Tomorrow is Earth Day. Not coincidentally, it is also the March for Science. One of the first things that the Orange Menace did in office was silence science organizations. He placed prohibitions on press releases, blog posts and media requests from the EPA and the departments of the Interior, Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Add budget cuts to this suppression, and many in the scientific community feel as though they have been politically targeted.
Bill Nye (you know, the science guy) is a huge supporter of the march. While some of his colleagues contend that science is not political, he very much disagrees:
Science is political, and it always has been. We want science to provide guidance to laws and policies. Right now there’s a trend to base policies on intuition instead of facts. And if you stop and think for just a moment, we can see that no one actually wants to do that. I want the U.S. to remain a world leader, and for that we need science.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular beliefs humans have held that have been disproved by science:
1. The Earth is flat. It never was, but people believed they could sail right off the edge of the world.
2. Humans and dinosaurs co-existed. Actually some people still believe this. I won’t give any names, but they are the people who take religious texts very literally. The Flintstones was not based on reality, folks.
3. Humans descended from chimps. We have a common ancestor from billions of years ago. Now. Quit asking why there are still chimps if we descended from them!
4. HIV started from human-on-monkey action. No, no, no, you sick bastards. It jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.
5. The Great Wall is the only thing man-made visible from space. Nope. From the International Space Station 250 miles up, you can see the wall and many other man-made structures. From the moon, you can’t see any structures at all — only a dim glow of lights.
This march is important for so many reasons, but I think Bill Nye really said it all when he mentioned keeping the US a world leader. Without funding to our scientific organizations or release of information, all of our leaders are going to sound a lot like Donald Trump did on the campaign trail bitching about the effect of CFCs on the ozone. We ARE better than this. We deserve better.
Watch Lord Cheeto laugh about the ozone on the campaign trail.