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THIS IS THE YASMIN-DISCUSSIONS DIGEST
1. March for (Not Just Any) Science (i.e., Elon Musk ?
Buckminster Fuller) (YASMIN DISCUSSIONS)
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2018 09:55:47 -0500
From: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS <email@example.com>
Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] March for (Not Just Any) Science (i.e.,
Elon Musk ? Buckminster Fuller)
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
All: apologies for the stunted nature of this discussion, which I hope may still have an opportunity to get rolling after a glitchy start. With the March for Science <https://www.marchforscience.com/> coming up this weekend, this seems an apt moment to reengage. Science for the People has put out an excellent statement on their position in the form of a downloadable pamphlet <https://scienceforthepeople.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Pamphlet_layout4.pdf>.
Sigrid, thanks so much for your account of the SftP convention <https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/> back in Feb! I have been extremely inspired by the lively and respectful discussion on the SftP Google group <https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/sftporg> with regard to the co-creation of content in support of the rapidly growing SftP movement.
Thoughts that I have been wanting to share in the context of this YASMIN discussion on SftP have been influenced by that discussion, by documents contained in the new Science for the People book <http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people>, as well as by my ongoing frustration with what seems to be well-meaning but not wholly constructive unconditional and uncritical reverence for an ill-defined ?science? (I see this commonly in the midst of the interdisciplinary art/science community of which I ? and certainly many members of this list ? are a part).
My post for the YASMIN group turned into the essay below (also posted on my blog <http://alycesantoro.blogspot.com/2018/04/thoughts-on-occasion-of-2018-march-for.html>). Input welcome.
More generally, it would be very interesting to hear from anyone who has found themselves engaged in the very delicate and potentially fraught task of constructively critiquing science while simultaneously vehemently defending it.
Regards to all,
March for (Not Just Any) Science (i.e., Elon Musk ? Buckminster Fuller)
When the public sector is at the service of the private sector, the economic interests of the few are bound to trump the needs of the many. In places throughout the world ? regardless of political framework ? Earth?s inherent elements have been utilized by humans <applewebdata://75244A31-3ECD-4D3C-BA1F-15E0637FE1EF#_ftn1> in ways that are gravely shortsighted.
Indeed, it is now amply evident that practices that have prevailed around the globe for eons have caused cumulative harm, putting at risk the continued viability of all life on Earth. While it could be argued that many humans are complicit by (wildly varying) degrees, dependence on current systems is often by carefully orchestrated design; continued concentration of wealth and power depends upon it.
While we can speculate on the extent to which figures throughout history have been aware of the damage they were wreaking, specific examples <https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exxon-knew-about-climate-change-almost-40-years-ago/> of full awareness <https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/04/05/shell-knew-too-new-docs-show-oil-giants-scientists-secretly-warned-about-climate> can now be easily sited. Of one thing we can be certain: on the path to domination, awareness, however acute, could always been justified away through dehumanization and abstraction of those and that which require oppression, exploitation, and extraction.
Given overwhelming current data, it is impossible for anyone acting today to not know.
#ExxonKnew, #ShellKnew, #AlexanderVonHumboltKnew, #BuckminsterFullerKnew, #RachelCarsonKnew, #TrumpKnows, #EverybodyKnows.
??we can make all of humanity successful through science's world-engulfing industrial evolution provided that we are not so foolish as to continue to exhaust in a split second of astronomical history the orderly energy savings of billions of years' energy conservation aboard our Spaceship Earth. These energy savings have been put into our Spaceship's life-regeneration-guaranteeing bank account for use only in self-starter functions.? ? Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, 1968
?The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world ? the very nature of its life.? ? Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962
?By felling the trees which cover the tops and sides of mountains, men in all climates seem to bring upon future generations two calamities at once; want of fuel and a scarcity of water.? ? Alexander von Humboldt, Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America: During the Years 1799-1804
In the interest of keeping the wheels of progress greased, theses voices and those of many others who espoused similar sentiments have been meticulously avoided, shunned, and marginalized.
Not knowing is no longer a valid excuse (if it ever was).
