Deny science, expect defiance

Richard Childress

Hundreds of sign-bearing science lovers braved the cold and rain on Saturday in Lexington’s March for Science. The March for Science was an international rally in support of science education and the continued funding for scientific research at national and local levels.

“Science is something that affects everyone and we want everyone to be involved in it and enjoy it and appreciate it. We want to take science to the public,” Lexington March for Science organizer Trent Garrison said. Garrison received his Ph.D. in geoscience from UK.

A sea of umbrellas and protest signs gathered at the Lexington Circuit Courthouse and flooded down Main Street to the Fifth Third Pavilion. The march was lively and diverse, featuring impassioned students and educators, science enthusiasts and scientists, political activists and policy makers.

“To us we see this as a rally, we see this as a celebration of science, not necessarily a protest. We want to frame it more as a bipartisan event, but at the same time we acknowledge that there are problems that are detrimental to our ‘scientific health,’” Garrison said.

Many marchers sought to use the event as a public criticism of many of the proposed budget cuts and scientific stances that are being discussed within President Donald Trump’s administration.

“I just find it hard to believe how ignorant this administration could be about scientific things. Climate change is real. Everyone should know that, but they don’t. That’s why I’m here,” environmental science junior Emma Rhodes said. “Coming out to protest is teaching me that I can make a difference if I want to and with my major being so relevant to this, it’s just reinforcing the idea that I should be helping.”

Others came out to demonstrate science’s role in the democratic process by highlighting the influence of research findings on policy making.

“Science has a place in the political world. You have to have evidence to make these policies and these laws. We need evidence-based science for evidence-based policy,” public health freshman Sarah Robbins said.

“Science itself is not political, but it is vital that we use science and we use evidence to found what our decisions are, to make decisions and to inform policy,” said human reproductive behavior Ph.D. student Kaylynne Glover said. “Science is really important. Without it we would not have civilization as we know it, and if we continue to treat science like it can be dismissed or isn’t enough to inform policy, then our civilization is going to collapse.”