I was reading about The Republican War on Science, a book I’m likely to read. I was reminded of a talk that Feynman gave now preserved in a book. He said that science was irrelevant. Unfortunately, I have to agree. How else could we let this war on science be winning? He said that we allow it to be irrelevant. Unfortunately it is very relevant, but everywhere it is has become highly politicized. Things like the conclusion from climate research that man is responsible for global warming; Embryonic stem cell research; food safety; the overprescription of antibiotics, bird flu and other pandemic threats. The list goes one.
In a talk that Feynman gave at the Galileo Symposium in Italy in 1964, he captures this aspect of scientific ignorance in his unique way. “I want to answer the question as to why people can remain so woefully ignorant and not get into difficulties in modern society. The answer is that science is irrelevant. And I will explain what I mean just in a minute. It isn’t that it has to be, but that we let it be irrelevant to society.” [source: The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Perseus Publishing]