Coal mining, alternating current, fast food, commercial airline travel, plastics, factory farming, nuclear power, the atomic bomb, the internal combustion engine, vaccines, antibiotics, Agent Orange, hydraulic fracturing, petrochemical agriculture, weapons systems, rockets to Mars. Are these technologies good, evil?or some of each? While we may at least be able to agree that scientists (people with specialized expertise, interests, and expectations) used science (a system designed to remove bias to the greatest extent possible) to create these technologies, science cannot tell us whether its products are ultimately constructive or harmful or how, when, and whether to use them. Science and its revered ?objective? method do not contain ethical components. It is the people practicing science who are now, and who have always been, responsible for determining what research questions are appropriate and worthy of exploration. What is considered conscionable may change over time. The debate about what forms of research are moral and just must be an earnest, ongoing, and inclusive one.
There is not now and there has never been any legitimate question as to whether science as a tool for gathering knowledge is necessary and important. In light of recent data (produced by science) and our growing awareness of the direness of current circumstances, science as an instrument can and will be vital in crafting solutions to problems that science itself, when wielded with a lack of emphasis on possible consequences, had a hand in creating.
Said another way: if we are using science to further our ?progress?, and our definition of progress is problematic, science as a vehicle is bound to deliver us to an undesirable destination (case in point: Earth?s biosphere circa 2018).
As we gather to march for science, this can be an opportunity to become clear on our collective definition of progress and unified in our vision of the kind of science (humanitarian, ecologically sound, and just? Or devoted to profit over people and planet?) we are marching for.
Whether and when ?science? is revered or reviled and by whom has everything to do with that entity?s interests (self or otherwise). If those interests are primarily economic, then any science that hinders financial gain (i.e.: anthropogenic greenhouse warming; sea level rise; water, soil, and air contamination by toxic effluent, etc.) will be vigorously opposed. At the same time, any science that furthers the entity?s agenda (i.e.: fracking, offshore drilling, weapons development, etc.) will be embraced, promoted?and well-funded.
In the case of the current administration and its advocates: it is not science per se that is being attacked; rather, these groups seek to quell any challenge to the top-down social and economic paradigms upon which their radically self-serving agendas depend.
As scientists, we can take into consideration the impact of our efforts, and ask ourselves to what extent our skills and resources are being devoted to humane outcomes. We can, like Buckminster Fuller, imagine what an anticipatory design science <https://www.bfi.org/design-science/primer/fuller-design-science> would look like.
As concerned citizens and advocates, we can be discerning about the kinds of science we defend.
Richard Levins, geneticist/ecologist and prominent member of Science for the People <https://scienceforthepeople.org/>, suggested the following rule of thumb, ??all theories are wrong which promote, justify, or tolerate injustice. The wrongness may be in the data, its interpretation, or application, but if we search for that wrongness, we will also be led to truth.?
May our shared love for science and the world it examines lead us to truth.
 <applewebdata://75244A31-3ECD-4D3C-BA1F-15E0637FE1EF#_ftnref> The Anthropocene is being proposed by some scientists and philosophers as a term to define the current geological epoch. While the word accurately identifies humans as profound influencers of our planet?s biogeophysical systems, it must be constantly stressed that not all humans are equally complicit.
> On Mar 15, 2018, at 5:00 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> wrote:
> THIS IS THE YASMIN-DISCUSSIONS DIGEST
> Today's Topics:
> 1. Re: Science for the People (YASMIN DISCUSSIONS)
> Message: 1
> Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2018 12:04:45 -0400
> From: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>
> To: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>
> Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] Science for the People
> <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed
> Dear YASMIN community,
> Thank you so much for inviting Science for the People (SftP) to
> participate in an online conversation with you all! And I apologize for
> the difficulty we've had keeping up the conversation. I think the
> problem is just timing (especially the technical glitch that pushed the
> conversation back). Since we held the first convention of the
> revitalized SftP in the first week of February, people who participated
> have been just flooded with SftP-related emails and have been very
> occupied with the work of building on that convention to place the new
> structures in place so that we can move forward as an organization.
> What I can offer now are a few observations on the convention and an
> update on where we seem to be going, with the hope that others will
> chime in more as well.
> The convention was held on the Ann Arbor campus of the University of
> Michigan, and it brought together people from all over the US along with
> a representative from Mexico City and a scholar from Hong Kong who spoke
> on the food sovereignty movement in China.
