The ideas on this page are taken from the book 'Quest' by Wai H. We stand at the Abyss, at the steadily approaching threshold of unimaginable chaos, calamity, death and destruction. But there exists a lasting solution to these issues facing humankind. This chapter is about the problems that we, together as the human race, face in present times.
In book in progress, Notes from the BrinkI explore the ethical dimensions of science as exemplified by the contrasting careers of Andrei Sakharov and Edward Teller. The following is an excerpt from the manuscript.
International affairs must be completely permeated with scientific methodology and a democratic spirit, with a fearless weighing of all facts, views, and theories, with maximum publicity of ultimate and intermediate goals, and with a consistency of principles. Andrei Sakharov "All men, by nature, desire to know.
Better to say that "humans, by nature, desire to believe that they know.
The American pragmatist, John Dewey, enlightened by the insights of Darwinism and modern psychology, had it right when he observed here in paraphrasethat "all humans, by their animal nature, desire repose" -- i.
Hence the appeal of organized religion and political dogmatism. As human history attests, the search for "repose" constantly undermines apprehension and acknowledgment of the truth. Human beings, both individually and collectively, have always shown a cussed preference for pleasant myths over discomforting truths.
Witness the political career of Ronald Reagan. Only after repeated pratfalls, do we at last come to realize that short-term gratifications often lead to ultimate grief, that myth is a false friend, that reality bats last.
From this realization, collectively acknowledged and institutionalized, science and scholarship arose in Western civilization. For both, a fundamental moral principle is that mental repose is to be purchased only at the price of validated evidence and cogent argument.
The logic of science stipulates that the data, laws, hypotheses and theories of science exclude evaluative terms and concepts, and that the vocabulary of science be exclusively empirical and formal. There are no "oughts," no "goods and bads," no "rights and wrongs.
Capitalist and communist missiles are subject to the same laws of trajectory. The same laws of physiology apply to the physician who heals, and the murderer who poisons.
The "value-free" status of scientific vocabulary and assertion is the "truthful half" of the belief that science is "value free. In other words, the activity of science that is to say, of science as a human institution is highly involved with values.
When Gregor Mendel published his studies of the genetic properties of sweet peas, he apparently gave a scrupulously factual account. Moreover, his failures and unanswered questions were reported alongside his verified hypotheses. Had Mendel not been impeccably honest, humble and open with his work, his reports thereof would have been, scientifically speaking, far less valuable.
In short, the moral quality of the researcher gave explicit non-moral value to his findings. Yet Mendel's scientific papers themselves have not a bit of moral evaluation within them: The accounts were value-free; but the conditions required to produce these documents and to give them scientific importance were profoundly moral.
In contrast, consider the case of Lysenko, who displayed neither honesty, candor, tolerance or modesty. Because of these very failings, his work was scientifically worthless.
In his little book, Science and Human Values, Jacob Bronowski gives a masterful presentation of the moral preconditions of science. The fundamental moral premise, says Bronowski, is "the habit of truth": By the worldly standards of public life, all scholars in their work are of course oddly virtuous.
They do not make wild claims, they do not cheat, they do not try to persuade at any cost, they appeal neither to prejudice or to authority, they are often frank about their ignorance, their disputes are fairly decorous, they do not confuse what is being argued with race, politics, sex or age, they listen patiently to the young and to the old who both know everything.
These are the general virtues of scholarship, and they are peculiarly the virtues of science. Individually, scientists no doubt have human weaknesses.
But in a world in which state and dogma seem always either to threaten or to cajole, the body of scientists is trained to avoid and organized to resist every form of persuasion but the fact.
A scientist who breaks this rule, as Lysenko has done, is ignored. The values of science derive neither from the virtues of its members, nor from the finger-wagging codes of conduct by which every profession reminds itself to be good.
They have grown out of the practice of science, because they are the inescapable conditions for its practice. And this is but the beginning. For if truth claims are to be freely tested by the community of scientists, then this community must encourage and protect independence and originality, and it must tolerate dissent.
Science and scholarship are engaged in a constant struggle to replace persuasion with demonstration -- the distinction is crucial to understanding the discipline and morality of science. Persuasion, a psychological activity, is the arena in which propagandists, advertisers, politicians and preachers perform their stunts.
To the "persuader," the "conclusion" i. His task is to find the means to get the persuadee i.This chapter examines media reporting during the recent crisis of confidence in criminal justice associated with the high profile miscarriage cases that came to England's Court of Appeal in the late s and early s.
It argues that the media have a dominant understanding of miscarriage that prioritises truth over due process, and then provides a synopsis of media reports from the ten-year.
No event encapsulates the modern battle over religion and science as does the Scopes “Monkey Trial” of Although John Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution in a dramatic twelve-day trial, the matter wasn’t settled, of course.
Crises are periods marked by major secular upheaval, when society focuses on reorganizing the outer world of institutions and public behavior (they say the last American Crisis was the period spanning the Great Depression and World War II). Embed from Getty Images.
Saturday was a tough day for a group of social justice activists to hold a strategy retreat. Brett Kavanaugh was clearly going to be confirmed to the Supreme Court, and we weren’t in any kind of mood to plan next steps for our campaign.
Social Security: False Crisis, Destructive Solutions. Yet Bush still seeks to eliminate the system entirely and is taking his case to the nation’s most powerful business lobbies to achieve that goal.
A production of The Ohio State University and Miami University Departments of History. "Crisis refers to times during adolescence when the individual seems to be actively involved in choosing among alternative occupations and beliefs." "Commitment refers to the degree of personal investment the individual expresses in an occupation or belief" (Marcia, , p.