Scientists march across Canada, fighting the Tory war on facts


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When science becomes unpatriotic, what’s wrong is not the science, it’s the country.


Cory: background in scientists.

or background in science?


As a member of the arts community in Canada I say: Welcome to my world.

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I think this goes beyond that. The Harper government has been starving the arts, and Canadian culture is much poorer for it. But here it is actually trying to politically restrain and muzzle scientists, and that doesn’t just hobble the advance of science, it makes it impossible for the public to properly evaluate what it is doing. It goes with shutting down inquiries, firing auditors, and various other forms of crippling the watchdogs.


Meaning no offense, but, while the situations may be parallel to a point, the potential consequences in this case are on an entirely different order. Unlike in the arts, in the sciences there are people in the scientific community who have the authority, if you will, to say what kind of science should be funded. I would never expect a bureaucrat to have the same opinions as me as to what kind of art would be worth funding, anyway. Also, many of the people in the arts community who would have the clout to make those decisions would have dramatically different views than me about what was important. Ultimately, the parallel breaks down because art is essentially a matter of taste, wheras science actually allows us to make real predictions about the world around us, which we are in dire need of if we are to avoid screwing ourselves over with the very power that science has given us. (I actually was a professional musician for a few years, a long time ago, so believe me when I say I am not trying to disparage the importance of the arts, or of the people who pursue them as a profession, but when you get people denying basic science, that’s an entirely different level of fucked up.)

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The Stephen Harper government has imposed political minders on scientists, requiring routine press queries to be vetted by unqualified political operatives, many of them 20-something Conservative party fundraisers without any background in science.

Hmmm. Canadians, what’s so vote-givingly alluring about the Harper Gov’mt?

Mostly, that we have two or more, Liberalish parties (one called the Liberals, and one that’s even more left-wing and the Green party which occasionally gets a seat) that split the left vote, combined with, in the most recent round, the mentality that “we’re not doing so bad compared to the rest of the world and especially the US, economically speaking, so Harper must be doing something right! Let’s give him even more power by making him a majority gov’t instead of a minority one!” and delicious dirty tricks like conservative pollsters calling non-conservative voters and telling them, incorrectly, that their poll stations have changed.

The last especially makes be believe they have developed some sort of coating that makes scandal slip right off them.


I just love when scientists stand up like this. Happened in USA back in the Bush years, but not nearly enough.

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I know i m sounding a sour note, so I should make it clear that I in no way agree with Harper’s muzzling of scientists. I am struck by the parallels to political artistic censorship, of which there is some evidence to be found within Canada at the moment. But I would ask why is it that repressive political regimes always suppress the arts first? They have generally been the canary in the coal mine as it were. I would not say that art is purely subjective of course, any more than I would say that science is purely objective. I worry that the kinds of arguments that you are presenting are precisely the kind of argument you would expect the govt. itself to use against unwanted scientific research in some form or another (albeit from a different point of view, perhaps resorting to faux economics here, or the survival of the country in another etc.) . I sincerely believe pure scientific research should be unfettered; so might I propose that scientists and artists could unite in a common cause here?

I definitely think we should have a common cause here. I would say that art, with the exception of pure representational painting and sculpture, is purely subjective. Science is not purely objective, because people are not objective, but it is as close as we can come to objectivity. (Please note that when I say “science” I am referring to the natural sciences, and not eg economics.) There is some merit to the canary in a coal mine analogy, but I guess I’m curious as to what specifically constitutes suppressing the arts in this context. I’m thinking they haven’t actually made artistic expression illegal, so I’m curious what suppressing means.

Cutting funding for the arts isn’t, in itself going to control the life or death of art, unlike with basic research. Plenty of people are inspired to make all kinds of great art on their own, and it would take actively stamping it out with jackbooted thugs to drive it underground. (Not that I would put that past your government, or ours down here south of the border.)

I believe it’s called ‘slime’.

These scumbags are probably feeling pretty enervated and brazen after Australia’s disastrous election…

Fuck you, Murdoch. With a chainsaw.

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