> Ann Arbor was not only one of the major centers of the original Science
> for the People (noted especially, then and now, for its production of
> radical agro-ecologists -- it is still a hub for the New World
> Agriculture and Ecology Group, an outgrowth of SftP). It was also the
> campus where acclaimed radical mathematician Chandler Davis
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandler_Davis <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandler_Davis>> was dismissed from his
> faculty position for refusing to cooperate with the McCarthy-era House
> Unamerican Activities Committee, which persecuted those, like Chandler,
> associated with or suspected of association with communism. Chandler
> joined us for the convention -- an honor and tremendous source of
> inspiration we had not anticipated when the convention organizing first
> Another highlight of the convention for me was a session with two
> reports on Chiapas. The first was by John Vandermeer, who has already
> posted a comment on this two weeks ago. The second was by Dianne
> Rocheleau (feminist geographer recently retired from Clark University)
> who Skyped in from Chiapas and offered a complementary perspective. I
> was especially intrigued by their different perspectives on how the
> Zapatistas view the relationship between modern science and traditional
> forms of knowledge. Consistent with John's earlier post on this list, in
> his presentation at the convention, John emphasized the calls made by
> leading members of the Zapatistas for "real science" or "scientific
> science" -- as opposed to what many outsiders more critical of science
> seem to come to Chiapas wanting to talk about. Dianne, on the other
> hand, said that she encountered more diversity of perspective on this
> question, with some people emphasizing the contempt for anything
> smacking of "pseudoscience" that John highlighted, while others seem to
> care deeply that modern science engage respectfully with forms of
> indigenous knowledge. I hope I am representing what John and Dianne said
> accurately -- if not, John at least can correct me! In any case, the
> exchange reinforced for me a point that I think will remain one of the
> most important areas of friendly debate for people in the radical
> science movement as we move forward: the significance of "indigenous"
> and/or "traditional" knowledge in our critical (but by no means
> "anti-scientific") analysis of modern science.
> On a related note, SftP's publications committee is putting together a
> pamphlet that we plan to have available for the March for Science in
> April. It will cover, among other things, "aspects of modern science
> that are worth defending/upholding" and "aspects of modern science that
> should be critiqued/attacked/dismantled." To stimulate thoughtful
> consideration of these questions, the pamphlet organizers are
> encouraging SftP chapters to consider this excerpt from the late,
> notable SftP leader Dick Levins as a jumping-off point. I'll close by
> quoting that selection, with the thought that it might stimulate
> conversation on YASMIN as well!
> _Richard Levins, "Ten Propositions on Science and Anti-Science," 1996_
> It has proven very difficult for contemporary thought to deal with
> the dual
> nature of science as an episode in the growth of human knowledge in
> and as the class-, gender-, and culture-bound product of Euro-North
> American capitalism in particular. Various movements have seized
> upon the
> one or the other aspect of science to conclude either that, despite
> its imperfections,
> science is the only way to progress or that, despite its achievements,
> science is basically mystification and domination, an enemy of
> freedom and
> Both scientism and modem antiscience are one-sided. This is not the same
> as ?extreme,? the ultimate reproach of liberal criticism. ?Extreme?
> as its preferred opposite ?moderate,? a solution with the
> implication that the
> truth is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, or ?not all
> black or white, but
> some shade of grey,? an optimal middle ground defined by the
> extremes that
> are rejected. ?One-sided? is used in Marxist criticism as an opposite of
> dialectical, a failure to see the contradictory nature of all processes.
> (Sigrid Schmalzer, firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>)
> YASMIN DISCUSSIONS <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>
> On 02/24/2018 08:32 PM, YASMIN DISCUSSIONS wrote:
>> Thanks to Roger and the YASMIN admin team for hosting this discussion, to our invited specialist commentators (welcome!), and to all members of the list for taking the time to read along and/or engage with this dialog!
>> As we are all amply aware, scientists, science-oriented-artists, and the public at large have extremely obvious, sound, and urgent reasons to defend and exalt science in general. At the same time, as interdisciplinary practitioners, we may be uniquely positioned to examine and critique underlying systems of power and the cooptation of scientific knowledge by commercial and militaristic interests.
>> Science for the People (SftP)<https://scienceforthepeople.org/ <https://scienceforthepeople.org/>> has been addressing these issues for decades. All of this discussion's invited Specialist Commentators are part of the newly re-formed SftP?one of them belonged to the original group that formed in the late 1960s.
