I'll forgive President Biden, the NSTC and the OSTP for committing the
Santayana Sin of attempting to repeat the uglier events of history; they
certainly aren't the first nor will they be the last.

If one compares the goals of Biden's "Scientific Integrity" task force and
those of an earlier "Inquisition" task force, one finds that they are
roughly equivalent: to prevent the suppression or distortion of dogma.

The heart of the problem is that scientific 'truths'—unlike
mathematical truths—are contingent and contextual, because they must
contingently rely on a host of other contingent and contextual
truths. Attempting to stamp out scientific 'untruths' ('distruths' ?)
throws the baby out with the bath-water. *There is NO scientific
progress without heresy!*

Examples are embarrassingly common and recent: 'eugenics' was 'settled
science' in the early 20th C.; Supreme Court language such as "three
generations of imbeciles are enough" led directly to the Nazi
Holocaust. Aussie scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren couldn't
get funding due to their heretical belief that stomach ulcers were
caused by some sort of a bug.

Just recently, Katalin Kariko was finally proven correct about the
incredible potential of mRNA-based vaccines with the Moderna and Pfizer
COVID vaccines. "She migrated from lab to lab, relying on one senior
scientist after another to take her in. She never made more than $60,000
a year."

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/08/health/coronavirus-mrna-kariko.html

Innovation in science is a messy, chaotic business which doesn't respect
race, language, age, tuition amount, gender or gender preference,
religion, or political boundaries.

Mao was correct:

"Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought
contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the
sciences..."

while cynically psychopathic:

"[Mao's] initiative [may have been] a deliberate attempt to flush out
dissidents by encouraging them to show themselves as critical of the
regime. Whether or not it was a deliberate trap isn't clear but it is
the case that many of those who put forward views that were unwelcome to
Mao were executed."

We don't need any more inquisitional 'task forces' which will demoralize
inventive scientific thought; on the contrary, we need to instead
encourage more risk-taking through a wider distribution of research
grants.

By admin