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← 'Climate crisis' needs brain gain

Opisthokont's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Opisthokont

It is truly surprising and distressing to hear this from the mouth of a scientist. Science is unpredictable: it is an exploration of the unknown, and while we might have ideas on what we might find, we are wrong probably more often than otherwise. Many important discoveries are the result of 'blue sky' research, and to oppose such research is appallingly short-sighted.

Meanwhile, as Apathy Personified points out, scientists follow their own muses. Scientists are people, with their own interests, and those interests should not -- cannot -- be dictated by external forces. The solution to global climate change is not to tell scientists that they must change their research goals, but to encourage those scientists who already have that goal. Improving education of and funding for science is imperative on that count. Cutting funding elsewhere is only folly.

Finally, there is no reason why we must focus all of our activity on solving only one or a small subset of the world's problems. Things are never so static that they can be fixed in isolation. Even if solving one problem does not cause others (although that cannot be guaranteed not to happen -- science being unpredictable and all), that problem may be unsolveable without simultaneously solving other problems. It is unlikely that the LHC will contribute to a long-term solution of global warming, but one cannot be certain....

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 07:28:00 UTC | #231156