>> While it would be very interesting to hear about ways members of the YASMIN list have been engaging in ?radical science? (confronting social issues within the context of your practice), the primary question I propose we begin with is one that has been previously alluded to on this list:
>> Is a new scientific method ? or an addendum or supplement to the standard one ? that contains ethical tenets necessary? What would it look like? How would it be implemented?
>> I have pasted a few references below that have informed my own thinking on the subject. I look forward to your responses!
>> With best wishes and hopes that we can all find ways to transmute current socio-political absurdities into meaningful, constructive action!
>> Alyce Santoro
>> alycesantoro.com <http://alycesantoro.com/><http://www.alycesantoro.com/ <http://www.alycesantoro.com/>>
>> @alyceobvious<http://www.twitter.com/alyceobvious <http://www.twitter.com/alyceobvious>>
>> RELATED READING. I hope that others will feel compelled to add to this list?along with your responses, if supporting materials come to mind, please do include them!
>> ***HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: The brand new Science for the People: Documents from America?s Movement of Radical Scientists<http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people <http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people>> edited by Sigrid Scmalzer, Daniel S. Chard, and Alyssa Botelho***
>> "Toward the Renewal of Science"<http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08935699008657929 <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08935699008657929>> by Richard Levins (Rethinking Marxism, Volume 3, Number 3-4, Fall/Winter 1990) ? thanks to John Vandermeer for this recommendation!
>> The Dialectical Biologist<http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674202832&content=reviews <http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674202832&content=reviews>> by Levins/Lewontin
>> Ecology: Key Concepts in Critical Theory<https://books.google.com/books/about/Ecology.html?id=RkYSAQAAIAAJ <https://books.google.com/books/about/Ecology.html?id=RkYSAQAAIAAJ>> edited by Carolyn Merchant
>> Goethe?s Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature<http://www.sunypress.edu/p-2720-goethes-way-of-science.aspx <http://www.sunypress.edu/p-2720-goethes-way-of-science.aspx>> edited by Henri Bortoft and Arthur Zajonc
>> The Wholeness of Nature:?Goethe's Way Toward a Science of Conscious Participation in Nature<https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Wholeness_of_Nature.html?id=xpogAQAAIAAJ <https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Wholeness_of_Nature.html?id=xpogAQAAIAAJ>> by Henri Bortoft
>>> Message: 2
>>> Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:09:39 -0600
>>> From: YASMIN DISCUSSIONS <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>>
>>> To:firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>
>>> Subject: [Yasmin_discussions] yasmin discussion Science for the People
>>> <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>>>
>>> we have good news, thanks to the hard work of Dimitris Charitos the list is now
>>> up again on the cloud and we are pleased to announce the promised discussion
>>> on Science for the People: Radical Science for the 21st Century.
>>> The discussion will be moderated by Alyce Santoro and myself.
>>> the science for the people organisation just held a convention
>>> https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/ <https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/> <https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/ <https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/>>
>>> if you attended we encourage you to tell us about it
>>> Alyce and Roger
>>> Science for the People: Radical Science for the 21st Century.
>>> In the late 1960s through late 1980s, scientists unwilling to
>>> contribute to the development of technologies that pollute, oppress,
>>> and destroy, or to research tainted by military, political, and
>>> corporate interests, were organizing around the questions Why are we<http://science-for-the-people.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SftP-SESPA_founding-document-3.pdf <http://science-for-the-people.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SftP-SESPA_founding-document-3.pdf>>scientists? For whose benefit do we serve? What is the full measure of<http://science-for-the-people.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SftP-SESPA_founding-document-3.pdf <http://science-for-the-people.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SftP-SESPA_founding-document-3.pdf>>our moral and social responsibility<http://science-for-the-people.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SftP-SESPA_founding-document-3.pdf <http://science-for-the-people.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SftP-SESPA_founding-document-3.pdf>>?. Members of Science for the<http://science-for-the-people.org/ <http://science-for-the-people.org/>>People (SftP)<http://science-for-the-people.org/ <http://science-for-the-people.org/>> (sometimes referred to more generally as the radical
>>> science movement) were dedicated to crafting a science that is
>>> ethical, egalitarian, and cooperative, and were committed in their own
>>> work to research that above all serves the health of humans and the
>>> Science for the People is currently being revitalized by scientists
>>> and scholars on college campuses across the US.Science for the<https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people <https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people>>People: Documents from America?s Movement of Radical Scientists<https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people <https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people>>, a
>>> brand new anthology of historical material, is fresh off the presses.
