Biologist; Editor at New Scientist; Author, The Link
Science Is In Danger Of Becoming The Enemy Of Humankind

We—scientists and the world in general should be worried because:

Science has become increasingly narrow-minded—materialistic, reductionist, and inveterately anthropocentric: still rooted, philosophically, in the 18th century.

Science is increasingly equated with high tech. "Vocation" used to mean a deep desire to engage and seek out the truth, insofar as human beings are able. Now it means getting a job with Monsanto.

Britain's Royal Society has become a show-case for high-tech, and high tech is perceived as the means the generate wealth—and this is deemed to be "realistic": the way of the world; not only acceptable, but virtuous.

Science, in short, is in danger of losing its integrity and its intellectual independence—of becoming the handmaiden of big business and the most powerful governments. Since we cannot assume that increasing wealth and top-down technical control are good for the human race as a whole, or for our fellow creatures, science for all its wonder and all its achievements is in danger of becoming the enemy of humankind.

Worst of all perhaps is that those in high places—both in science and in politics—don't seem to realize that this is happening. They do not listen to criticism. "Public debate" means a one-way flow of information de haut en bas. The status quo for all its obvious flaws and indeed its horrors is seen as "progress". But those who are doing well out of it, including those intellectuals who have chosen to go along with the act, cannot even begin to consider that they could be wrong.

All this, by all measures, is a tragedy.