Small Minds in Big Jobs

This is, America, the land where you’re supposed to find doctors who’ll provide you with good medical care, where honest, upright judges will provide actual justice — because they’re under no political pressures to skew their findings; where honest, patriotic politicians will make laws that are themselves just; where the judges will follow those just laws; where there are intrepid, brilliant scientists who are able to pursue their trade, free of political pressures to taint their observations; where scientists, who ostensibly became scientists to search for truth, would recoil violently from the temptation to conform to political pressures. Why? Because thus to taint their research would poison the very ground on which they walk, and when found out, would make every scientist’s work product suspect.

Needless to say, America is not now that country. Was it ever? Well, not purely, no. No country is. But I think we can all agree that wherever America was on the spectrum between depraved and pure, it’s now headed in the wrong direction… and accelerating in that bad direction.

It’s why the greats of a sport should be really ticked off if they found out that others in their sport were using Performance-Enhancing Drugs. It would mean that all the things that the great ones and the record-holders did would be suspect too!

That’s why the deafening silence from baseball players Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, and more was so disheartening for baseball fans.

Science should never be a political tool. A means to an end… whereas the actual pursuit of actual truth is supposed to be its own end; the very reason people become scientists in the first place!

To level the accusation that scientists make their research and their “findings” conform to political pressures is to land the most devastating possible accusation against science, and against scientists.

It’s the “you cheated!” accusation against the athlete; the “you plagiarized!” accusation against the writer; the “you lip-synched!” accusation against the singer.

It says: “That thing you did there? You didn’t really do it! You can’t claim those achievements, because they’re fraudulent! They’re lies!

Let’s face it, many Americans already suspect that much of today’s science is suspect. The implication is, of course, that previous scientific “achievements” are suspect too. Does 1+1=2? I think so, and it seems to make intuitive sense, but the proof of it is complicated, obscure and esoteric. It took Bertrand Russell (talk about a complex, deeply flawed human being!) 360 pages to “prove definitively” that 1+1=2.

When you familiarize yourself with that proof, you still come to understand that Russell nonetheless had to rely on at least some fundamental assumptions that are, still… just assumptions.

It’s easy for scientists to fudge numbers, to record false observations, to bend the “science” to fit pre-conceived notions, or to make the “science” produce the “correct” (read: pre-ordained) conclusions… those much cherished conclusions arrived at before doing any real science to test them.

It’s easy, and nowadays political pressures are heavy on everybody, so it’s safe to assume that doctors, judges and, yes, scientists are going to be heavily tainted by the unsuccessfully resisted temptation to fake it to make it and, of course, to support personal, dearly-held beliefs.

So sad to see that so many members of professions that should command so much respect have failed so often and so miserably.

— xPraetorius

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