Science doesn't have clean hands

Science doesn't have clean hands

I read with interest May Berenbaum's conclusion in her May 7 guest commentary that the March for Science "was not about scientists as a special interest group — it was in support of science as an economic engine for the state and the nation, as a force for fairness and justice, and as a defining dimension of our community's character."

However, scientific research as such is at best neutral in relation to these endeavors, and at worst subject to complicity with economic exploitation, social inequality, and resulting effects on community character, including those which result from perpetual aggressive wars.

Societies noted for their advanced science and technology perpetrated the Holocaust, invaded Vietnam and enforce apartheid in occupied Palestine.

In the midst of the Vietnam War, our greatest cognitive scientist and political dissident, Noam Chomsky, wrote, "It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies. This, at least, may seem enough of a truism to pass over without comment. Not so, however. For the modern intellectual, it is not at all obvious."

During the subsequent half-century, neoliberal policies supported by "the best and brightest" have determined that American workers can no longer be allowed to produce their consumer items; can no longer afford what they do produce without indebtedness; and can no longer be allowed free higher (including scientific) education.

But scientific research continues apace, especially that which leads reliably to corporate profit, but only randomly to general progress.

This critique may seem far afield from entomology, but perhaps it shouldn't be.

DAVID GREEN

Champaign

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