My Un-Speech at the March for Science

A few weeks ago I was asked to be one of four speakers at the March for Science!! Yay!!!

Which was super cool…..until I realized that I may not have been able to make it. So I sorrowfully declined, waah waah!!

And then, as these things usually happen, my schedule immediately cleared up so I could go! Yay!!

Except…they didn’t need me anymore….I’m still recovering from the whiplash injury to my ego. Its a thing. Look it up!

Nonetheless – the whole family went to the march and it was awesome with great speakers and funny signs and just the best atmosphere!

And because I’ve never stopped an invitation to talk – even one that’s rescinded – pass me by…..here’s the speech I would have given! Enjoy! I’ve also taken the liberty to anticipate the crowd’s response to my speech. You’ll note that this is pure conjecture on my part but I’m pretty sure that I’d have been able to achieve some non-zero crowd-surfing displacement – just sayin’!

Hi everyone!!

Thank you for coming out on this beautiful day to support science! We’re going to get our blood flowing and hearts pumping with a little call and response now!

When I say SCIENCE you say IS AWESOME – SCIENCE [Crowd: IS AWESOME],  SCIENCE [Crowd: IS AWESOME]!

[Crowd is clapping and cheering, there’s even some hooting and hollering] 

Great!! Now when I say SCIENCE you say IS NECESSARY – SCIENCE [Crowd: IS NECESSARY],  SCIENCE [Crowd: IS NECESSARY]!

[Crowd is clapping and cheering, some people are surreptitiously wiping away tears]

Fantastic, you’re all doing great! Now, when I say SCIENCE you say – AFTER APPROPRIATE PEER EVALUATION! SCIENCE [Crowd: unintelligible loud mumbling],  SCIENCE [Crowd: embarrassed laughter and unintelligible loud mumbling]!!

Ok, clearly we need to get our act together on that one! But hey, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad and some could call it significantly good with a p<0.05!

[Crowd roars with laughter, there’s some high fives too]

Thank you for coming out to support science today! By showing up you’re not just attesting to the major impact that science has in our daily lives but you’re underscoring the need to have evidence-based science drive our public policy.

[Crowd, which has up to this point all been in gray, suddenly turns to spectacular prismatic color â la Pleasantville]

You’re also underscoring the need to stop confusing fame and scientific understanding. You wouldn’t take medical advice from an accountant so don’t take scientific advice from a reality TV star. In this infinitely postulated multiverse there may be one where I am international basketball star and Shaquille ONeal is a science nerd, but trust me, this is not that universe!

[Crowd guffaws, some people swoon and need medical attention, they are screaming out my name – pronounced properly]

It has never been more important to have a scientifically informed electorate. Because only an electorate that understands the need for data-driven legislative decision-making can elect science savvy politicians. And only an electorate that understands the need for evidence-based science can support a politically savvy scientific community.

[Crowd starts openly weeping, soft rain falls from the heavens in benediction] 

And we are going to need them both – scientifically minded politicians and politically minded scientists!

[Crowd throws roses at me, a halo briefly appears behind my head]

The next challenges the world faces are going to be doozies – climate change, healthcare, cyber security, renewable energy, and the solutions for all of these will test the political will of the electorate and the communication ability of the scientists.

The next solutions are going to come not from the richest countries, not from the currently more advanced countries – they’re going to come from those countries that have the will to invest in the ingenuity and tenacity of all their citizens! The countries that realize that to become great again they cannot look to past glories. They must look ahead and embrace change and embrace innovation.

[Crowd gasps as the spectral manifestations of Einstein, Marie Curie, and Nyquist appear behind me. No not Gustav Nyquist of the Detroit Red Wings you idiots – electronic engineer Harry Nyquist of Nyquist’s Sampling Theorem of course – duh!]

And innovative solutions come from groups of people that can think outside the box. Groups of pure scientists, and engineers, and social scientists working together to iterate to an optimal solution. This will require us to approach each problem from multiple angles, and not one person or one party or one team is going to have the right answer- in many cases there won’t be just one right answer – none of these problems can be distilled down to a single tidy numeric solution. It’s going to take all of us, working hard, working together!

So thank you for coming out and pledging to do just that!

[Crowd roars, I am handed babies to kiss, Donald Trump pledges to fund the EPA, NIH, NASA, and NSF at 200% by canceling an unnecessary wall project and cutting the defense budget by half.]

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2 comments

  1. Damn you are good! Maybe you can speak at my inauguration (for what I don’t know), but one day…

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