Scientists leave labs, take to streets to defend research

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  • jameshrust Atlanta, GA
    April 25, 2017 7:15 p.m.

    This march was to push climate change is caused by carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. This is crazy. Climate change has been around since the origin of the planet 4.5 billion years ago. All scientists make this observation.

    The bad gas carbon dioxide that is necessary for life on the planet has been called carbon pollution by these people. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that helps trap radiant heat in the atmosphere which is global warming; not climate change. Carbon dioxide is a small fraction of greenhouse gases of which the dominant gas is water vapor. We have about 10,000 ppm water vapor in our atmosphere and 400 ppm of carbon dioxide. Because of its molecular structure water vapor is 8 times more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

    During the period of greatest increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 2 ppm annually during the period 1998 to present, the global average temperature has been almost constant. This shows carbon dioxide increases has little effect on global warming.

    Many of these in the March for Science are misleading the public by calling carbon dioxide carbon pollution and global warming climate change.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 24, 2017 5:36 a.m.

    @ Mick

    "Maybe you should be open minded to the greatest scientist of all."

    This made me think of Charles Darwin, a believer until…...I was too until I became acquainted with the evidence. And then the real beauty and awesomeness of reality was revealed. It's so much better, so much more amazing than our egocentric imaginings (IMO).

    Re: Planned Parenthood, I hope anti-abortionists marched alongside scientists on Saturday because they owe them a lot. Think of how much their arguments rely on scientific knowledge. Think of the medical advances made that allowed us to push back the age of viability. Thank you, science!

    Meanwhile, the contents of the Bible suggest that “the greatest scientist of all” has some explaining to do on this issue.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    April 23, 2017 8:32 p.m.

    To accept climate change means accepting that business is a contributor. For example a factory that burns fossil fuel as a source of energy. Conservatives's can't accept any form of business regulation as that mean less profit. My point is conservatives deny climate change because to accept climate change as a fact would mean more regulations and holding business's responsible for polluting our environment and contributing to the problem. I accept valid scientific data as opposed to the political rhetoric coming from partisan politicians with little or no scientific background.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    April 23, 2017 5:55 p.m.

    "Republicans are not against science; they are against the Federal government paying for scientific research. "

    Thank goodness Republicans have lost this battle and with some intermittent set backs will continue to lose this battle.

    Pretty much all modern technology has its origin somewhere in government research.

    Digital technology came from government funding in the 60's . More than 30% of medical research comes from the government. Social science is heavily dependent on govt. funding.

    Give up a third of all research and watch America fall into a dystopia.

  • srw Riverton, UT
    April 23, 2017 3:00 p.m.

    The comments by All American and at long last... opposing government funding of research remind me of something I read some years ago. IRS fraud investigators recover huge amounts of money--far more than they are paid. Logically we should therefore consider increasing the number of investigators until we maximize our return on investment. But what actually happened was the IRS budget was cut and the number of fraud investigators was reduced.

  • srw Riverton, UT
    April 23, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    All American wrote, "Republicans are not against science".

    The protesters are concerned because many republican nonscientists think they know more about science than scientists. Scientists are concerned that policies and decisions are being based on "alternative facts," i.e., incorrect information.

    He/she also wrote, "And how can we trust research that is funded by a very partisan government? ... scientists had better have the integrity NOT to skew their research just for the mighty dollar from somewhere. Can you do that all you marchers?"

    The answer is yes. In our day science has stringent standards of integrity. Scientific discoveries are generally accepted after they are reproduced by others. Skewed or fabricated data will be detected eventually, and the perpetrators are basically banished from science. In one case I am aware of, a university canceled the PhD of one of its students who committed scientific fraud after leaving the university!

  • All American Herriman, UT
    April 23, 2017 12:04 p.m.

    Republicans are not against science; they are against the Federal government paying for scientific research. Where in the Constitution does it say the Federal government should fund scientific research? And how can we trust research that is funded by a very partisan government? Of course, corporate funding can skew research also. I don't know the answer for how to fund unbiased funding other than scientists had better have the integrity NOT to skew their research just for the mighty dollar from somewhere. Can you do that all you marchers?

