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Freedom of Speech in Science

Young Female Scientist asks, Is Science A Free Country?

It seems that those who criticize the scientific system are assumed to be bad scientists.
Surely, goes the assumption, they are not successful, and that has made them bitter. Their concerns are irrelevant.

I highly recommend her brief, eloquent essay addressing this topic. She locates scientists inbetween anti-scientists and science-worshippers. Anti-scientists are obviously problemmatic; science worshippers are a tad unrealistic. But do scientists get it just right, like Baby Bear’s porridge for Goldilocks? Not quite. I won’t say more. Just go read her brief piece.

Categories: Daily Struggles
  1. February 11, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Speaking as a much-published scientist, Professor, author, and someone unfortunately in continuous litigation for the entire life of my 18-year-old son:
    This is NOT a free country. There is justice for the rich, and justice for the very rich.
    Scientists (let alone science students) are usually neither.
    When my wife and I applied for our home loan 19 years ago, the loan officer asked what we did, and what we earned. “Scientists,” we said, simultaneously. “About $100,000.”
    He answered:
    “Each?”
    We burst out laughing.
    As to the blogger’s specifics, [with my annotations]:
    1. Thou Shalt have no other gods than Nobel Laureates [except for your Professors, Department Chairmen, Deans, Provosts, Vice Presidents, President, and Board of Trustees, as they lay down the Law and rake in the Overhead from research grants]
    2. Thou Shalt speak no ill of science or scientists [except those designated as “fair game” by Nobel Laureates, Professors, Department Chairmen, Deans, Provosts, Vice Presidents, President, and Board of Trustees]
    3. Honor thy teacher even when he/she is wrong, but keep careful notes in case that matter is adjudicated later]
    4. Thou Shalt Love Science Homework [because Science Helps Those Who Help Themselves, and we who command you all did loads of loads of homework, suffered through oral defense of dissertation and Tenure battles; and we walked uphill through the snow both ways to school, so now it’s your turn to suffer; and it’s good for you, trust us]
    5. Thou Shalt set as your only goal to be a professor [or, as second best, to do corporate or government research, and subcontract us for as much money and prestige as possible; or, third best, be a science writer in the best venues, always saying nice things about us; or fourth best, blog about us per above].
    Or, to try this another way, I hereby coin The Three Asimov-Post Laws of Scibotics:
    #1: A student may not injure a scientist or science professor or, through inaction, allow a scientist or science professor to come to harm.
    #2: A student must obey orders given it by scientist or science professors except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    #3: A student must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
    So do the homework, and shut up. I mean you, there, in the back row with the iPod and the can of beer…

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