AAAS uses Science March to make money and swell membership

March 25, 2017 • 1:45 pm

I’ve never been a big fan of the American Association for the Advancement of Science: they are too soft on faith, and in fact include a Templeton-founded program, Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER), whose goal is reconcile science and evolution with religion–largely Christianity (the program is headed by an evangelical Christian astronomer; see here, here, and here).. The DoSER program outrages me because a science organization shouldn’t be promoting a particular theological view (accommodationism). I have never joined the AAAS and never will.

Now, with the Science March in the offing, the AAAS is using it to swell membership and get money. Nearly every day I get an email ad from them asking you to join to support science (no way, AAAS—not till you ditch the faith-osculation) and to buy stuff from them. Here’s the latest:

I’m sorry, but this just strikes me as venal, especially because I get these inducements almost every day. The ads didn’t start appearing until the Science March was announced, so they’re clearly connected to that.

I am part of the force for science, but I’m not giving my dosh to an organization that also coddles religion, and that piggybacks on a march organized by others to swell its membership. It’s fine if the AAAS sponsors the Science March, but, as I said the other day, the aims of the Science March aren’t even clear.

32 thoughts on “AAAS uses Science March to make money and swell membership

  1. Is there a pro-science organization that welcomes non-scientists? I’d be interested in joining something like that. I looked at AAAS a long while back and came to the same conclusions as Dr. Coyne about it.

    1. @ajlowry Join a Humanist organisation in your locale as a starting point! In my case that’s the BHA [British Humanist Association] – membership is £3/month. On their ‘about’ page [link below] they define a Humanist as follows:

      ** Trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic)

      ** Makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals

      ** Believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same

      1. Good suggestion. In the U.S., there are, for example,the American Humanist Association, Americans United,Center for Inquiry,Freedom from Religion Foundation, Military Religious Freedom Foundation,Secular Coalition for America, Union of Concerned Scientists, etc. There are numerous scientific organizations, internet sites, magazines and books without religious components to help support.

        1. That’s a great list, thanks! I’m already part of AU and FFRF, and will have a look around at the others you mentioned.

      1. When I got my first real job I was very proud to finally have enough money to give some of it away. I made a small (but significant to me) donation to UCS. I was subsequently deluged with emails, mailings, and phone calls asking for more money. As far as I can tell, they spent my entire donation harassing me for cash. They will not get another penny from me.

        1. I sent in dues, and I receive a newsletter and the OCCASIONAL solicitation, not too much. I don’t know when your experience took place, maybe they’ve toned it down since then?

          1. It has been more years than I care to count so hopefully they’ve recalibrated their focus since then.

      2. @Alphe Neil I just visited their site & every page has ‘radio’ buttons along the bottom so one can select a donation amount: $25, $50, $100, $250, $1000 or Other 🙂

        @Rita They seem to be USA-centric since all nine of their bloggers are US educated Americans & there are few comments/interactions at the site[s] – I dunno where ajlowry lives

        1. I think they are focused on USA, since they focus on legislation and funding in the US.

          I do’t pay attention to radio buttons, if I’m not going to donate, they’re easy to ignore. I have more sympathy for organizations that survive on donor contributions, since I’m the organizer of a humanist group, and guess what? You need money to operate, even on a shoestring.

  2. Yes, these ads keep appearing in my In-box. It was irritating to see them using the March for Science as a commercial opportunity.
    Next we will see commercials of people dressed up like Darwin and Newton on TV saying: “Believe in the power of science? Are you concerned about the new administrations’ placement of science deniers and wealthy tycoons in positions that oversee the environment?? Then C’mon down!!! We’ve got SUVs that run on clean diesel! And the new Chevy Volt is here!!!

  3. Very sad indeed. People would be better off joining this sight and donating the money to PCC(E). I know PCC(E) wouldn’t accept the money, but i am sure if he did, he would use it appropriately.

    1. Nope, I don’t want any money from readers; if there’s a cause that I’d favor people donating to, like the Freedom from Religion Foundation, I let them know.

      On the other hand, I would like 50,000 subscribers! Is that too much to ask for a poor boy who writes for free?

    2. You can ‘donate’ by buying Jerry’s books. As I understand it this site was set up to promote and to answer questions about the book of the same name (which is excellent, btw).

  4. I nearly always hear about attempts to reconcile evolution with Christianity but rarely with other faiths. It’s usually some ‘compromise’ like intelligent design: evolution happens but it is directed.

    How the hell would a Buddhist reconcile the two? Is random mutation replaced by karma so if you are good in this life you get to reincarnate as a giraffe with a longer neck?

  5. I don’t mind the AAAS is trying to expand its membership. Besides the accomodationism they are overall a force for good and science. I had neglected to join previously but I joined because of this offer.

  6. IMO the most important organization to join and donate to is the ACLU They’ve already accomplished a huge amount during these first few weeks of #The Resistance. The’ve helped prevent the unConstitutional Muslim ban and organized a massive phone banking system that was instrumental in terrifying the House into abandoning its attempt to repeal the ACA.

    And if you want to march and demonstrate go for the People’s Climate March April 29
    Science issues can be dealt with through organized lobbying of your political representatives. The problem of #GlobalWarming affects everyone and every life form on the planet.

    1. Why did the ACLU phone bank about health care reform? What in the world does that issue have to do with free speech and the first amendment???

      Actually, I know the answer to that, and it is that unfortunately several years ago the ACLU revised their charter so that they could become just another lobbying organization for a smorgasbord of liberal and left-wing causes. Some of these causes are fine, but others, such as rhetorically defending the Iranian regime and supporting them at UN NGO fora, are not.

      1. “Some of these causes are fine, but others, such as rhetorically defending the Iranian regime and supporting them at UN NGO fora, are not.”

        These free speech rights are as legitimate for causes you don’t like as for those you do. They in fact belie your assumption that that the ACLU fights only for “liberal” causes.

        The organized phone banking against the repeal of the ACA was a testing of the ACLU’s new
        “People Power” training program
        to teach citizens how to most effectively express their concerns to their representatives. It’s also backing the effort to get people to confront their reps directly in public meetings.

        1. Nope, not seeing the connection between one side or another of the health care reform debate and the issue of free speech.

          Also not seeing the connection between free speech and which fora the US government chooses to explicitly subsidize and endorse at the UN.

          Try again.

  7. I’ve actually been a member of AAAS for some years but had increasing concerns. Finally decided to leave over the March (although they are proving slow to return my subscription money). Where were the marches in defense of vaccines, GMOs, nuclear power and other scientific endeavors often falsely maligned. Science denial is not restricted to one side of the political spectrum although this administration poses some serious issues. Scientists need to make their voices heard but they offer a complex message that can’t be broken down into simple chants.

    1. Science denial is restricted to republicans at the level of elected politicians. None of the dem candidates were climate change and evolution deniers like the all the republicans were.

      1. So it was Republicans on the Berkeley city council that banned nuclear power and put that on all of the entry signs to the city?

  8. Not directly related, but I’m noticing these signs showing up for “hate has no home here” and I’m wondering what it means. Looked it up:

    “The Hate Has No Home Here Project promotes just and inclusive communities by encouraging neighbors to declare their homes, schools, businesses, and places of worship to be safe places where everyone is welcome and valued.”


    Safe places in your house I guess. So if I don’t jump on board, then,…

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