Science joined the #resistance over the weekend, or so the organizers of the March for Science would have us believe.
Thousands of demonstrators marched in Washington, DC, and in cities around the country under the banner of science and in the spirit of the Women’s March opposing President Trump back in January.
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 — 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. 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.