Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

The March for Science is a March for Honesty and Accountability


 

There were some great signs at the March for Science because the march was about truth and it is difficult to go wrong defending the search for truth. The only time people seem to oppose the search for truth is when truth is seen as a threat to their ideology and/or income.

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! – Upton Sinclair.

Scientists are accused of being arrogant, apparently because scientists don’t waste their time on ideas that cannot be tested or on ideas that repeatedly fail objective testing. Scientists learn by providing the most honest way of assessing the truth – they do everything they can to eliminate bias and to eliminate the effects of anything that is not being tested.

Is that arrogant?

Arrogance would be refusing to allow everyone to criticize your work, but science requires that scientists be open about their work and invite their harshest critics to poke holes in their work.

This means that nonsense will not survive for long. The better hypotheses will survive. Logical fallacies are eventually exposed and we learn the truth.
 


 

This is why science rejects claims that fail experimentation and claims that cannot be tested. These claims are not science.
 

Flat Earth claims are rejected. There is abundant evidence that the Earth is not flat, but people still claim that the Earth is flat. There is no scientific controversy about whether the Earth is roughly spherical in shape.[1]
 

Creationism claims are rejected. Creationism contradicts almost all of the sciences (geology, astronomy, physics, biology, . . .), so Creationism would need to be supported by some very well tested evidence. Creationism is not supported by scientific evidence, but that does not stop Creationists from claiming to be scientists.

The clearest evidence that evolution is real is provided by DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid). When we want to confirm the relationship among different people, we use DNA, because it works. DNA confirms that we are related to baboons, bananas, and bacteria. DNA is able to show how close those relationships are. There is no scientific controversy about whether humans evolved along with the rest of life on Earth.[2]

 

I did not get a clear picture of the sign, but I have not changed the words.

 

Anti-GMO claims are rejected. GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are recognized to be safe, nutritious, important in the prevention of widespread famine, overall much more beneficial than their critics claim, and dramatically better organic foods. Those opposed to GMOs claim that organic foods would not produce a famine, if everyone were to eat organic foods. Those opposed to GMOs claim that modification is bad, even though humans have been modifying crops for over 10,000 years. We even use chemicals and radiation to cause mutations to crops that are still considered organic.
 

From 1930 to 2014 more than 3200 mutagenic plant varieties have been released[1][2] that have been derived either as direct mutants (70%) or from their progeny (30%).[3] [3]

 

There is no scientific controversy about the benefits of GMOs.
 


 

Climate change denial is rejected. Climate change is real and harmful. Some people (not scientists) claim that natural factors are causing the unnatural warming. Some people (not scientists) claim that the unnatural warming is a good thing. Some people (not scientists) claim that the unnatural warming isn’t happening. There is no scientific controversy about the reality of climate change.
 


This chart[4] does not include 2016.

If you are a climate change denier, you were counting on 2016 being something other than the hottest year on record. Three years in a row would be unprecedented. 2017 was hotter than 2016, which contradicts the denier arguments.[5] If you are a climate change denier, you should realize that denying science is not going your way. You have had some political successes, but you can’t deny reality forever. There is no scientific controversy about the reality of climate change.
 

Anti-vaccine claims are rejected. Anti-vaxers claim that vaccines are dangerous and that vaccines do not work. Do vaccines work? We should have eradicated polio by now, but anti-vaxers have discouraged vaccination. If you don’t like your children getting the polio vaccine, blame the anti-vaxers. We did eradicate smallpox in the 1970s. We stopped vaccinating against smallpox. Smallpox was killing 2 million people a year. If you don’t worry about smallpox, thank a scientist. There is no scientific controversy about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
 

Historical Comparisons of Morbidity and Mortality for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases in the United States – Table 1


 

In response to the evidence in Table 1,[6] anti-vaxers claim that improved sanitation and hygiene. The decrease in cases and deaths due to the various vaccine-preventable illnesses should be the same for all of these diseases, but that is not the case. The diseases have also produced epidemics when the vaccination level drops below herd immunity levels.[7] There is no scientific controversy about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
 

Science is not perfect, but science is better than all other means of learning the truth.

When science produces mistakes, we learn about it from scientists, not from politicians, not from preachers, not from placebo pushers, not from psychics, and not from any other deniers of science.

Maybe the message of science got through.

Maybe we won’t need another March for Science.
 


🇪🇸Gaby Mérida 🇺🇸‏ @ThatSpanishLady Twitter
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Footnotes:

[1] Flat Earth Rising
by Steven Novella
Neurologica
April 6, 2017
Article

[2] Objections to evolution
Wikipedia
Article

[3] Mutation breeding
Wikipedia
Article

[4] The 10 Hottest Years on Record
January 20th, 2016
By Climate Central
Article

[5] 2016 Was the Hottest Year on Record
Both NASA and NOAA declare that our planet is experiencing record-breaking warming for the third year in a row
By Andrea Thompson
January 18, 2017
Scientific American
Article

[6] Historical comparisons of morbidity and mortality for vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.
Roush SW, Murphy TV; Vaccine-Preventable Disease Table Working Group..
JAMA. 2007 Nov 14;298(18):2155-63.
PMID: 18000199

Free Full Text from JAMA.

[7] “Vaccines didn’t save us” (a.k.a. “vaccines don’t work”): Intellectual dishonesty at its most naked
by David Gorski
March 29, 2010
Science-Based Medicine
Article

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