In one of the most important scenes of the original Godzilla movie, the old Professor character, a moral force throughout the film, becomes clearly upset about Godzilla’s egg being sold to a corporation. Misunderstanding the older man’s sadness, a cadet reporter asks the token girl character what the problem is. With all the forlorn sympathy in the world, the girl responds, “Oh, can’t you see? The Professor is a Scientist.” Her pithy statement completely elucidates to us, the viewership, that the ethical quandary faced by the Professor is deeply informed by his schooling in the objective and humanity-progessing discipline of Science. This is because Godzilla takes place in the 1960’s, when these things still meant something.
Ever since queen and king times, human beings have been using taxonomy to enact their distance from and fear of the natural world into a discipline that we like to call “Science.” I know the whole deal with “Science:” the Altruistic Pursuit of Knowledge, the Betterment of Dudekind, New Frontiers, Great Advances in Health. These things were definitely the case when we were still trying to figure out what shape our planet is, as well as in Isaac Newton-times — they may even have been the case up until the early 1960’s, in which people still believed that the moon came from a giant lava tide ripped from planet Earth.*
In modern times, however, something has gone awry. It seems that every news article I read in the Science section aims to outperform the last in terms of complete bullshit weirdness. A year or so ago, a friend of mine forwarded me an article about how Scientists had managed to get monkeys to send “telepathic” messages — that is to say, had managed to transmit electromagnetic impulses from their brains — over the internet, and into robotically reconstructed fake monkey hands across the country. This kind of news represents the confidence that Scientists have in the fact that we — the laypeople — have ceased to pay attention to their work. They’re getting a kick out of the fact that once what they’re doing bobs up in major newspapers, we are so complacent and out of touch that it completely freaks us out.
As much as I am in favor of tomfoolery in the Scientific community — if I had an insane budget and fancy equipment, I’d be working towards simian telepathy, too — it is our duty as enthusiasts of popular Science to remain vigilant. In the past, to be a scientist meant great moral and civic responsibility; now, however, this responsibility has befallen us. I present to you, friends, Universe, a blog for the Betterment of Dudekind.
*This is true.