On the streets with the “March for Science” protesters
Published: 2 May 2017 (GMT+10)
Over the weekend of April 22nd (2017) I was in Cincinnati, Ohio representing CMI at a large homeschool convention that is held there annually. As it turned out, I was at ‘ground zero’ for one of the global demonstrations being called the “March for Science”. The primary march occurred in Washington, D.C., but over 600 satellite cities around the world participated as well.
It has proved difficult to find information about exactly who was behind it. There is a website up, but no information is given about the identity of the organizers other than generic email addresses.1 On the Q & A page of their website, it reads,
Q: Who are the national organizers?
A: The national committee members are volunteers from all over the world. We represent a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and relationships with science. For more information on our team, visit our About Us page.2
However, the “About Us” link just redirects to an unrelated page that gives no further information about the identities of the organizers3. Why so shadowy? Why are the organizers afraid to let their identities be publicly known? The most famous public figure associated with this event is Bill Nye, the former kids’ show TV personality who famously debated Ken Ham in recent years (see our review).
Much has already been written about this march in conservative news outlets; it was little more than a blatant attempt to hijack the word ‘science’ for left-wing political purposes and promote the religion of scientism. Indeed, one official tweet from the organizers declared that “Colonization, racism, immigration, native rights, sexism, ableism, queer-, trans-, intersex-phobia, & econ justice are scientific issues.” Thankfully, it was subsequently deleted. But the official website continues to harp on “consensus” science and identity politics, opposing “immigration bans” and “homophobia” and claiming that “Inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility are integral to this mission.”4
I had some run-ins with some of the protesters on the streets of Cincinnati. In the first instance, I spoke with four adult women who claimed to be scientists themselves. I saw they were carrying signs, so I asked them what they were protesting about. When they replied “science”, I asked for clarification, and once again got some vague answers. It seemed that the biggest issue most people were galvanized on was the issue of global warming, but I asked them about creation and evolution. All of them said they believed in evolution, and so I asked them, “Can you give me any evidence-based reason (beyond simply saying that it is the prevailing consensus) why I should believe that all life has a common ancestor?”
The first response I got was “change over time”, a bait-and-switch. I replied that creation scientists also believe in change over time, so that does not answer the question at hand. One of them brought up the alleged dating of fossils using radiometric methods, which also was off-topic since the age of fossils is a separate question from whether life has a common ancestor.
Next a couple of them blurted out “ice cores!” and “DNA!” It wasn’t immediately clear how any of these examples were supposed to prove evolution, and I said that creation scientists also believe in ice cores and DNA. About this time they lost patience and said they had to keep moving. The conversation was over. Disappointingly, after speaking with four self-proclaimed scientists who believed in evolution, I was not able to get a single piece of evidence from any of them for evolution!
Later on that day, I encountered a group of protesters that had a sign with Bill Nye’s face on it as well as a sign that depicted a Bible saying, “This is not a science book.” Incidentally, we at CMI would agree that the Bible is not a science textbook, but whenever the Bible touches on issues related to science, it speaks accurately. I was able to walk alongside the person with the Bill Nye sign, and I asked them what they thought about creation and evolution. When they somewhat disdainfully responded that they believe in evolution, I asked, “Why, because Bill Nye says so?” They said, “Oh, I am not having this conversation right now!” and covered their face with the sign. Apparently they felt strongly enough to make a sign and wave it around, but not strongly enough to engage anyone in a rational discussion.
I am disappointed that the debate about scientific issues has been reduced to this kind of hyper-political, anti-intellectual nonsense. Many of the protesters seemed to have little to no understanding of the issues they were protesting about, and they were really just there because they wanted to support a grab bag of liberal causes that have little to do with real science. Protesting has become a new pastime here, but to what effect? Are people just shouting past each other?
We encourage CMI supporters to take the time to thoughtfully and lovingly engage people directly who disagree with the Christian worldview. If you do, you’ll find their positions are often based on misunderstandings and ignorance. With God’s help, you can engage your neighbors and make a difference.