Adam Savage’s Speech at the March for Science

Adam Savage’s full speech from the San Francisco March for Science on April 22, 2017. Addressing a packed crowd at Justin Herman Plaza, Adam talks about the enemy of science and the why we are all scientists. (Video courtesy of March for Science SF)

Comments (15)

15 thoughts on “Adam Savage’s Speech at the March for Science

  1. I made a mistake of reading YouTube comments. Where is all the paranoia coming from! Apparently Adam made a mistake of talking about fairness and equality and he should be punished by forced lecture of “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

  2. I made a mistake of reading YouTube comments. Where is all the paranoia coming from! Apparently Adam made a mistake of talking about fairness and equality and he should be punished by forced lecture of “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand.

    Maybe it’s like Adam said? They are not looking at the world as it is, but as they wish it to be?

    Maybe they wish the world, and it’s rapid recent change, had simple explanations and their problems had simple solutions? (blame a group, build a wall…)

  3. Just to give another perspective about Adam and the March for Science in general (not to rain on the parade, but when one talks about “seeing the world as they want it to be” I feel obliged to point out that hat fits on both heads).

    Here’s what the March for Science looked like to the average joe who is not in the “Maker community” not a “Science Nerd” and not an “Adam Savage devotee.” And that’s quite a large percentage of the population.

    First, most folks have no idea about the March – that it happened or why. Those that do saw a lot of liberal democrats holding snarky signs explaining how they were so much smarter than everyone who disagrees with them. They saw a bunch of self-righteous folks proclaim that they and only they can save the world which anyone who opposes them is obviously trying to destroy (either actively or as a result of their pig-headed, selfish unawareness). They saw people who reject, as a first principle, that anyone who disagrees with them can have any sort of thoughtful objection but must either be a racist, an anti-science luddite, or a flat out idiot. They saw a bunch of folks who are angry because their tax funding is being cut, and who are over-reacting as if it literally meant the end of the entire world. They saw a bunch of folks who proclaim to be the vanguard of logic and reason talk about touchy-feely nonsense such as equality and fairness (and the average joe sees those words as signals for the progressivist vanguard – i.e. they really mean anti-white male at all costs, and most especially anti-white Christian heterosexual male). Honestly, they saw this group in the exact same light as they view the rioters at Berkeley and the foul-mouthed women lead by Madonna. People who simply cannot stomach the fact that Hilary Clinton lost the election, and plan to stamp their feet and yell and shout and cry and complain as a result.

    This is NOT my personal judgment of the March or of any of the folks commenting here. These are opinions I have heard expressed in various ways by many folks across many different mediums. I’m not saying the anti-March folks are right or wrong. They’re right on some points, wrong on others, just like the pro-science camp is right on some points and wrong on others. But for the folks here to sit in a bubble and pretend like this was some sort of major win for science is to ignore reality just as much as the other camp. This was very little more than preaching to the choir. It was a masturbatory march. It did nothing to change anyone’s mind. At worst, it actually marginalized the scientific community even more than it already was. I know that’s harsh, and I don’t mean any ill will towards folks like Kishore who worked hard to make it happen. But Science is supposed to be about cold, hard reality, not self-aggrandizing. If you don’t ACTIVELY seek to find and UNDERSTAND other view points – you’re not doing it right.

