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story.lead_photo.caption Haleigh Eubanks, a Ph.D. candidate in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, speaks at Saturday’s March for Science rally outside the state Capitol in Little Rock. ( Mitchell PE Masilun)

Johnny Sain spent his childhood listening to the song of the whippoorwill, learning the difference between harmless and venomous snakes and examining "critters" that his grandfather caught for him and kept in a jar.

He didn't have a college degree or a white coat. Just his curiosity.

"I was an observer," Sain said. "Of course, I had no credentials. But I was, by the most basic definition, a scientist."

Sain, a conservationist and interim executive director of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, joined many actual scientists at the Arkansas Capitol on Saturday afternoon as part of a global rally to promote science and reason. Outdoorsmen, engineers and medical researchers were among more than 1,000 people who participated in Little Rock.

Many were protesting the policies of President Donald Trump, who has called global warming a hoax and proposed cutting the budgets of the federal Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent and the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent. The president has proposed cuts to most federal agencies, even eliminating some, to offset an increase in defense spending and to promote private enterprise in the public sector.

Dozens of rally attendees carried signs that were critical of the Trump administration. One said "Make America Think Again," a play on Trump's campaign slogan. Another sign called for "evidence, not alternative facts."

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Nora Simmons of Conway was among those who said Trump's policies on science and the environment were concerning.

"We believe in science, and without science everything around us doesn't exist," she said. "It's important that our government understands that we don't want science funding cut and we want our environment protected."

Rally participants chanted "science not silence" as they marched west on Capitol Avenue in Little Rock.

Researchers from UAMS Medical Center and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro were among those who spoke to attendees Saturday.

The Arkansas Sierra Club, a chapter of a national conservation group, organized the march.

"Yes, science matters," said Glen Hooks, director of the Arkansas Sierra Club. "But I'm not seeing that it matters enough to our elected officials and our decision makers. I'm seeing our elected leaders actively ignoring science and governing by anecdote instead of using facts and data. I've seen our elected officials actively deny that our human activities are causing the climate to warm, even though virtually every climate scientist on earth says that's what happening."

For Simmons, the march was more than political. It was personal.

She said her son was born with omphalocele, a birth defect in which a child's liver, intestines or other organs develop outside the abdominal wall.

It's a rare condition that's often fatal. But he survived.

"Without medical science," Simmons said, "he would not be alive."

Metro on 04/23/2017

Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
People mingle Saturday after the March for Science rally on the front steps of the state Capitol in Little Rock.

Print Headline: Rally at Capitol promotes science


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Archived Comments

  • Whippersnapper
    April 24, 2017 at 1:11 p.m.

    Different scientists have different positions. As someone with multiple degrees in hard sciences (including graduate), I find it comical that you think science is universally in agreement on anything. Some guy named Newton created the "Laws of motion." Using Democrat-logic, that is clearly settled science (and shouldn't be challenged). Fortunately for all of us, some guy named Einstein came along and completely upended our understanding of the universe and helped us understand that Newtonian physics are not the whole story.
    I have read all of the "hard science" from the Physical Science Working Group (not to be confused with the politicians) on the IPCC. You know what folks miss out when they move the results from the Science papers to the Policy papers? These are all conclusions/admissions from the Physical Science folks on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
    1) The climate models do not match the data for the entire period of time they attempt to predict.
    2) The models miss because they overestimate the impact of human activity and underestimate the impact of natural variability.
    Yes, the actual science papers state that their models are all wrong because they overestimate the impact of man and underestimate the impact of nature on the temperature. Don't believe me? Go look them up yourself. I'll provide a link if you are too lazy or incompetent to find it yourself.
    As a man of science, I don't buy the liberal agenda being pushed. I know lots of men and women who are highly trained in the sciences who have read the actual research reports and don't buy it either. Liberal politicians, liberal media, and a liberal subset of scientists still claim it to be so, but the scientific research from the IPCC says otherwise. What was that you said? Oh yeah, I win.

  • RamblinRazorWreck
    April 24, 2017 at 1:19 p.m.

    Hey Packman, and it seems like they have now rejected post-modernism too, eh? :-)

    RBear, it sounds like you must have me pegged as a stupid old fart who knows nothing about this subject. I am not sure how you gathered that and your other assumptions from what I wrote, but hey, perhaps you have done some creepy research on me. Back to my point... do you think Al Gore's presence added or subtracted to the "credibility" of the Global Warming movement?

  • wildblueyonder
    April 24, 2017 at 1:31 p.m.

    Next thing they'll say is "global warming" is caused by the tides. They have no proof of their claim, just going with a liberal agenda, all a part of a global government.

  • 3WorldState1
    April 24, 2017 at 1:47 p.m.

