The symptoms are all there. Science is in decline, at risk of collapsing. It has become an oddity in a world where if you learn from experience you are considered a flip-flopper and where your manhood is in doubt if you even think of changing your mind on the basis of new data.
Science is, first of all, a continuous fight against your instinct, your will to believe despite the evidence. It takes training to arrive to the point where you understand that your beautiful multi-faceted theory has been smashed to tiny bits by a single, ugly fact. But this is the way science works.
Unfortunately, what's happened in recent times is that our beautiful theories on the continuous progress of humankind have been smashed by the single ugly fact of the finiteness of our planet (including the finite capability of the atmosphere to absorb the products of the combustion of hydrocarbons without overheating).
Even more unfortunately, most people have taken this discovery on the part of scientists as a betrayal. Science had been always bringing nice toys to people: from cars to smartphones. How can it be that, suddenly, scientists started talking about the need of doing away with all those shiny things we like so much? It can't be true.
The result is a series of attacks against science that come from several directions. Some people seem to think that science has become a conspiracy to get fat grants from the government. And, at the same time scientists are paid by the crude oil lobby to hide the real miraculous discoveries, from cold fusion to abiotic oil, that would easily solve our problems. Some people seem to think that science is a hideout for ultra-liberals or communists who are striving to destroy the American way of life. Therefore, they must be stopped by all possible means; if sending them to jail is too difficult, there is a simpler way that consists in denying them research grants on the really important issues.
Scientists have already been the objective of "purges" when their position didn't fit with the accepted political views of the time. There have been many examples in the past and, today, the symptoms are all there.
The Greatest Intellectual Feat of Mankindby George Mobus
I love science. All science and sciences. I've spent a lifetime reading every popular science book I could get my hands on in every imaginable discipline. And in fields in which I was intensely interested I read the textbooks and the journal articles. Science as a way to understanding has been my passion. It therefore gives me great pain to entertain the possibility that the institution of science is yet another failed institution of Homo calidus.
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