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As a young scientist, I am very tempted to join the upcoming March for Science on April 22. However, I have some serious reservations.

Science is an objective system for gaining knowledge of how the world works. There is no political agenda or value statement placed upon research. Once knowledge is obtained, it is the job of the public, to determine what action to take. If the public is to use this knowledge, it is critical for them to see science as unbiased. If there is a perception that science is simply a liberal interest group, all credibility is lost.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The Trump administration is completely ignoring science in many of their decisions. But it is simply the job of scientists to provide information, not add their own biases to how it should be used. For instance, we as scientists can objectively say that the climate is changing. We cannot, however, tell the public that they need to do something about it.

In that regard, we are simply citizens with our own values and opinions. Holding the march on April 22, Earth Day, simply adds to the confusion. While I myself am an avid environmentalist, I do not think mixing the objectivity of science and the value-laden agenda of environmentalism is wise. It’s all about how the march will be perceived. And, potential protesters must know that the march will be perceived as a liberal, anti-Republican movement.

The march may end up hurting the credibility of scientists in the long run. So, join an environmental, civil rights, or social justice rally. But, I encourage all my fellow scientists to think twice about politicizing the pure system of reason that is science.

Niall Clancy


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