Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
“It is a profound and necessary truth that the deep things in science are not found because they are useful; they are found because it was possible to find them.” — J. Robert Oppenheimer, opening quote of Richard Rhodes The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Science is a profoundly amoral exercise. Scientific merit has nothing fundamentally to do with morality. Basic research is driven primarily by what can be done, not what should be done. This has largely always been the case. Even in the modern world, the fundamental questions are decided less by patronage or granting agencies or moral concerns, since no one knows the full application yet. Some people might be researching something revolutionary right now, while people mock their work for being impossible.
It is something to keep in mind when people treat science as a religion or magic wand to wave around — “I Freaking Love Science,” etc. Science tells you how, it does not tell you why.
On the other hand, applied science is much more under control of whoever is doling out patronage. If you provide ample funding for research that supports your view, it should not surprise you that research will be done according to your desires. Climate science is especially notable for being driven by politically desirable results. The only solution to global cooling or global warming or whatever is letting government have all the power. Similarly, we are being told that science says sex and gender are completely unrelated, despite the massive correlation that we observe — well over 90 percent of XYs identify as male and show predominantly male characteristics. Same for XXs being women. This is an easy conclusion, but people press away from it.
In essence, the best science can aim for is to be an amoral quest for knowledge, but that is quite worthwhile. It brings to mind one of Oppenheimer’s other quotes:
“Science may not be everything, but science is quite beautiful.”