Stagnating science and disillusioned scientists: a personal story

This post was inspired by a recent article by Tom Murphy, in which he tells how he discovered that most science is not just useless but an evil force worsening the human situation. So much that he decided to quit. Murphy’s case is not isolated; a feeling of dismay runs through the very fabric of scientific research. My career as a scientist parallels Tom’s experience.

Putting science in its place

Think of science as a powerful tool, like maybe a power saw. It can really take things apart. But it’s not always the right tool. Maybe it seldom is, in fact. We also don’t want to put it in the hands of children, or use it without first thinking carefully about the consequences and if there might in fact be more productive paths.

Wes Jackson, “Methodism to My Madness”: A “Podcast from the Prairie” Conversation

We’re all responsible for our choices, of course, and I’m not excusing bad behavior or mean-spirited politics. But I do not blame Kansans for our predicament so much as I blame the power structure that takes care of itself without caring about the ecological and economic catastrophe out our way.

Introduction to The Web of Meaning

As our civilization careens toward a precipice of climate breakdown, ecological destruction, and gaping inequality, people are losing their existential moorings. Our dominant worldview has passed its expiration date: it’s based on a series of flawed assumptions that have been superseded by modern scientific findings.