I’m going to spend Inauguration Day (January 20th) talking about science and I hope you’ll join me.
No matter your political orientation, I think it’s fair to say that the 2016 presidential election was equal parts punishing and contentious. To put it extremely mildly, the election highlighted some deep divisions within the United States. Months after Election Day, my social media feeds are dominated by cynicism, divisiveness, and “post truth”. On Inauguration Day, I hope to infuse some optimism, collaboration, and critical thinking into these same feeds by celebrating something that means a lot to me personally and professionally: Science.
I’m going to spend the day talking about my favorite things in science; I’ll share my own stories about science, I’ll link to my favorite pieces of science writing and media, I’ll reference weird science trivia and make corny science jokes, I may even talk about the science of superhero comics. I take a very broad very on what it means to “talk science”, so almost everything is on the table.
Please join me in celebrating this thing we call science on January 20th across social media using the hashtag #ScienceResists.
Mostly I just think it makes for a snappy hashtag, but it also nicely describes my motivation for doing this. As a fundamentally optimistic enterprise (no, really), science resists cynicism. Being intensely collaborative, science, in its way, resists divisiveness. As the systematic pursuit of knowledge through observation and experimentation, science, by its very nature, resists “post truth”.
Who can participate?
Anyone! You definitely don’t need to a scientist who works in a lab to participate. Science includes people with many different backgrounds possessing many different of levels of expertise. Why shouldn’t a celebration of science be as inclusive?
Is this a protest?
Yes, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be.
Personally, I am very anxious about the incoming presidential administration. Among the many things I’m anxious about is their position on science. Celebrating science during the inauguration seems, to me at least, like a reasonable way to protest an administration that denies and seeks to defund it.
If you don’t share my anxiety or politics and still want to celebrate science or use the #ScienceResists hashtag, please feel free to do so. I think it would be fantastic if people across the political spectrum could come together to talk science.
What’s the schedule?
I’ll be posting all day from the Pacific timezone.
If you’d like to schedule posts alongside inauguration day events, the ceremony begins at 9:30 EST with opening remarks scheduled for 11:30 EST. Donald Trump will be sworn in as president around noon EST.
Politics is a battle of ideas. That’s how our democracy was designed. In the course of a healthy debate, we prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we’re going to keep talking past each other.
- President Barack Obama, 1/10/2017