>>> The second annual SftP National Convention<https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/ <https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/national-convention/>> took place at the
>>> University of Michigan from February 2-4, 2017.
>>> A bit more background:
>>> Don't Just Defend Science, Mobilize It for the People<https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/03/14/importance-using-science-solve-social-problems-essay <https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/03/14/importance-using-science-solve-social-problems-essay>>: While science
>>> is under attack, it could be an opportunity to advance a much stronger
>>> vision of how it can serve the common good, writes Sigrid Schmalzer:
>>> Which Way for Science?<https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/2017/12/27/which-way-for-science/ <https://scienceforthepeople.org/index.php/2017/12/27/which-way-for-science/>> A statement by the SftP editorial team on the
>>> occasion of the April 2017 March for Science
>>> DISCUSSION HOSTS/INVITED RESPONDENTS:
>>> Lisette E. Torres is a disabled mother-scholar-activist of color
>>> dedicated to critically examining the intersections of race, gender,
>>> disability, and science identity and how they impact knowledge
>>> production and STEM. She is a former aquatic ecologist, a member of
>>> Science for the People, and a co-founder for the National Coalition
>>> for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD).
>>> http://www.latinxdisabilitycoalition.com <http://www.latinxdisabilitycoalition.com/> <http://www.latinxdisabilitycoalition.com/ <http://www.latinxdisabilitycoalition.com/>>
>>> https://about.me/TorresGerald <https://about.me/TorresGerald> <https://about.me/TorresGerald <https://about.me/TorresGerald>>
>>> Abha Sur is a scientist turned historian of science. She is the author
>>> of Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender, and Modern Science in India (New
>>> Delhi: Navayana, 2011). She teaches in the Program in Women's & Gender
>>> Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT.
>>> Abha Sur is a longstanding member of the Alliance for a Secular and
>>> Democratic South Asia, a Cambridge based organization that raises
>>> awareness about issues of social justice through seminars, panel
>>> discussions and cultural events.
>>> John Vandermeer is a theoretical ecologist, agroecologist and tropical
>>> ecologist, who teaches at the University of Michigan and does research
>>> in Michigan, Mexico and Puerto Rico. He was a long term member of the
>>> original SftP, having been at the Chicago AAAS meetings where at least
>>> one of the beginnings of the organization is reported to have
>>> happened. He also is a founding member of the New World Agriculture
>>> and Ecology group, an offshoot of SftP.
>>> Ben Allen is a scientist, educator, and labor activist in east
>>> Tennessee. He is an organizer for the revitalized Science for the
>>> People and is member of the Science for the People Research
>>> Collective. In addition to organizing, he works as a contractor on
>>> computational biology projects related to energy and environment.
>>> Alyce Santoro is a conceptual/sound artist and writer with a
>>> background in biology and scientific illustration. She will be a
>>> candidate in RISDs new Nature-Culture-Sustainability MA program
>>> starting in fall 2018.http://www.alycesantoro.com <http://www.alycesantoro.com/> <http://www.alycesantoro.com/ <http://www.alycesantoro.com/>>
>>> Yasmin Moderators:
>>> Alyce Santoro and Roger Malina
>> Yasmin_discussions mailing list
>> Yasmin_discussions@ntlab.gr <mailto:Yasmin_discussions@ntlab.gr>
> Sigrid Schmalzer
> Professor, History Department
> University of Massachusetts Amherst
> /Red Revolution, Green Revolution: Scientific Farming in Socialist
> <http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/R/bo22541357.html <http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/R/bo22541357.html>>
> (University of Chicago Press, 2016)
> /Science for the People: Documents from America's Movement of Radical
> Scientists/ <https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people <https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/science-people>>
> (University of Massachusetts Press, 2018)
> /Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu
> Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming/
> <https://tilburyhouse.com/book/education-and-teaching/by-subject/multicultural/moth-and-wasp-soil-and-ocean/ <https://tilburyhouse.com/book/education-and-teaching/by-subject/multicultural/moth-and-wasp-soil-and-ocean/>>
> (Tilbury House, 2018) -- picture book
> Subject: Digest Footer
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