Oh yes, I bet that title made you sit up, even some hackles rise, so no I did not say the arrogance of scientists and it would ill become a complete nonentity in this field to make such an accusation, In fact it is probably a bit thick for such a dummy to comment on this subject at all – in any way!
However, here goes. To start off I must point out that I have been reading, not studying you will note, an absolutely marvellous book called The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. Of course it is thick and the technicalities it alludes to are beyond me, although as a primer for instance it has introduced me to Herschel, his sister and a little more than a sketchy idea of what the London Planetarium was depicting, ie. I had no concept at all of the relevant positions of the planets positioned around the sun with moons nipping around them and everything twirling like billyo and all seemingly suspended and maintaining relevant calculable trajectories. But enough of this ‘instance.’ There are other subjects, such as Sir Joseph Banks, who initially interested me as I had previously visited his estate at Revesby in Lincolnshire; not the dwelling you will understand, but the annual country fair held in its grounds. I must also admit there were more earthly interests in his voyage of exploration with Captain Cook in the Endeavour and particularly his ‘investigations’ amongst the dusky maidens in Tahiti; there was also an item on Mungo Park and his Niger quest in Africa.
Then I came to the ‘gassy’ Sir Humphrey Davy. In fact I am still on him, that’s Sir Humphrey, not yet having progressed beyond an astonishing passage that I read of his ‘trip’ to the Continent and Paris in particular in 1812 to pick up a Prix Napoleon (worth 6,000 livres). Quoting the passage in the book:
“He knew that accepting the award might be unpopular in wartime England, but following Bank’s line at the Royal Society, that science was above national conflicts. He told Tom Poole ‘some people say I ought not to accept this prize and there have been foolish paragraphs in the papers to that effect, but if the two countries or governments are at war, the men of science are not. That indeed would be a civil war of the worst description, we should rather, through the instrumentality of men of science, soften the asperity of national hostility.”
So now does the reader concede I may have a point in talking of the concept of scientific arrogance in general? I know Sir Humphrey said ‘men of science’, but I am sure the implication was that it was science itself that made it a requirement of its adherents that they maintain the stature and an ideology of science as being godlike and superior, i.e., that only science counted.
This business of maintaining scientific links with the enemy even during time of war, overt or covert, such as in the time of Cold War, has persisted to this day, and even now in a time of supposed peace where I hear that Coronavirus could have emanated from a Chinese lecturer teaching and escorted from a Canadian University. And what about American ‘forces’ having visited Wuhan and leaving their calling card of the virus?
I have often puzzled whatever led US and British scientific scientists to pass nuclear secrets to the Russians after WWII and during the Cold War. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that ‘we’ were conversing with the Germans on Jet Engine concepts during the war, or the Americans were already in contact with von Braun and his mob regarding rocket concept and design; they certainly got a free ride (reward?) after the war. Why did the Labour government donate the design of the Derwent jet engine, free of charge to the Ruskies, which allowed them to develop the so superior MIG jets that shot down everything American in Korea? Oh, and I forgot to mention the global warming scientific scam where just because 49 scientists “know” and can prove (so they say) global warming is going to swamp the world, we are meant to just take their word for it and oh no! Must not question their ‘God’, science.
Nah, science isn’t going to cure global warming and it ‘aint going to cure Corona bleedin’ virus.
As they say in Rome, “beware the ides of March”.
It’s the Ides of April today.
“Beware of the arrogance of science during the Ides of April.”
PS. Not sure if it was 49 scientists or 149, do you know?
Photo by tahewitt