Does Science Matter?

by Gabe Meier

The New York Times article “Does Science Matter?” revolves around the debate on contemporary science, the good and the bad of modern research and the transition from an American-centric scientific world to one dominated by Asia. The article even goes so far as to ponder whether abstract physics research is even necessary or worthwhile, quoting Stephen Hawking and Steven Weinberg who come off as diametrically opposed on the issue of the romanticism of cosmic research. Weinberg takes a “militantly atheist” approach while Hawking takes the romantic angle, preaching that some research is like seeing into ”the mind of God.” Despite their differing positions on the theistic reasoning (based on an analogy or no) behind the research, they both view it as integral to the effort to push science forward. In my opinion, the reasoning behind the research is somewhat irrelevant to the final goal. The concept of figuring out the bigger “why” questions is tantalizing to me, but it isn’t necessary to engaging in this type of research.

Moving to another point, the politicization of science in America isn’t a new phenomenon. Science has always been used for political causes and has often been utilized for destructive purposes. The news cycle in 2013 just focuses that much more on the integration of science and politics and specifically on the evolution “debate” (as absurd as it is). Obviously, keeping the politics out of science would be ideal, but that’s pretty much out of the question at this point in time.