Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics
Evolution Icon Evolution
Free Speech Icon Free Speech

Why the March for Science Promises to Be So Angry

March for Science

The March for Science website includes a “Statement on Peaceful Assembly and Nonviolence,” as I noted here yesterday. Why the need for a statement that you don’t “condone violence” if you’re not concerned that participants in your event will get violent? I don’t recall seeing such a statement on the website for a gathering of intelligent-design proponents.

So why are they angry? Daniel Greenfield at FrontPage Magazine is amusing and on target, pointing out how the “fake protest” has “devolved into intersectional insanity,” as “Leftist crybullies used their usual tactics to take over…. This is just Gamergate being played out on the level of science,” presided over by “Bill Nye, a guy who says stupid things on TV.”

The crybullies, as he calls them, specialize in anger. Like small children throwing fits, they are liable to lash out physically, as recent incidents on college campuses have shown.

If violence occurs on April 22 on the National Mall, or hundreds of satellite protests elsewhere, that’s where it will come from. But despite participating in the March for Science, the spoiled brats and full-time complainers I’m thinking of aren’t employed in science. They are likely not employed at all, other than those who bused in and paid to protest. There will be actual scientists at the March for Science, of course, and you can assume they won’t be rioting. People with jobs tend not to do that.

Which is not, however, to say that people working in the science world aren’t angry. Oh yes, some of them are quite angry, and we record and respond to their online tirades from time to time here at Evolution News. You should see some of the stuff I get in my email inbox.

Why are they angry? Well, the really furious ones are all males, in my experience, and you only have to know a little about the fragile male ego to understand.

What they call “science denial” is code for “I am not being properly stroked and praised as I expected to be.” Part of the deal that goes with a career in science is that you may not get rich, but everyone will defer to and admire you. That is a key part of the compensation package.

All questioning of what are taken to be scientific certainties — on evolution, or climate change, to cite two prominent examples — is implicitly a reneging on this deal with the “experts.” A book like Doug Axe’s Undeniable, arguing that we are all “scientists” in an important sense, massively insults the right of deference that many in science believe they are owed.

Add to this threats in the political world of cutting back on research funding, which are greeted by howls of hysterical, apocalyptic fury (“Scientists Brace for a Lost Generation in American Research,” The Atlantic). It’s not the loss of public money, per se, that is so outrageous but, again, the injured pride, the message that perhaps the public can do without you. Non-scientists value your thoughts and contributions less, maybe a lot less, than you previously assumed to be the case. Those males, in particular, who are accustomed to receiving only praise and admiration for their work and their voices find this treatment disgraceful.

Most men don’t understand themselves well enough to see the role of pride in guiding their thinking about science, culture, and much else. If someone were attacking them frontally, that they could deal with. What’s really unacceptable is the implication that they don’t matter, that their authority is dispensable.

They may not riot. But you can see why they are royally peeved.

Photo credit: © mario beauregard — stock.adobe.com.