    From the IPCC. The Forward, second paragraph.
    "The SYR ( Synthesis Report) (Most Current 2014) confirms that human influence on the climate system is clear and growing, with impacts observed across all continents and oceans. Many of the observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The IPCC is now 95 percent certain that humans are the main cause of current global warming.
    Continue Governor.

  • Whippersnapper
    April 24, 2017 at 2:08 p.m.

    1) "The long-term climate model simulations show a trend in global-mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2012 that agrees with the observed trend (very high confidence). There are, however, differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years (e.g., 1998 to 2012)."
    2) "There is medium confidence that natural internal decadal variability causes to a substantial degree the difference between observations and the simulations"
    3) "There may also be a contribution from forcing inadequacies and, in some models, an overestimate of the response to increasing greenhouse gas and other anthropogenic forcing (dominated by the effects of aerosols)."
    All of those quotes are from the most recent Scientific analysis by the IPCC science group.
    Number 1 says their models are wrong for the entire time they attempted to predict. Number 2 says they underestimated the impact of nature. Number 3 says they overestimated the impact of human activity.
    Carry on, 3rd grade reader. You cited the political summary, I cited the scientific report from September 2013 that the politicians claim to have used to formulate the "Synthesis Report" you cited. Science supports me, politics supports you. As ARMNAR said, I win.
    And because I believe in science, I cite my sources.
    ww . pdf

  • 3WorldState1
    April 24, 2017 at 2:36 p.m.

    I keep trying to find this "Physical Science Working Group" you are talking about. It always comes back to the IPCC. Please provide a link. I am too incompetent. I've been trying to imitate our President lately.
    Seriously though. I would like to read it. Though, have you read this IPCC?
    I've been having builders come over lately. One guy swears by this one technique (to control moisture), the other three I've had come out, and just about everything I read says the first guy is wrong. So, do I believe the majority of these professionals and almost everything i read online about the subject? Or that one guy? Though I am sure there are others that do the technique of the first. That doesn't make them right though, either. Reminds me of this debate.
    I tend to go by what the majority of the experts say. And that seems like what the IPCC is doing. They are taking the findings of scientists from all over the world and breaking down their findings into one report. No easy task to be sure.
    Don't forget the link please. Thanks!

  • RBear
    April 24, 2017 at 2:40 p.m.

    RRW, no assumptions. Just pointing out some of the fallacies of your argument and adding to the discussion. Take that for what you want, but you seemed to have run to one of the corners in the debate and that wasn't an accurate corner.

  • 3WorldState1
    April 24, 2017 at 2:48 p.m.

    From your Link: This is the Summary for th Policy Makers (for the IPCC)
    Globally, CO2 is the strongest driver of climate change compared to other changes in the atmospheric composition, and changes in surface conditions. Its relative contribution has further increased since the 1980s and by far outweighs the contributions from natural drivers. CO2 concentrations and rates of increase are unprecedented in the last 800,000 years and at least 20,000 years, respectively. Other drivers also influence climate on global and particularly regional scales. {5.2.2, 8.3.2, 8.5.1, Figure 8.6, Figure 8.17}
    AR4 concluded that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. New observations, longer data sets, and 37 more paleoclimate information give further support for this conclusion. Confidence is stronger that many 38 changes, that are observed consistently across components of the climate system, are significant, unusual or 39 unprecedented on time scales of decades to many hundreds of thousands of years.
    More comprehensive and improved observations strengthen the evidence that the ice sheets are losing mass,
    glaciers are shrinking globally, sea ice cover is reducing in the Arctic, and snow cover is decreasing and permafrost is thawing in the Northern Hemisphere. Ice is being lost from many of the components of the cryosphere, although there are significant regional differences in the rates of loss. {4.2–4.6, Table 4.1}

  • jaywills
    April 24, 2017 at 2:48 p.m.


  • 3WorldState1
    April 24, 2017 at 2:55 p.m.

    Thanks for the link Whipper, but I read all of this stuff in the ICPP. They got that info from the report you linked to. They were one of the working groups. I would say they did a pretty good job representing what this working group found. In my short rummaging around.
    Would you like me to add more observations from your report? They seem to say the opposite of what you are trying to express. Here's another:
    There is high confidence that during the last interglacial period, global mean sea level was between 16 and 10 m higher than present. There is medium confidence that the rate of current global mean sea level change is unusually high in the context of the past millennium. Paleo sea level data from many locations around the globe indicate centennial to millennial variations of likely less than 25 cm (medium confidence). Longer term trends of sea level change during the last few thousand years were about 10
    18 times smaller than the trend during the 20th century.
    Good stuff. And scary.
    To the other, You lost me at daily caller.