Belated? Heck, Yeah.
Tangled Bank #104 is up at Dammit Jim! I see there are a fair number of bacteria-related posts–which totally makes my microbe-loving heart swoon. My only excuse for not posting this earlier is that I’ve been swamped with end of the semester exams, projects, presentations, and all that other insane grad student whatnot.
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Lunch is supposed to be stress-free. This afternoon, I was perusing the student paper intending to be amused by typical undergraduate silliness when I came upon the opinion section. One of the undergraduate journalists wrote an anti-science screed which painted science as godless, evil, and morally corrupt.
To say that I’m livid is an understatement. This is the first time I’m even considering writing a letter to the editor.
It is true that science is godless. Science isn’t a religion. But godlessness has nothing to do with evil or morality. Science gives us technology that could be used for bad purposes, but it can also be used for good. In the end, it’s a tool–nothing more. It’s like a screwdriver. In person A’s hands, the screwdriver might be used to build a house for a low income family. In person B’s hands, it might be used as a murder weapon. This doesn’t make the screwdriver good or evil. If you want to blame something, blame the people wielding the tools and not the tools themselves.
Anyways, the main point of that article was that scientists are going to try to do things simply because they could. And the author implied that this curiosity is morally suspect and that it’s a slippery slope towards a future where humanity is enslaving sentient chimeras created from test tubes. Man, it sounds like he’s read too many dystopian sci-fi novels. At any rate, it really ticked me off that scientific curiosity was labeled as bad. If that was true, most people today would be longing for the Dark Ages.