  4. Yes, the march for science could have been understood that way and I think we all know why that is. But the marches are not meant to recruit supporters or show how awesome we are. At this point our way of life is threatened and it’s mostly about showing our numbers and expressing our concerns. Note that vast percentage of the marchers were not officially scientists. It’s not a popularity contest. Scientists should not have to march in rallies!
    It could also have something to do with how the major media totally ignored it as they ignore the science in general. Trying to convince a paranoid person that there are no monsters is never going to work. Trying to make them understand that if we change a few things, our kids might stand a chance in surviving on this planet is worth a shot although I’m quite pessimistic about seeing it done, especially now that ignorance is worn like a badge of honor.
    And what did the disgruntled masses do about feeling condescended to? Did they present a sound alternative? No. They just went back to watch TV, unsubscribe from YouTube channel or shoot something. Some of them were being flooded as the marches were happening! Anyone who disagrees with scientific finding has to provide sound evidence to support their disagreement. It can be anyone. Is your smart phone not working properly? Make a new one! Yes, it’s that easy!
    The inclusion and numerous shortcomings of scientific world and in the world in general was a very important talking point in most of the speeches. Everyone is welcome to join the conversation. Oh… right, they don’t like social justice or logical thinking.
    Sorry if they see it that way but we should not try to accommodate reality to their paranoia.

    They want everything to be always perfect which is why they trust only their (in my view) imaginary deities and get super grumpy when they realize that their idols are not quite what they thought they were. This is idolatry and it’s harmful. Nobody claims that the science is perfect. It’s not. But so far there hasn’t been a better way to understand or shape our reality. Ask the dinosaurs.

  5. You can shoot the messenger if you like. However, the fact that you’re still framing the opposition as a bunch of yokels who are “watching TV” or “shooting things” means you’re not getting the message. In fact, the idea that the majority of folks who were turned off from the March for Science was because they’re “anti-Science” and “need to provide scientific facts” to back their opinion is missing the bus by a mile and a half.

    I know one guy who absolutely loathed the March for Science. This guy is an atheist (or agnostic at the very least) and a science nut since early childhood. He still avidly reads scientific books and attends lectures whenever possible. What he despised was the idea that the blatantly political march should be a public representation of science. He can’t stand the absurd caricature of Bill Nye or what he represents, this pop-culture pseudo-science, and he, like many others, thinks there’s a way to be pro-science that does not entail mindless approval of every single government grant or adherence to progressivist dogmas that are allowed to supersede actual scientific facts (i.e. the mantra that “race” is nothing but a “social construct” when the absolute facts of biology indicate that it is very much a biological construct . . .etc.)

    I think my friend is being a little harsh (I’m not a fan of Bill Nye, but then I also never mistook him for an actual scientist), but he’s far, far, far from the anti-science Neanderthals that the March for Science proponents imagine their opponents to be.

    I’m suggesting that the March for Science probably did more harm than good when it comes to the actual well being of science. Time will tell. I will say, though, that if you think Marches really make a difference, go spend some time talking to the Pro-Life fanatics. Hundreds of thousands of them have been marching in D.C. every single year for almost 50 years – and it’s pretty much gotten them absolutely nothing (seriously, they’ve accomplished practically none of their objectives except for Marching once a year). Is it terribly scientific to adopt a tried and proven to be ineffective method to advance the cause of science? Much of it still comes across as a knee-jerk reaction rather than a thought out strategy on how to actually advance the cause of science.

    But then what do I know? I’m just a YouTube video watching moron who likes to shoot things.

  6. I didn’t say “a bunch of yokels”, you did. Are you saying majority of Americans don’t watch dumb down TV programming and are not in love with their guns? Do they read books and discuss French poetry? Am I missing something? I merely pointed out what is observably and statistically the most popular pastime in this country and probably in the world (minus the guns).
    I’m not SHOOTING the “messenger”. I’m responding with what I heard some people say about what people you heard are saying. I know, there could be scientists who hate the march for science and there are gay people who hate pride parades. The world is complex. Nobody forces anybody to be 100% devoted to something and having idols only leads to disappointment. Sometimes I can’t stand Bill Nye and I’m getting annoyed at Neil Tyson sometimes but I can’t disregard all their work. I think their work is important. (Notice the key word: “sometimes”.)
    Now is not the time to get intricate about whether I like Neil Tyson’s neckties and wheather it should be a basis for rejecting Neil Tyson as a whole. If the march for science was stupid and political, what would it take to make it smart and bipartisan?
    You “know the guy”, you “heard people say”? What do YOU think?