  • whatsup1 Kekaha, HI
    April 23, 2017 10:06 a.m.

    The lack of political support for affordable higher education is going t to leave us with a shortage of scientists, informed voters, and politicians that understand complex issues. Take our present administration as a an example.

  • srw Riverton, UT
    April 23, 2017 9:49 a.m.

    Thid Barker wrote, "Nice article but as great as science is it is so very fleeting. Everything we think we know about any field of science will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete."

    Your statement is false in the sense that we consider ourselves to "know" something only when our theories agree with the observed behavior of the universe. No future discovery (or revelation) will alter the fact that our current theories provide an accurate description of the things we are observing today.

    Scientists discovered the laws of electricity, magnetism, and gravity. We will certainly learn more about those fields in the future, but your cell phone works now, doesn't it? And you can use the GPS to determine your location to high accuracy. When you are driving it really doesn't matter whether our knowledge of physics could be completely wrong or very incomplete. When you are sick, you will probably go to the doctor in spite of the fact that his or her knowledge of medicine is incomplete.

    Your statement is dangerous because it invites the nonscientist to think that scientific knowledge is too shaky to trust.

  • byronbca Salt Lake City, UT
    April 23, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    Anyone else find it troubling that believing scientists are more trustworthy than politicians is the easiest way to get labeled a bleeding heart liberal?

    In this comment section alone other commentators have compared modern scientists to Nazis, have accused them of wanting to eliminate large portions of the human population, and other baseless and paranoid delusions.

    To the science deniers I say this: Look around you. Where do you think that computer you used to write your comment came from? Science! Where do you think that phone in your pocket came from? Science! Who put those satellites in orbit so you can watch your favorite shows, get directions from your GPS? Science! Where do you think the internet came from. Science! Ever been on a plane? Science!

    Do you really believe that there is some secret society involving millions of scientists that are working together to progress a liberal global agenda? And for what exactly? To sell solar panels? Or is it more likely that politicians are dishonest and are leading you astray to progress their own agendas?

  • srw Riverton, UT
    April 23, 2017 8:54 a.m.

    JimInSLC wrote, "Too many so-called scientists today promote a narrative they are paid to advocate; They will manipulate research data till it proves what they are looking for, and discard conflicting data."

    That could happen in cases where research is funded by corporations, but the vast majority of scientists (including climate scientists) aren't paid to promote a particular narrative. The protest was partly in response to public ignorance about how science works and what motivates scientists.

    He also wrote, "Just publish all the research data and conclusions in peer reviewed journals so that all scientists can review the material to test its accuracy, or point out erroneous thinking."

    That's what scientists always do. The problems arise when people that are motivated by politics, but have less expertise than a first-year graduate student, attack the results and distribute "information" (through other channels) that confuses the issue.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 22, 2017 9:19 p.m.

    Ignorance is bliss.

    That's why conservatives are so happy these days.

  • JimInSLC Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2017 9:07 p.m.

    The scientific method used to be
    1. Make an observation.
    2. Form a question.
    3. Form a hypothesis
    4. Conduct an experiment
    5. Analyze the data and draw a conclusion.

    We now have another step:
    6. If people don't accept the conclusion, march in protest.

    I remember when the objective of the Scientist was to uncover hidden truths about the Universe. Too many so-called scientists today promote a narrative they are paid to advocate; They will manipulate research data till it proves what they are looking for, and discard conflicting data.

    Just publish all the research data and conclusions in peer reviewed journals so that all scientists can review the material to test its accuracy, or point out erroneous thinking.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    April 22, 2017 6:41 p.m.

    @ Sensible Scientist

    "Make no mistake, these are liberal scientists protesting conservative policies. This isn't really about science, or they would all support opening the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository."

    Really? Hasn't science shown that Yucca Mountain would be too risky to hold nuclear waste? Indeed, hasn't science, common sense, and economics (the billions in tax dollars needed to "secure and maintain" waste for time and eternity) proven that nuclear power is not the best option for energy?

