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[comic] When good scientists go bad
[comic] When good scientists go bad
#1
This is a comic illustrating how some scientists used their recognition not to build understanding but to hurt others.

https://thenib.com/when-good-scientists-go-bad

But as the comic points out and I agree: the problem is not that scientists have political opinions, but how those opinions are expressed, the type of company they keep, and the means they use to forward those views.

I do not believe that practicing a profession should encourage a vow of silence on any subject or matter important to them that might offend someone somewhere. Discussion should always be encouraged. Silence only emboldens those who would like for ignorance to be the law of the land.
If someone tells you that a thing you do causes harm, maybe take a second to think about that rather than jumping right into defending your right to keep doing the thing?

Particularly if the harm discussed includes contributing to a rise in hate crimes or other oppression?

—Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
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RE: [comic] When good scientists go bad
#2
Silverfang, one of the things we understand when we enlist in the military is that outside of the ballot box itself, we have no political opinion while serving. If the military can do it, so can scientists.
Wolf wins every fight but the one where he dies, fangs locked around the throat of his opponent. 
Currently writing BROBd

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RE: [comic] When good scientists go bad
#3
Scientists are keeping their opinions out of their work. That's why the current administration hates them - ethical scientists aren't willing to bend to influence from either party, and the unethical ones get the treatment that the ones mentioned in that cartoon got.
--
Rob Kelk

"Governments have no right to question the loyalty of those who oppose them. Adversaries remain citizens of the same state, common subjects of the same sovereign, servants of the same law."
- Michael Ignatieff, addressing Stanford University in 2012


"Don't let anyone think for you; most people can barely think for themselves."
-
Rare Earth, ending credits
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RE: [comic] When good scientists go bad
#4
So, like, that cartoon gives me mixed feelings.  Like, anyone who has made it to graduate school knows that some profs can be complete assholes.  Some will straight up steal their student's work.  Some will use their position on journals and name recognition to take someone else's discovery, replicate and publish really fast, and scoop the original discoverer.  And then, there are the really nice ones, the percentage greatly varies by field.    I know less about what's going on on the Humanities side, but honestly there probably aren't going to be very many of them left in ten years so it's probably not worth learning about.

The general public doesn't know any of this, and probably has no idea what professors do all day except "research" and "teach classes".  Of course, in reality, "write grants" takes up an even bigger portion of their time.  But it's okay for academics to have controversial opinions.  Anyone in the field will know when they're full of shit, or talking outside their expertise.  But respected crackpots do happen within the field of expertise.  James Watson is a well known racist/mysogynist/eugenicist who just happens to have discovered DNA.  Linus Pauling is a chemist who put way too much faith in Vitamin C.  

One I think about a lot is Edward Teller, because he was faculty at my university.  Guy had a massive hard-on for nuclear weapons, and was influential from the Manhattan Project all the way to Reagan's Star Wars, er SDI.  It's hard to like a guy who thinks that the main problem with the atom bomb is it's not big enough.  On the other hand, he gave a speech against the danger of anthropogenic climate change from fossil fuel burning in 1957.

Of course, physicists are experts on the causes of climate change, as well as chemists.  Atmospheric scientists and hydrologists are experts on the causes and effects of climate change.  For experts on the effects of climate change, we have biologists, soil scientists, ecologists, civil engineers, environmental policy, agronomers, and the list goes on and on.

I guess I don't get the point of the comic.  It's like, do some of your coworkers have crazy ideas about the world?  It's totally that way in academia too.


(05-15-2019, 09:11 PM)Rajvik Wrote: Silverfang, one of the things we understand when we enlist in the military is that outside of the ballot box itself, we have no political opinion while serving. If the military can do it, so can scientists.

Wut.

Since most scientists remain scientists until their deathbed, does that mean that they should keep their politics to themselves until the afterlife?
--∇×v⃑
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RE: [comic] When good scientists go bad
#5
The thing is, Rajviik, the military's job is to be the ultimate enforcer of policy, so members taking an active hand in shaping it is somewhere between a conflict of interest and too much concentration of power. A scientist's job is to determine what's factually true from what's false or incomplete, and whoa Nelly do we need more of that in political discussion. Like, all the political discussion. Ever.
--
‎noli esse culus
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RE: [comic] When good scientists go bad
#6
DNA was discovered years before Watson, Crick, and Franklin started working on it. Their contribution was figuring out its structure, an accomplishment for which Franklin got no credit.
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