The Social Responsibility of Scientists and Non-Scientists
I think it would be really good if nonscientists learned enough so they could come out and make these arguments for the scientists.
Scientists are constantly worrying about whether they’re going to be taken seriously or not and whether they’re going to get tenure or not, and so forth. There’s something wonderful about the way that scientists are extremely cautious. And sometimes it’s frustrating to us nonscientists that they won’t just come out and say, this is what I believe, this matters, pay attention.
But, I think it makes them more trustworthy to know that they don’t do that. To know that their science really is, to the extent that they are capable, separate from their politics. I mean, there are some sleazy scientists out there who sell their brains to the highest bidder. But they’re a very, very small minority.
I would love to see more scientists come out and explain to people the really disastrous situation that could happen. For example, if climate change is allowed to continue, but you know, it’s very important to also have accurate climate models. And if these people come out like that and then they’re attacked for their politics, their science will be tainted and then we won’t know whether to believe their models. So it’s it’s a difficult situation. I think it would be really good if nonscientists learned enough so they could come out and make these arguments for the scientists.
In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.
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Jonathan Zimmerman explains why teachers should invite, not censor, tough classroom debates.
- During times of war or national crisis in the U.S., school boards and officials are much more wary about allowing teachers and kids to say what they think.
- If our teachers avoid controversial questions in the classroom, kids won't get the experience they need to know how to engage with difficult questions and with criticism.
- Jonathan Zimmerman argues that controversial issues should be taught in schools as they naturally arise. Otherwise kids will learn from TV news what politics looks like – which is more often a rant than a healthy debate.
Controversial map names CEOs of 100 companies producing 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
- Just 100 companies produce 71 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
- This map lists their names and locations, and their CEOs.
- The climate crisis may be too complex for these 100 people to solve, but naming and shaming them is a good start.
It marks another milestone in SpaceX's long-standing effort to make spaceflight cheaper.
- SpaceX launched Falcon Heavy into space early Tuesday morning.
- A part of its nosecone – known as a fairing – descended back to Earth using special parachutes.
- A net-outfitted boat in the Atlantic Ocean successfully caught the reusable fairing, likely saving the company millions of dollars.
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