The media love to portray disagreements, whether between politicians, Scientists
or divorcing celebrities as terminal rifts.It takes a sensational headline to attract
attention; people won’t buy a newspaper or watch TV news just to discover that one
person is ‘slightly miffed’ with another!
There’s bound to be some disagreements, especially at the ‘cutting edge’ of Scientific
discovery where measurements are being pushed to the limit of instruments’ capabilities.
Take the recent issue of climate change; gradually, over the years, a large majority
of Scientists has accepted the growing evidence that man’s activities are changing
the Earth’s climate. That didn’t stop a newspaper publishing some old emails exchanged
between climate change experts who were accused of manipulating the data. An enquiry
found no manipulation although the Scientists had fallen short of best practice such
as using independent statisticians. The head of department, Phil Jones, lost his
job. He is back in charge of the Science but has been relieved of his administrative
responsibilities. New data reveals significant climate change has occurred since
Proposers of different opinions have to persuade others to join them and eventually
one side gathers more support and a consensus is reached. More research is often
done around the globe to further investigate the different options and clarify the
situation. The Science community works like an international democracy. Amazingly,
there are no national, language, political, religious, racial or sexual barriers
to this debate. It spawned the worldwide web, that you are viewing this website on,
as a means for Scientists to exchange information via what, in the UK, was called
JANET - the Joint Academic NETwork. This spirit of co-operation has enabled some
wonderful collaborations between unlikely contenders such as the USSR and the USA
just after the end of the cold war!
Shouldn’t we all follow this example?
Apart from in the field of weapon research where secrecy has to be maintained due
to national interests, the Scientific community is a beacon of how to behave in a
sharing, co-operative, non-divisive way. Scientists deal with each other as equals
and do not recognise differences such as skin colour, language, creed, etc.
Yes, some Scientists do hold a belief in a god. I’m afraid I don’t understand them.
How can they work all day in a world based on evidence and then switch off rationality
in their leisure time? It’s schizophrenic! Religious Scientists
Sir Isaac Newton 1643 - 1727
Physicist, astronomer, mathematician and also unorthodox Christian
Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955
Nobel prize winning recognised genius, the ‘father of modern physics’, also commented