Phillip Drum was at the top of the speaker roster at the Rally preceding the March for Science – Wilmington. Phillip is a board member of the Humanists and Freethinkers of Cape Fear, and board treasurer. HFCF was the nonprofit sponsor of the March for Science, providing fiscal management, organizational support, administrative volunteers, and a large contingent of marchers.

Phill’s speech, the text of which is below, was a highlight of the March for Science rally.

phillip drum

Phillip Drum: Remarks on the March for Science

Hey everyone, my name is Phillip Drum and I wanted to talk to everyone for a minute about the importance of science, freethinking, and humanism.

Science has allowed us to create things like electricity, computers, antibacterial drugs, water filtration systems, rockets, and many more inventions. These and other positive contributions to society have made life better for humans and allowed us to live longer, more productive lives. Great humans of the past came up with these ideas by using simple principles grounded in facts, science, and logic.

It is amazing to think, that no human born before 1900 would have any idea:

Why the sun warms us on the beach
The size of our solar system in relation to the Universe
That eating a specific combination of molecules can kill the bacteria that is trying to kill you.

Freethinking is using your mind to discover the world for yourself and ignoring tradition, authority, revelation, or other dogma. However, freethinking is not something that you can do alone. We must discuss our ideas with others to determine which ideas work and which ideas are faulty.

I am not saying science is perfect. For the potential of nuclear fusion there are thermonuclear weapons, and for the future of automated cars there is the threat of artificial intelligence run amuck. Scientific knowledge is a power to do either good or bad in the world, but there are no instructions on how to use this knowledge.

One way to look at these negative possibilities is through the lens of humanism. The group I represent has principles like:

We need to search for truth and test beliefs we were given as children
That anyone can discover truth in the world through reason, evidence, and the scientific method.
That all humans need fulfillment, growth, creativity to live a happy life.
We are also concerned with this world, the justice and fairness in it, and want to build a better world since we don’t believe in any afterlife.

These ideas, these central tenants strive to accomplish one goal. To make life better for yourself and everyone else on this planet. We all have a choice every day of how much garbage we will put into the world, of how much poison we will put into our bodies with what we eat, and how much crap we will allow into our minds through television or religion or the internet.

These things can be quantified and proven by science for years, but it is the responsibility of the individual human to act. We have all a responsibility for what kind of Earth the next generation will inherit, and what kinds of statements will count as facts.

Thanks again for having me here. I wanted to end with this:

  • We must care about rational thinking
  • We must care about each other
  • We must care FOR each other

Read more about Wilmington’s March for Science.

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