The Scientific Activist

Good News and Bad News

OK, bad news first. Although I was told I would have internet in my house today, I still don’t, despite the militaristic tactics I’ve resorted to using with BT. However, BT tells me I should be online tomorrow. We’ll see. Once that happens, I should be able to get back to some actual serious blogging, unlike what’s been going on here lately….

The good news is that I got my copy of Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science today, so expect a review shortly. In fact, publishers have been sending me books like crazy lately (Is it the sudden hotness?), so you can actually look forward to a few book reviews in the near future.


  1. #1 Christensen
    September 6, 2006

    You know how scientists could really encourage social progress?

    All those geniuses should suddenly get the idea that they should stop providing wmds to the worlds governments.

    Just a thought.

    After all, where would Hitler have been without his scientists? (Hitlers Scientists, by John Cornwell)

  2. #2 Nick Anthis
    September 6, 2006

    That’s not really on topic… but I (and almost every scientist I know) are concerned with the ethical application of science in society. I think you’ll find that scientists are a pretty progressive bunch, although you don’t seem to think so.

  3. #3 Emanuel Goldstein
    September 6, 2006

    Christensen certainly has a point.

    If scientists are so progessive, why is the world filled with weapons that could end civilization in a few hours?

    The politicians are of course responsible, but they could not have done it on their own.

  4. #4 Nick Anthis
    September 6, 2006

    Only a very tiny percentage of scientists have ever been involved in weapons-related research. Most scientists, from what I can tell, oppose such research. Linus Pauling is a great example of a scientist who actively spoke out against nuclear proliferation, and he supported his case with scientific evidence, thus making a more convincing case than a non-scientist could have made.

  5. #5 Dick
    September 6, 2006

    I have to disagree on this one, Nick. It is unquestionable that the majority of funding sources for grants and the like are related to the Military Industrial Complex.

    The scientists are in it neck deep.

    As Oppenhiemer put it when he said something to the effect that “I have blood on my hands.”

    We need to face up to it.

  6. #6 Nick Anthis
    September 6, 2006

    That, though, I would argue is a political issue, not necessarily a scientific one, because this is a result of our government pouring so much money into the military and defense. Of course I think that scientists need to do as much as they can to distance themselves from weapons research, but what I’m arguing is that for the most part they do. If you look at these grants coming from the Department of Defense, you’ll find that many, if not most, of them have little to do with weaponry–it’s often the same case as elsewhere in the sciences, where scientists stretch the relevance of their work in order to land a big grant. What we need to do, scientists and citizens alike, is to push our government to change its funding priorities.

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