    The federal government has funded research in our university and corporate labs for decades, creating such economic powerhouses as Silicon Valley... the more we neglect that fact by cutting such funding and ignoring the technological advances and scientific breakthroughs, the quicker we all become the uneducated, forgotten folks that Donald Trump claims to support.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    April 22, 2017 6:11 p.m.

    In the mid-1990s in Colorado, Republicans were the strongest advocates of Colorado's state-level technology-transfer agency. The Republican-contolled legislature routinely defended the agency and its budget from the Democrat-controlled Governor's office.

    The agency awarded grants to public and private university labs to be used as seed-funding to develop the most promising results of pure and applied research into commercial proof-of-concepts sufficient to attract private investors.

    Some hits, some misses, but it resulted in new companies, new jobs, and cultivated niches of innovation that still exist. Proceeds from sale of one spin-off returned to the state more $ than than this agency received from the state, all years combined.

    Republicans once were pro-small business, pro-science, and pro-government funded R&D.

    They had forward-thinking policies, and a strategic and prudent approach to the role of government.

    Republicans of that era also tended to be competent...



    ...and rational.

    excuse me

    Whoever is cutting onions, knock it off already!

    I need a moment

    silly Irish sentimentality

    no, I'm fine

    really

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    April 22, 2017 5:52 p.m.

    Hmmm...
    Whom shall we believe?

    Scientists?
    the Pope?
    LDS theology and Leaders?
    ...all PRO-Environment?

    or

    Donald Trump [a proven liar]
    Rush Limbaugh,
    Fake News,
    a Chinese hoax,
    and the rest of the all ANTI-Science right-wing Republicans?

  • Utah Girl Chronicles Eagle Mountain, UT
    April 22, 2017 4:54 p.m.

    This right-wing conflation between partisanship and willful ignorance scares the be-jeebers out of me. Conservatives are usually all a-twitter about "American exceptionalism" until science threatens to dismantle their core beliefs. Can't have that!

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 22, 2017 4:05 p.m.

    @ Unrepentant: I am quite certain science will learn a lot more about the sun, gravity and what makes it do what it does!

  • Spalding55 Placentia, CA
    April 22, 2017 2:05 p.m.

    This isn't a liberal or conservative issue. It's a common sense issue. These scientists are trying to tell us not to ignore the data out there, the benefits of scientific research, and the serious concerns and dangers that are occurring.

    Scientific research benefits everyone. Nazis and Communists may have been motivated by science, but so has every industrialized county including the US.
    Do we want to go back to the times when Smallpox, cholera, and influenza decimated the country. Should we eliminate cancer, heart disease or diabetes research? Should we ignore the dangers of pollutants in drinking water?

    Science is the last thing we should ignore. I think it parallels religion, because I truly believe that the benefits we receive from scientific research are gifts from god.

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    April 22, 2017 1:39 p.m.

    The element missed by all the liberals and supporters of this is that there are always more needs and wants than resources available. We need to be smart in making limited choices. The government cannot continue to do all the things demanded of it without catastrophic consequences. 20 trillion dollars in debt now, with around $80 trillion in unfunded liabilities. You can figure out how it ends unless things change, can't you?

  • Mick , 00
    April 22, 2017 1:11 p.m.

    Karen-

    Threatened by scientific knowledge? Not at all. There is a place for both science and religion. Maybe you should be open minded to the greatest scientist of all.

    Maybe planned parenthood should look in to the science of birth, life and extinguishing that life. And please save me from the "the baby is nothing without the mother until birth."

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2017 12:05 p.m.

    @MGoodwin
    "how is it all those doomsday prophecies on global warming, or climate change,... keep not happening ... I'm pretty sure Florida was supposed to be one never ending string of hurricanes, the coast lines were supposed to be under 10 feet of water, and we were supposed to be in a new ice age now. "

    Well considering the "doomsday prophecies" you list, those aren't things the climate community were even saying would happen. The research only shows at most a slight increase in hurricanes is expected (mostly in the form of more early and late season storms or ones at higher latitudes because of expanded warm enough ocean) and a slight increase in strength. They don't expect sea level rise to be nearly that high (the IPCC prediction is 1.7-3.2ft by 2100). Ice age? The odds of a total shutdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) that'd fuel that (really only would affect eastern US and western Europe, the rest of the world would stay warmer) are quite low though it has slowed which is why part of the North Atlantic in recent years has been one of the few places below average several years in a row.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 22, 2017 12:01 p.m.

