Monday, November 02, 2009

The Handmaiden of Freedom

The following is a quote from Dr. James Watson on the Charlie Rose show, Friday, Oct. 30, 2009.
JAMES WATSON:  So you know, science is a wonderful thing.  I gave a -- 
I was at the 75th anniversary of the Sloan Foundation.  And because of my 
age, I was the only one there who was at the 25th anniversary, you know, 50 
years ago.  You know, I was the youngest person there probably in 1959.  
And Dwight Eisenhower came and gave the talk.  And his title of his talk, 
"Science: The Handmaiden of Freedom."  The title of the symposium was 
"Science: The Handmaiden of Industry."  Eisenhower extended it to freedom, 
and he said we won’t be free unless we have very high-quality science.
The essence of that is the fact that you "can't have freedom without knowledge." That is why is pains me to read Greens who fly in the face of science, who deny knowledge almost to the extent of joining the flat-earthers.  It is a particularly dangerous trend when this un-scientific bent is applied to questions of health and disease, like the H1N1 virus.

It is a fact that the H1N1 virus can be genetically identified and isolated from other similar organisms.  It is a fact that a single sneeze can spread the H1N1 virus through the air to all within a 10 foot radius. To deny this is to live in ignorance and to spread such ignorance is irresponsible.

II think that we have failed to make a strong enough distinction between what science tells us about how the universe really works and the manner in which we humans have deployed technologies that relied on science for their development.  If we fail to understand how the physical universe functions, how can we begin to understand how societies function? or lead us all to a better society?

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