  7. BTW, the elusive, precious, complicated anger and hurt many on the right and left are talking about that ‘we’ (who? the smug liberals?) supposedly don’t get?

    Not so complicated.

    One group of people doesn’t have a monopoly on anger and doesn’t get to elevate it to something justifiable as their way to get… their way. As one of the lowest animal emotions anger comes from the three most bipartisan things in the world: poverty, hopelessness and under representation. If anger helped elect D. T. then I guess we all see now where it can lead us.

    We must not fuel anger and we must not turn it into a narrative that defines us.

  8. Sorry if I read your post incorrectly, but it seemed to me that you were doing the very common thing of stereotyping the not-pro-March for Science folks.

    If you want to know why I am providing other folks opinions its because 1.) – I think it good to introduce other opinions not commonly voiced in this particular forum (i.e. attempting to not simply let these comment pages be an echo chamber) and 2.) – I don’t really have much of an opinion myself. At least not on this matter. I’m obviously in favor of science (it’s saved my life. it’s saved my wife’s life. it’s saved my father’s life . . . etc.), but I do think far too much hyperbole and political wankery has been employed within the “scientific world” in America for some time now. I don’t see that changing any time soon. Sure, I personally think the March was a bad idea (and I posted comments to that effect before the March), but it’s not as if that matters to a hill of beans or that I feel strongly enough about it to care. Science isn’t going away, no matter what Trump does or scientists say. If the world is going to blow up or melt or freeze, let it. I’m a cynic at heart, and I’m positive that all the good will in the entire world wouldn’t be enough to actually get anything useful to happen since the UN is utterly incapable and corrupt. Let’s say climate change is bringing about imminent destruction (and I accept the scientific consensus that the globe is warming although I may be skeptical on time tables), I strongly doubt “carbon taxes” are going to stop it. I absolutely reject the notion that places like China or the Middle East would agree to any sort of carbon treaties, or that if they agreed to them they wouldn’t just turn around and break them if it served their own national interests. I don’t buy into the Pollyanna finger sucking, and I think far too many folks take their understanding of humanity and human nature from Star Trek vice reality. I read a lot of history, and history is no place for wishful thinking. Especially the often outrageous and scandalous history of science – talk about a twisted tale! Most folks have no idea how good we have it right now, but I am digressing. At any rate, life goes on, so I don’t lose any sleep over it.

    That’s my opinion. You asked for it.

    I do think what you say in your post is true (folks shouldn’t make idols out of pop-figure, the world is complicated, folks should not feel they have to agree 100% with everything one side says), but I don’t see those ideas reflected either in the March or in the mentality of the movers and shakers behind the March. It’s easy to say these things, it’s a much harder matter to actually, seriously consider them and, with a measured dose of humility, allow those idea to change what you think, how you act, and who you are. What many folks do is say those things to make it look like they’re really being open minded, and then try to think of a clever, snarky sign they can carry in the March to get some “cool points” anyway. (please note, by some people I am NOT including you, Peaot). When even CNET is giving negative coverage of the snarky signs (and that’s not right-wing publication) . . . .well, it’s not very good PR.

  9. My snarky sign said “Question science with more science” and that’s all I have to say about it.
    I don’t buy the “noble anger the cushy liberals don’t get” narrative. Hurt, poverty and under representation is bipartisan and indiscriminate. Note: there is a lot of hurt and anger out there but not all hurt and angry people resorted to electing DT for president. Elevating anger to a virtue only fuels and justifies it as a motivation to do pretty stupid things unchecked. “Sure, you can elect psychopaths as long as it makes you less angry, sweetie”, one might have to say.

  10. Sorry. You’re clearly talking about something else entirely. I’m sorry I didn’t communicate better in my post. I have no idea how hurt, poverty, and anger became the topic of discussion. Please carry on. I’ll politely bow out at this point.

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