Is it now considered okay for science to be corrupt?
Read that question again, but carefully. It’s not about whether it’s corrupt, we always knew an element of that was forever there, but whether that’s now considered to be acceptable, and I suppose as a corollary, acceptable to scientists themselves. Know wot I mean Guv? Wink, wink, nod, nod, say no more. Par for the course, part of the game, same ole same ole, yet another bunch of snake oil salesmen selling their wares.
Call me old, call me retro but it simply isn’t okay. It really ain’t.
Just this week, a scandal broke via yet another leaked communication that even on the most charitable interpretation, showed scientists colluding to orchestrate the banning of an insecticide which was supposed to be harmful to bees, even though they hadn’t done any conclusive research on the chemical in question. They just knew.
Those people weren’t doing any sort of science I’d recognise. I don’t know these people, I’ve no understanding of them, they’re strangers in our house. They were just planning the simultaneous publication of mutually supportive papers, all of which would come to a predetermined conclusion, before passing the ball on to various green campaigning organisations to raise the issue up the political ladder and get a ban into force. They of course got their ban and we’re now in the second year of it.
The pesticide in question was what’s termed a targeted one; it only killed off specific insects who were harmful to certain crops. Having been denied a sniper insecticide, farmers were obliged to fall back on the more indiscriminate napalm types of killemallchemos which zapped the ass of everything that hops, skips or chirps, but yields of crops like rapeseed have still plunged by 30% because of insect predation that should never have happened. Less of it means more of a price, so Joe the Schmo consumer ends up footing the bill as usual and we’ve yet again ended up flame throwing our way through the lilies of the field courtesy of the environmental movement. You absolutely couldn’t make shite like this up.
The hosanna bit is that bee populations have miraculously recovered within the EU where the chemical was banned, but they’ve also recovered outside the EU as well. You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out there’s a bijou problemette on the cause and effect front. Of course, having a “cause” is the real problem. They’d happily come up with reason after reason to get all insecticides banned because they just know it’s all wrong. Sorting out the starvation because of the resultant undoubling or untripling of crop yields we’ve had over the last few decades would of course be a problem for the global capitalists, swine that they are.
If what they did was a crime, well, it’s a victimless one, innit?
On any sensible reading of the leaked notes by anyone over the age of nine and three-quarters, it’s obvious what’s being done but upon the story breaking, all of the culprits implicated just denied any wrongdoing and are no doubt beavering away on their next “science” project. Was there some sort of outcry from the science establishment? A condemnation from on high by some heavyweight of science? A peep? From anyone?
The silence was mega decibel high.
My arse – it wasn’t silence, it was indifference, just plain and simple. Nobody gave a rat’s. Once you accept dishonesty and expect a lack of any integrity as the norm, you’re in deep trouble, we all are. Someone, somewhere will have to draw a line and hold it, or we’ll all soon be swirling around the event horizon plug hole.
So now you know, it’s alright to lie, to cheat, to deceive and frankly bugger over the trust that the average person innocently has in science and by implication scientists. It’s now washing powder science, toothpaste science. Just stick some jobbing actor in a white coat, bad haircut, shove some geeky spectacles on him, a pen and clipboard in either hand and tell him to go full on nerd. “I assure you, it’s been scientifically proven. Buy our product.”
Science has no particular obligation as a profession to have more integrity or impartiality than any other one but of course that’s what is innocently expected of it by the ordinary person. That’s why the advertising industry is quite confident utilising that implicit trust to flog whatever product they’ve been hired to promote.
That’s not the science I love, the ephemeral slip of a girl who could deliver to you personally an unassailable fragment of truth in Werner Heisenberg’s terrible universe of uncertainty, where there’s nothing between you and superstition but Laughing Sam and God playing dice. We’re going through a bad phase where science and scientists are just viewed as tarts anyone can put out to work on the street to do a bit of whoring to promote whatever cause you need jacked up the political ladder. The truly stomach churning thing is that scientists themselves feel totally justified in doing that in pursuit of some “cause” or another.
The sin is no longer that a scientist was wrong, because that was always a forgivable mistake and a risk you took, but that they now lie through their teeth to us while at the same time giving us the good old steady eye contact of truth. It’s deliberate, premeditated and totally without any guilt for ruthlessly exploiting the implicit trust in them. We will be punished for that.
All it needs is one person of conscience. When you love something and see it being degraded, being abused for tawdry ends, you have to do something about it in the end because if you don’t, it’s as if your whole career has been wasted. She’s the floor beneath you, the wallpaper that swirls around you, a ceiling full of diamond bright stars and the love of your life, which you’re somehow expected to dump just like that. In the back of your heart where it really counts, you’re still too much in thrall to that pretty young maiden to ever allow any such harm to befall her.
Now you know why climate science leaks like a sieve.
Science, like rationality, is a rope you string between two steady huts of sanity in the middle of a ferocious white-out blizzard of superstition and uncertainty. We have to feel our way along it blindly like the silly fools we are because there’s nothing else. There really isn’t. If we ever let go of it, we’ll all be lost forever.
We’re now in mortal danger of taking our hand off the rope and not caring about it.
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