Giles Coren, The Times columnist, makes a very good point in his usual highly amusing way in his article today Saturday, May 9, 2020. He wants an arts graduate on the committee advising the UK government on how to deal with the coronavirus crisis because the current lot have done at best an average job. The idea came from a report in Thurday’s Times that was headlined “Employers prefer arts graduates to scientists”. This is turning convention on its head as science graduates are perceived as more valuable in the job marketplace.
Neil Ferguson, the scientist who advised that if there wasn’t a lockdown there would be up to 500,000 dead in this country decided to break the lock down rules and accept into his home someone else’s wife on two occasions. He subsequently resigned from the committee, which is called Sage. His assessment was the result of a computer model. Too much emphasis has been placed on models as they depend on what is put into them. Do the results reflect the mindset and ideas of the person who is using them because they input data which turns out the desired results?
Giles Coren argues that if you turn the clock back to about 1935 that was the moment when the world had had enough of science. It was the time when penicillin, electricity and mains drinking water had been invented or created and disposable plastic and intercontinental air travel certainly hadn’t.
Yes, there was a moment when the egg heads invented antibiotics but that’s about it, he says. Scientific advances have either directly or indirectly led to a climate calamity by which he is referring to climate change and global warming. And the planet has become increasing overpopulated with the help of science.
Arts graduates did not cause a whale to be washed up on a beach with six tons of Tesco bags in its belly, he writes amusing but sadly. And neither are art graduates at fault when an albatross feeds its young bits of plastic believing it is food. And neither is it the fault of arts graduates for the billions of particles of plastic in the most remote parts of the planet’s oceans. You can go to a bog in Greenland and take at random any permafrost plot that is thawing out and you’ll find 2 million pieces of microscopic plastic within a square metre. It is everywhere and that’s thanks to science.
Science is choking the planet and heating it up. Now with the coronavirus crisis, science is going to allow us to work at a great distance from each other. We will learn to be isolated from each other and this will go on for a very long time. Some of these anti-social changes will be permanent I fear.
There are conspiracy theories about the way the coronavirus pandemic started. Some say it started at a Wuhan bio laboratory where it accidentally escaped. If that is the case then once again science is to blame for the disaster which is both crushing the world economy and changing our lives perhaps for the long distance future. We are jerked around by science. There are doubts about the viability of modern mega companies running the internet.
Science is not all that it is cracked up to be. Scientists tend to forget that they should be serving the community and society at large. They do what they do for their own pleasure and forget that it has to be usable in the right way for it to be beneficial to humankind. Think about the endless stream of overly complex devices such as phones and computers.