As a scientist I am deeply concerned by the diverse range of forcesthat are threatening to undermine the engine of science andtechnology that has done so much to improve human life, particularlyover the last century. I see a population that is uninformed aboutmany of the basics of science and almost completely ill-equipped tokeep up with the ever-accelerating pace of scientific knowledge.Perhaps in reaction to that, many are tending towards “vitalist” beliefslike the progressively less scientific belief in the superiority of “Organic”, “BioDynamic”, or “Raw food.” Many are easily frightenedby the vast industry I will call “FEAR, Inc.” from things like rBST, GMOs,and, worst of all, vaccines. If this trend continues, my greatgrandchildren will face scourges like Polio that nearly killed my mother80 years ago and should have been long eradicated from humanexperience. There are growing segments of the population that arewilling to casually reject the science on complex topics they barelyunderstand like evolution or climate change. I will speak-out againstanti-science in any way I can.
I hold my fellow scientists responsible for some of this trend. Scientistsbasically “suck” at communication. We write in convoluted, “precise”language and then let the results be hidden behind “pay-walls”. WhenI’m trying to refute some distortion of information coming out of FEARInc., I all-to-frequently find that the paper I need is unavailable to meunless I’m willing to pay >$20 to see it. There are also many scientistswho are guilty of “agenda science,” doing studies with the goal of supporting a world-view, not with the goal of understanding the truthor finding the best alternative. This is particularly rife within the vastacademic ranks of pro-Organic scientists. We scientists are also reallybad at dealing with issues that become intensely political, as the“Climate-gate” event demonstrated. I will speak-out against badscience as much as I can and I will try to find ways to help scientistscommunicate better.
Demographic trends point to the declining influence of several majorworld cultures as countries sink to extremely low birth rates. Japaneseand Russian cultures are already in serious decline, and most Europeannations are as well. Chinese culture is going to face a strange anduncharted future demographic landscape because of the one-childpolicy. Various Islamic cultures will be a major part of the last gasp of human population increase, so that by the middle of my granddaughter’s life, Muslims will be a much larger proportion of the worldpopulation. I realize that there are many different sub-cultures within