Today we have a second guest post by Tatyana Dubich, the Speaker of the Helmholtz Juniors Communication Group and a doctoral researcher at The Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI). Enjoy the interviews with the participants of the March for Science!
“March for Science, not march of scientists”
Among all the things said and published every day, it might be hard to tell where the truth is: astrology or astronomy, creationism or evolutionism, homeopathy or medicine. The answer, however, is simple: the one, which has real evidence! On Saturday, the 22nd of April, people all over the world joined the March for Science to state it once again. People, who believe in science, joined marches in more than 600 cities worldwide including Germany to demonstrate importance of free, unbiased, evidence-based science.
The March for Science was supported by Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany, which includes the Helmholtz Association. In its official statement, the Alliance says that “anti-democratic and anti-scientific actions and currents, led by political decision-makers or populist movements, threaten the work and the values of the sciences and all those who work in it”. The statement also advocated the importance of freedom in research and teaching. At the centers level, Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, Director of Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), said in her statement that “science thrives on the freedom of opinion, on tolerance and international exchange, and on the shared goal of understanding the world we live in and using peaceful means to make it just a bit better every single day”, and motivated everyone to fight for the freedom in research as both scientists and citizens.
Despite the caprice April weather, people who support science marched along the main streets of their cities, carrying wonderful homemade banners. “Science, not silence” was written on many of them. Helmholtz Juniors joined the marches in Berlin, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Munich, Dresden and Göttingen, and they motivated all the doctoral researches within the Helmholtz Association to join. We marched in a friendly crowd as N^2 – the newly formed network between Helmholtz Juniors, Max Plank PhDnet and Leibniz PhD Network. We carried the N^2 logo and our slogans, urging to “make the Earth cool again” and pointing out that “we are p<0.05”!
In Berlin, Heidelberg and Munich marches were accompanied by speeches from academics of different levels (from students to institutes’ directors), policymakers and science communicators. The talks pointed at the importance of evidence-based decision making for further development; why it is crucial to support free, unbiased, evidence-based science. After all, science shapes almost every aspects of our everyday life and it is the key to progress.
HeJu Communication Team asked the march participants in Berlin, Heidelberg and Munich: why did they march for Science? Most of them joined to show that they believe in fact-based thinking in contrast to recent trends of emotion-based thinking, that is leading to decreased number of vaccinations, climate-change denial, and the use of “alternative facts” in politics, to name a few.
Here are some of the interviewed comments:
“After all what happened in the last years in America and Europe it is important to show the world that there are people who believe in science and don’t want to believe in alternative facts, like all the movements against vaccination, evolution and those kind of things. Because what happens in science is the truth and we have much more evidence. With a march like this we can convince people to believe in facts.”
“I hope, that events like this will make a difference. I cannot hope to make the difference alone, but rather a part of a big scientific community. We, as a community, should show that we are against cutting the budget for research, which has a major impact on our future. I think it is very important to address this topics and make people think about it.”
“I march for science because I believe, that we should stay together and remember, that we are not in the Middle ages anymore. Therefore, we should support scientists to explore our world for further development”
“The decisions should be made based on evidence, not on feelings. We came here to stress that.”
“I think it is important that we stand up for the integrity of science and openness. It is important that scientist can do their research without restrictions by government or people, driven by feelings”
“I came here to stress the importance of science without politic. Science should be free from political influence”
All of the participants had different reasons, but one common goal – to underline the importance of staying rational and objective rather than following feelings. And we all hope that the March for Science will make a difference. But the march was just the beginning. We should keep the momentum and advocate good science. Communicating science, making it seen and heard should be our everyday goal and not a one-off deal.
Join the movement!