Thousands in Austin rally and march for science
Here in Austin thousands of people joined in a local March for Science. But this was no celebration of American research and ingenuity. Scientists and their supporters gathered at the Texas Capitol to rally for respect.
Hearing your hard work dismissed as "junk science" has to get under your skin. And scientists and science teachers told us they're tired of the bad rap their field is getting and they're now marching to set things straight.
A march for science sounds innocent enough, especially to the old-timers. Michael Domjan is a psychology professor. He says, “I think this is a wonderful way for the community to get to see the enthusiasm and commitment that a lot of us have to science and the role it plays in all our lives."
Thomas Taylor is a former chemistry professor. He adds, “Today really everybody should be out celebrating the things science has brought to us. The fact that we're both alive is probably very much due to science."
But the younger science teachers in the crowd know just the word "science" has become controversial and now carries political baggage. Dan Omelchuck teaches high school science. He says, “There is no controversy when you're teaching science. There's the facts and there's the dogmas that people believe and try to promote."
This march is by people who see more government leaders turning away from science as a basis for their decision-making. Marvin Long says, “So we want to bring science into public policy and make sure politicians are accountable for using that knowledge responsibly."
And their supporters like Thomas Taylor see the shift from science as a step in the wrong direction. He says, “Anytime anybody denigrates science is just trying to hold us backward. And to move forward we just need to think."
On the local march's Facebook page about 10,000 expressed interest in going. Close to 6,000 said they went.