:

   I'll try a deconstruction from the perspective of having
   "designed" a leaderless political organization...

   On 04/23/2017 06:54 PM, Florian Cramer wrote:

     1) The central demand of the 'March for Science', "evidence-based
     policies and regulations", is toxic and dangerous.

   This approach has certainly been abused strategically in
   the past, like declaring economics a kind of science. It's
   interesting you mention Popper because in my understanding
   of Popper I would define politics as the space of possible
   choices of action remaining if you remove all the proven
   false options.
 <...>

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