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson once spoke of another time in history when this clash of knowledge v. theology took place. It was about 1,000 years ago, when the Arab world was a center of scientific and mathematical advances. But the mullahs didn't like how this threatened their influence so they declared as evil the scientific pursuit of knowledge and all progress stopped. An argument could be made that nothing has changed there since.

    The Western world didn't become "the First World" because it stayed mired in theology. And this is a partisan issue only because it's just one group of people that feel threatened by scientific knowledge and they're almost exclusively aligned on one side of the political aisle.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    April 22, 2017 11:49 a.m.

    Pure science and research & development will continue to be funded and expanded in other countries, even if not in America as it once was.

    Americans take heart -- our children's children...you know...real children..like10-11 year-olds...will have great job opportunities assembling small components of gizmos and gadgets designed in other countries, based on innovations from yet other countries.

    At least until automation forces then to join the rest of us, doing piece-work from home, hand-stitching translations of Ain't America Great Again onto red baseball hats, for export and sale as novelty items to the trendy youth in the now-vast Chinese and India middle class.

    Mutiple generations of Americans forced to live under the same roof has its upsides.

    We old folks can explain to the grandkids how this style hat was once used in a real sport called "America's Pastime". The young'uns can explain to us what the foreign words really mean and how kids in China and India wear them ironically, with cool pants called bluejeans.

    Neither old nor young believe a word of what the other is saying, fruit borne from America's strategic investment in denial education decades before.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    April 22, 2017 10:51 a.m.

    Last comment,

    If this were about money, then critics of the science might have a point. However, this is not the case.

    Most involved in the scientific process are not multimillionaires. Most struggle in government service or academia with fair wages, but not wealth. The scientific process needs money from untainted sources to advance our knowledge, most often in the form of university and governmental funding. Corporate America does some research, but only for product not learning. And Corporate America is funded more by government sources, be it through tax abatements or outright subsidies. Furthermore, Corporate America makes multimillionaires of its officers and stock holders. The hypocrisy is jaw dropping.

    I think what galls those who don't like funding research is that said research challenges some of their belief systems. Some are so greedy that the pennies they may save in taxes from government defunding scientific research means everything. These critics don't look at the Pentagon machine for millions in savings but wish to starve our future by restricting much lower funding to advance the future. Research after all is about the future.

    Sad, indeed.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    April 22, 2017 10:35 a.m.

    And most especially in the arguments about science, I love this attitude: "Everything we think we know about any field of science will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete".

    Well, as far as I know gravity still exists and we do know that the Earth orbits the Sun. I am pretty sure we have good handles on most other basic scientific concepts. That some scientific hypotheses prove ultimately incomplete and sometimes wrong, does not invalidate all the science we know to be true now (like gravity).

    And furthermore, the process of science is the process of discovery. When a theory becomes disproven, it is done so in a way that is unmistakeable: evidence that alters or denies that theory is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. In fact, science embraces doubt, that is its beauty.

    Those who are afraid of discovery, doubt and factual evidence are ultimately afraid of science. It is challenging, it is hard work, and it demands observable truth. However, as we so often see amongst our Conservative brethren, it is easier to deny that which challenges our belief systems than to accept verifiable fact that so raises doubt.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    April 22, 2017 10:26 a.m.

    A rhetorical question has been asked by many including this most recent above: "how is it all those doomsday prophecies on global warming, or climate change, ... keep not happening and yet not a single one of the people shouting the warnings in true chicken little fashion have been punished?"

    Contrary to popular opinion, the planet is billions of years old. As a species, we have occupied the planet for a relatively short period of time. Yet our effect on the planet has become magnified as the industrial revolution has matured, our population has risen exponentially and we rely on fossil fuels to power our economies. Add to that the recent rise of a demanding middle class in third world countries, and we have established unrelenting demands on the environment.

