Australian Skeptics Inc – why we’re marching for science

Members of the committee of Australian Skeptics Inc will join the March for Science in Sydney on April 22.

And those Skeptics who are thinking of taking part might consider joining us. We’re even offering very very cheap t-shirts so you can proudly declare both your skeptical and pro-science attitude. Full details of where we will be meeting and how to purchase a shirt are available here.

The March for Science was initially established in the US, where there is a considerable and growing anti-science movement, such as the concerning advance of the anti-vaccination movement. The M4S movement has now spread around the world, with marches being held on April 22 – Earth Day – to “bring together people from all walks of life who believe we need more evidence and reason in our political process”. Most Australian capital cities and some regional centres will be taking part.

Australia has its fair share of pseudoscientific movements. From the creationism movement in the 1980s to the popularity of today’s self-appointed nutritional expert “Paleo” Pete Evans; from the disgraced fake cancer sufferer Belle Gibson to the anti-vaccination movement, there have been many worrying challenges for Skeptics. And these have real impact – the anti-vax movement has created a misguided environment of fear and mistrust that has recently resulted in a case of tetanus in an unvaccinated child in the Northern Rivers region and a brain haemorrhage in a newborn with vitamin K deficiency. Meanwhile, politicians like One Nation’s Malcolm Roberts publically deny scientific consensus on climate change.

“Science and critical thinking have always been the core and the heart of the Skeptical movement,” says Eran Segev, President of Australian Skeptics Inc (ASI). “The opening sentence of our mission statement is ‘Australian Skeptics Inc will advocate critical thinking and scientific reasoning’, so we believe it is important to stand up and support any move that stresses the importance of science’s place in society and public and private policy.”

Tim Mendham, executive officer for Australian Skeptics Inc, says, “We need to ensure that science is properly funded, that critical thinking is applied to decision making at all levels, especially in government, and that science is central to the education of our children.”

The principles and goals of March for Science also include improving diversity and inclusion in science, increasing federal funding for scientific research and supporting individual scientists and their ability to communicate their findings freely.

Segev affirms that these are goals that the Skeptical movement in Australia have been pursuing for close to 40 years. “It’s something that we are proud of, and happy to continue to undertake as long as it is necessary – and it is more than necessary today.”

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