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You will never see a scientist leading armies into battle

Posted Feb 4, '14 at 3:21pm

Sonatavarius

Sonatavarius

1,376 posts

You will never see a scientist leading armies into battle is the title of this article

... and I would like to discuss it.

It was a little too absolute with its vagueness for me. It might hold a little more water if famous scientists hadn't been out in the field in WW1 blowing toxic gases at each other or developing means that make armies obsolete. Who needs an army when you can wipe 10,000 people off the face of existence in the blink of an eye? But I can see how astrophysicists might never lead armies... But that'd be bc no one would seemingly ever vote in a scientist over a politician.... or does he mean that a scientist steps out of his scientist self to become something else other than a scientist if he/she chooses to lead an army?

There are plenty of scientists that'd lead armies. Not everyone holds an apathetic nihilistic view of worthlessness, useless, and/or pointlessness to the extent of it governing down their desire/ability to lead an army.

The article and the fact that it's on Richard Dawkins's website almost make me think that it's a means of stabbing at religious people and religion in general. There are plenty of religious people who would never choose to lead an army just the same as there are plenty of scientists that wouldn't.

Does anyone have an opinion? I was going to comment on a friend's fb page, but instead decided to bring it here so as not to cut the ties of friendship over something silly and this astrophysicists seemingly flawed point of view.

 

Posted Feb 4, '14 at 5:24pm

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,439 posts

Knight

The way I interpret this (admittedly broadly generalising) article is that war does not emerge from a scientific mindset. Religion and politics however can be polarising enough to lead to such quarrels and the wish to spread your view as the right one. This is impossible in a scientific mind because science has to stay open for new data, and should be convinced by sufficient data. In a way, if not what he tries to say, at least it's what I read from this, and kind of think too.

However... it should be duly noted that the scientific system is not free from concurrence, petty conflicts and falsification. This is nostly because scientists are also only humans, and the system itself is forcing quantity to the detriment of quality.

About scientists taking part in war, this is usually the military's fault, who always wants to stay ahead of the enemy in technology; in a way this is understandable, but you should remember that this kind of research is not done for scientific interests, but for military interest. This is probably where the article does not differentiate explicitely enough.

 

Posted Feb 4, '14 at 7:46pm

Freakenstein

Freakenstein

9,476 posts

Moderator

However... it should be duly noted that the scientific system is not free from concurrence, petty conflicts and falsification. This is nostly because scientists are also only humans, and the system itself is forcing quantity to the detriment of quality.


Endosymbiotic Theory (Mitochondria and Chloroplasts came from another individual cell and a dominant cell absorbed and evolved with it) comes to mind. When this finding was published, it had LOOOOTS of criticism and, when Lynn Margulis resurfaced this theory with more evidence to support it, quite a few older scientists were yelling "********!!" at her presentation. So it had to take MORE evidence and a little more calming down to finally have them sit down and say "hmm, the pieces fit together now".
 

Posted Feb 4, '14 at 8:07pm

Sonatavarius

Sonatavarius

1,376 posts

The big research conventions and such can apparently get very heated and hostile at times... or so said my Physical Chemistry teacher from undergrad. He would talk about how different groups of researches would literally hate each other to the point of almost coming to blows over conflicting views/opinions.

 

Posted Feb 4, '14 at 8:13pm

Freakenstein

Freakenstein

9,476 posts

Moderator

That's a ****ed shame too. Are they researching the same topics? It's probably a "I should get credited for this, not you" ideology.

 

Posted Feb 4, '14 at 8:32pm

Sonatavarius

Sonatavarius

1,376 posts

It was more of a "No, you're wrong you ___insert slur here___! and this is why!" ...be it the math behind the presentation or the theories/conjecture extrapolated from it.

People get highly defensive over things neither can prove sometimes. There's certain areas of science we'll ever see and can be explained... there are also people that think they know everything and will ardently defend topics even after they've been proven wrong. Idk how common it actually is, but it's supposedly happened to my professor (his Harvard research group was considered for a nobel prize once!) where he had to get into a verbal free for all with some crotchety ancient old man that used to be important. ...but that's just anecdotal. Take from it what you will.... but science can and has bred hostility (idk about on the armies waging war level tho)

 

Posted Feb 5, '14 at 3:41am

HahiHa

HahiHa

5,439 posts

Knight

Professors have their pet theories, and will try and find every leak in publications that challenges their view on things. That's normal :P and it's no problem, sometimes even beneficial, as long as there are no false accusations etc... aaand of course publishing in high-index papers is also one thing. This here comes to mind... Scientist reacts to news that competitor published in Nature

 

Posted Feb 6, '14 at 5:26am

MacII

MacII

1,369 posts

So what do we owe the entire military-industrial complex to? Garden gnomes? [Grumph]

 

Posted Feb 6, '14 at 9:55am

partydevil

partydevil

5,243 posts

the fact that it's on Richard Dawkins's website almost make me think that it's a means of stabbing at religious people and religion in general.

in general i dont trust these popular people (from either side of the debate) that give lectures about their believes. and earn their money that way. the fact that it is his profession to think these thinks makes him having tunnelvisions on the subject. people expect him to have these thoughts and to say these things in public. if he doesnt then he loses his current financial situation. so he cant change his thoughts. but people do expect him to say new things aswell. or else they wont listen anymore and so he will lose his financial situation. well, now he cant change his thought but he needs new things to say... so he starts to make up sensless stuff for people to read, discuss and most of all, hopefully buy his books and ****. (this doesnt count for just him but all those people giving lectures about their believes/thoughts.

So what do we owe the entire military-industrial complex to? Garden gnomes?

developing new, better and more efficient tools is something humans have been doing since the stone age...
 
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