Science, in so far as it is a quest for rational understandings of the physical world, from quarks and leptons to double stars and dark matter, from big bang to black holes, can be chaste in its ivory tower of telescopes and microscopes, equations and explanations.
But, like any quest for and formulations of Truth, it can remain uncorrupt for only as long as its formulas and findings don’t affect the human condition adversely. If the impact is to increase physical comfort and cure disease, science is welcome with prizes and grants. But the moment scientific results begin to rattle our psychological security by questioning the foundations of our deepest beliefs about this life and the next, or they become threats to economic growth, drastically reduce bottom line profits, affect jobs for the masses, or may bring down a major industry, Science becomes suspect. Then, more comfortable modes of interpreting natural phenomena become urgent. Sadly, shamefully, but not surprisingly, some individual scientists are prepared to sell their science for tidy sums for erecting alternate interpretations of collected data that would benefit the paymasters in the short run, even if they risk humanity’s long range interests.
My fear is that barring discernable dangers of major magnitudes, extinguishing not thousands but millions of lives, neither industries nor governments will halt their current activities and policies which, all said and done, do help in providing jobs for millions and raise their standard of subsistence.
In the meanwhile, if some reports are true, radical opponents of the status quo have not flinched from resorting to actions and propaganda that involve lying, exaggerations, and distortions that they deem are appropriate and necessary for the “right cause.’
17, May 2017