Science and fact-based scientific research is under attack by Republicans at all levels of government. The national scientific community is asking the public for support. There will be national Science Marches in cities all across the country tomorrow.
Here’s the stated mission of the Science March: “The March for Science champions publicly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”
You can show that you support science by attending one of the Science Marches in Iowa this Saturday, April 22nd. There are Science Marches planned in these Iowa cities: Cedar Falls, Davenport, Des Moines, Iowa City, Independence, Mason City and Tipton. For specific information on the locations and times, go to Science, Not Silence. The Des Moines March is scheduled for noon at the Iowa State Capitol.
Republicans in the Iowa legislature have eliminated the Leopold Center at Iowa State as part of their budget cutting frenzy. They initially targeted the Iowa Flood Center for elimination, but instead have proposed cutting their budget instead. Both the Leopold Center and the Iowa Flood Center perform basic scientific research functions for Iowans. These cuts reflect the total disregard Iowa Republicans have shown for basic science.
The Trump budget proposes deep cuts to many federal agencies involved in science research. Some of these agencies on the chopping block include: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA’s earth science budget.
The science community has been speaking out with unusual intensity and agreement in opposing these cuts. While the Science Marches emphasize that they are non-partisan, it’s apparent that the Republican Party is promoting the funding cuts to science research. Typically, the science community has been reluctant to get involved in political policy. While it’s not unanimous, a large portion of the science community are beginning to speak up in defense of science. In a recent article, a number of scientists are going public. They are explaining why scientists must speak up on political subjects.
Ziad Munson an Associate Professor of Sociology at Lehigh University said, “One of the ways to fix this problem isn’t to have scientists stay out of social movements, but instead, reducing the dysfunctional level of partisanship that exists in the country … I think scientists need to be involved in the political process and activism because it is increasingly important for them to do everything they can to share actual facts of how the world is operating.” Munson is
“I feel that as a concerned American, as well as a scientist, I need to advocate for the use of real, unbiased scientific facts in any policy decisions,” said Michele Millham, a researcher at a company in Connecticut. “Even the concept of ‘alternative facts’ scares me.”
“The wholesale disregard of truth and fact by the president and his close advisers, their devaluing evidence and the scientific method, is so extreme that I can’t be silent,” said Jeffrey Anderson an Associate Professor of Radiology and Bioengineering at the University of Utah.
“Communities are not taken seriously politically until they act as a group and make noise,” said Mary Mangan of Somerville, Mass., President of OpenHelix, a genomics software company. “I don’t think quiet reserve is serving us well anymore. Health issues, food issues, climate issues, energy issues — we have as much right to speak to these as anyone else, and added responsibility to do so, in my opinion.”
ISU graduate student in genetics Kaitlin Higgins and Astronomy Professor Dr. Curtis Struck appeared on WHO TV’s Insiders show last week. They discussed the purpose of Iowa’s Science March and the struggle between science and politics in America today. They emphasized the importance that science research has played in medical advancements and Iowa’s growing agricultural bounty.
by Rick Smith