March for Science? No, thanks

The 360 day year raises an interesting riddle for the modern science of astronomy. But the March for Science would never be about that.
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The so-called March for Science drew an unlikely set of allies yesterday. Heidi Hecht, writing at National Politics, urged “wise conservatives” to attend the event. She takes far too lightly the significance of the date of the March for Science: Earth Day. CNAV must disagree with her conclusion and urge conservatives to boycott this event.

March for Science? What kind?

Ms. Hecht makes this grave error: she plumps for government as a sponsor of science. In so doing she subscribes to an outdated notion of the kinds of projects government funds. True enough, the United States gave us NASA, which gave us a modern Wonder of the World: Project Apollo. (Yes, men did land and walk on the Moon. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, the senior surviving Moon walker, can tell you first-hand. If that does not suffice, photographic evidence should. And that evidence all rests in the public domain.)

NASA then and now

Why did the old National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) become NASA? They didn’t do so in the name of “abstract knowledge.” Earth had gained a new moon, which then-Soviet Russia named Sputnik. American officials feared the building and fielding of low-earth orbital strategic bombers. When Nikita S. “We will bury the American system!” Khrushchev served as First Secretary, that was no idle threat! That’s why they sent men into space: to prove we could do the same. (Tom Wolfe documented this concern in his excellent history of Project Mercury, The Right Stuff.)

NASA have changed. James Hansen, now of Columbia University, typifies that change. While he still served at NASA, he started turning it into an advocate, not for grand and wondrous projects, but for Luddism. He shows no concern for exploration of space, or for NASA’s original defense mission. In his tenure, he turned NASA into the equivalent of the Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, UK. Has everyone forgotten the most infamous quote to come out of that latter institution?

I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to the data series for the last twenty years, i.e., from 1981 onwards, and to 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.

James Hansen agrees with Phil Jones, who wrote those words. “The globe is warming!” he cries. Remarkably, he castigated the Twenty-first Conference of Parties to the Framework Agreement on Climate Change in Paris. Why? Because it did not go far enough for him! He wants new taxes—excuse me—fees on everything from automobile engines to traditional smokestacks.

In other words, he is a would-be thief. This is what NASA became until he retired from them in 2013.

March for Deadbeat-ism

And this is what the March for Science is really all about. Not flights to Mars. Not more great spinoffs. Oh, no! Instead, we’ll get more “adding in” of “real temps” to proxy data series “to hide the decline.” And other such dry-lab jobs. Which they dare call “scientific consensus.”

The practice known as “dry-labbing,” constructing observations out of one’s own head or misappropriating the observations of others, is an offense of such gravity that it warrants excommunication from the community of scientists. At Yale, the comparable sanction is expulsion. – Yale Student Handbook, 1976.

Organizers of the March for Science couch their purposes in euphemism, as leftists always do. They speak of “the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.” Governments? How so? Heidi Hecht admits the answer. President Trump proposes to lessen the government’s sponsorship of science. Heidi Hecht objects. She then says,

The March for Science isn’t just about keeping scientists employed with earth science projects and using satellites to spot illegal logging.

It isn’t? Well, maybe it isn’t at that—but one should take no heart from this. With Bill Nye “The Science Guy” taking part, the March for Science becomes yet another denial of God.

Denial of liberty

The organizers accuse their putative opponents of “discrediting scientific consensus and restricting scientific discovery.” CNAV rises to object. Real science does not work toward consensus. “Consensus” substitutes dogma for inquiry. Those who decry the fraud that is “climate science” do not restrict scientific discovery. Those who seek “scientific consensus” restrict discovery. Ask anyone who disagrees with the neo-Luddites who hoped COP-21 would usher in one-world government. Ask any creation advocate.

Do the organizers see the irony of their turning scientists into priests—or anti-priests? They don’t seem to see it or care. They also betray their true alignment, in speaking of “the common good.” Common good has always been code for:

  1. Redistribution—which is to say, expropriation—of wealth, and
  2. Denial and abridgment of human liberty.

How dare anyone calling herself conservative support agendas of that kind?

Will the March for Science even come off? Let us wait and see. Heatstreet reports bitter infighting breaking out already between organizers and their would-be allies. The cause: leftists feel the event gives them too short a shrift. If they have their way, the public will see the true colors of the March for Science. The public will see besmocked bunco artists trying to protect their funding. They will also see, marching in lock-step with them, a new company of uniformed wannabes. Call them the Gegruenpo—the Geheime Gruen Polizei—the Secret Green Police.

A new way to pay for science

Why would anyone see anything conservative about the March for Science? What fears so confuse Heidi Hecht that she would write such arrant nonsense? She cites the NASA spinoffs and the Internet. (The Internet came, not from NASA, but from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.) She then assumes without warrant that these developments would not exist, but for government.

In fact, people invent things because they see a need for them. Free people do not need government to see, much less satisfy, all their needs. Anyone who so relies on anyone else is not free at all, but a slave.

America, to stay free, needs a new way to think about how to pay for science. If the March for Science organizers really cared about the advance of science, they would think of that themselves. Must government think of everything? Can every scientific or technical advance start with the military? That can go only so far.

Nor did things always happen that way. Thomas A. Edison did not rely on government funding to light up America’s cities. He founded a private laboratory and paid for each invention through the sale of other inventions. The electric light, of course, made Edison a household name. His other inventions—and those of his rival, George Westinghouse—swiftly followed. And neither man needed government to fund him.

Non-practical knowledge?

But how to fund “abstract science”? The late Ayn Rand set the record straight on that. “Non-practical knowledge,” she said, cannot exist. Nor does anyone fund anything without a reason. What no one can apply today to serving practical needs, someone might apply tomorrow. Already certain private, self-funding interests have largely taken over America’s space program. Those interests have plans that go beyond the next NASA contract.

The organizers of the March for Science could have made an agenda to free science from dependency on government. That would have done much to advance science. Instead they want their government grants—and offer to justify the coming Green Police to get them. No conservative—no one who loves freedom—should have anything to do with such people.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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