by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The march had its share of harmless and charmingly nerdy science enthusiasts holding signs like “I was told there would be pi” and “I was told to bring a sine” (get it?). Who can possibly object to people, who may have waited a lifetime for the opportunity, finally getting a chance to make trigonometry puns in public?
The problem with the march was its larger ambition to enlist science in the anti-Trump movement. Not only does this represent a jaw-dropping misunderstanding of science — the Large Hadron Collider has no position on whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause — but if taken seriously, it will damage the reputation of science.
The left loves to argue that Republicans are anti-science, usually by accusing them of being budding theocrats who value only faith and not science. Since Donald Trump is no one’s idea of a theocrat, the latest argument is that his “alternative facts” administration is an implicit assault on the basis of science. It is certainly the case that Trump says things that aren’t true, although science has survived other fast-and-loose presidents. No one thought that Bill Clinton, during the course of his various falsehoods, was somehow calling into doubt the second law of thermodynamics.
Trump has pronounced on all sorts of things over the decades, but so far the scientific method has escaped his wrath on Twitter. Indeed, putting up glass-encased 98-story buildings implies a certain acceptance of the laws of physics and a respect for engineering.
This is why it’s absurd for any claque to claim ownership of science, which belongs to all of us.