    So, billions of years unpeopled versus an exploding pillage of the planet by people. The environment is indeed affected, just not as dramatically as our time horizon standards might dictate. That doesn't mean that our children or grandchildren won't be affected. They will. However, the degradation of the planet is happening despite what Conservatives claim.

    Is that so hard to get?

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    April 22, 2017 10:11 a.m.

    You know who was motivated by science? The Nazi's, that's who. The Soviets, that's who. The Communists, that's who.

    At least, the kind of science that today's leftists support. You know, the "Science says if you don't do all my political platform the world is gonna die!"

    Funny how no one on the left has ever explained how giving them total complete dictatorial control will save the polar bear. Aside from the radical environmentalists, who actually do have a plan and are openly honest about it, which is "Commit the greatest genocide in history and kill 99 out of every 100 people. That will save the earth!"

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 22, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    Hey Thid Barker -

    RE: "Everything we think we know about any field of science will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete."

    "Very incomplete?" Science is NEVER "complete."

    Scientists don't close their minds. They are constantly trying to disprove their own assumptions . . . Unlike religionists who just "KNOW" that theirs is the only true religion.

    Religious extremists of all stripes can agree on their disdain for science, can't they?

    Why is that? It's because science rarely agrees with their prejudices.

    Hey at long last -

    RE: "Very little R&D, outside of Military applications, are such that they cannot be done by business, if they need to be done."

    Sorry, but that is absolutely RIDICULOUS.

    The world benefits greatly the R&D done by governments.

    It is our own Federal government who is largely responsible for the longer lives and higher living standards of citizens around the world.

    No "business" was willing to research the causes of devastating diseases, some of which now are extinct except in laboratory settings.

    Do a little research instead of quoting the Russians and Rush Limbaugh.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    April 22, 2017 9:45 a.m.

    If these are liberal scientists protesting conservative policies, great. Those policies are terrible, and unnatural for our nation and the good of us all. If the science community uses tax dollars to advance humanity, great. Private industry, let alone the military, do not have such goals. Theirs are contrary to the good of us all.
    If scientists scale the mountain of ignorance, they share what they learn and help us move forward. The theologians they encounter along the way know not where they are or how they got there, they just know they've got the right answers, and if they don't they can make them up quick.
    See you at the protest. Long may we live by science.

  • MGoodwin Murray/USA, UT
    April 22, 2017 9:37 a.m.

    Funny, they forgot to mention the march embracing every other cause from the "social justice grab bag," and shouting all their cute little slogans. Non partisan, yeah about as non partisan as water isn't wet, this is just yet another march of the "disgruntled that our lady Hillary failed so spectacularly." Well scientists and doctors, illuminate me on this, how is it all those doomsday prophecies on global warming, or climate change, (or whatever the focus groups decide to call it because the has become so tarnished people don't believe it anymore) keep not happening and yet not a single one of the people shouting the warnings in true chicken little fashion have been punished? I'm pretty sure Florida was supposed to be one never ending string of hurricanes, the coast lines were supposed to be under 10 feet of water, and we were supposed to be in a new ice age now. Also tell me, are eggs still bad for my heart? We seem to get a lot of mixed signals there. You can't even figure out dietary needs of the human body, perhaps these scientists and Dr. Oz have a bit more in common than previously thought

  • at long last. . . Kirksville , MO
    April 22, 2017 9:12 a.m.

    I would guess this is primarily about wanting tax dollars (federal grant monies) to keep flowing, rather than anything else. I know that I have a sister-in-law who lives off this flow of tax money. Otherwise my brother would have to go to work and she would have to find a real job. Very little R&D, outside of Military applications, are such that they cannot be done by business, if they need to be done.

  • Thid Barker Victor, ID
    April 22, 2017 9:09 a.m.

    Nice article but as great as science is it is so very fleeting. Everything we think we know about any field of science will eventually be proven to be either completely wrong or at least very incomplete. As our grandparent's science is to us, so will our science be to our grandchildren. Science is not the alternative to religion, it is ultimately the companion of religion.

    “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    ― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    April 22, 2017 9:07 a.m.

    Make no mistake, these are liberal scientists protesting conservative policies. This isn't really about science, or they would all support opening the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.