A "March for Science" is set for Washington, D.C. on Earth Day in April, and organizers hope to galvanize scientists to support scientific research and encourage policymaker to listen to evidence.
But Jonathan Berman, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio who is the lead organizer, said marchers want to capture the attention of President Donald Trump's administration over their concerns about science, The New York Times reported.
Some have criticized Trump's nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, who has been a critic of the organization and filed lawsuits against it, noted The Washington Post.
"The overall tone of the current government seems to be trending in an anti-science direction," Caroline Weinberg, a public health researcher and science writer in New York, told The New York Times. "That is why so many people were motivated to do something like march for science."
The March for Science will take place on the National Mall on April 22. A Facebook page dedicated to the March has more than 327,000 likes since its creation on Jan. 25. The New York Times said the campaign has drawn more than 1.3 million supporters between Facebook and Twitter.
"The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community," said a statement on the march's Facebook page. "Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world."
Some scientists, like Princeton University's William Happer, told the New York Times that he believes the march is a bad idea.
"I think the average American will scratch their head and say: 'What are they marching for? What is the threat?'" Happer, who has been cited as a potential science adviser to the Trump administration, said to the Times. "It's quite possible that this kind of public exercise could actually be bad for science — it's like the toddler banging his spoon in the highchair. It may not turn out to garner a lot of sympathy."
Forbes writer Kavin Senapathy said the march could make scientists look like partisans rather than objective, fact-driven researchers.
"The momentum of this movement is extraordinary and has huge potential, even if the founders couldn't have been prepared for the huge number of supporters," Senapathy wrote. "But like any massive movement forged in a partisan impulse, it could serve to widen a rift rather than work toward intended non-partisan objectives."
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