Yesterday, the UK Government announced that from next year it will begin closing all scientific research establishments and cut all science research funding for British universities and other research projects.
Instead, the government has decided to put all their scientific research money into increasing use of tabloid article comments.
As a government spokesperson said, ‘time and time again the commentators on tabloid science articles have shown they think they know more than any scientist about any particular subject of scientific inquiry. We in government believe that, for example, in the Daily Mail Comments section contains a massive wealth of untapped knowledge. These comments contain a fund of knowledge that will easily put all scientists and their so-called expertise in their place.’
Initially, there were cries of outrage from university and government funded scientists. But as one social science professor from the prestigious University of Chipping Sodbury said, ‘for far too long scientists and others in the reality-based sector have assumed a privileged definition of truth and reality. This is a view that takes no account of either democracy, or other equally valid world views.’
Many in the humanities and social sciences for example, have long claimed that both truth and reality are arbitrary constructions. Often made by ‘a privileged scientific elite’ who take no account of other worldviews that may have a very different reality and understanding of what they regard as true.
However, the UK government distanced themselves from such claims about the relative nature of reality and truth. They took what they see as a far more common sense approach to the ever-spiralling costs of scientific research. As the Government’s science minister, Totty Tokenfemale, spoke about it on a recent BBC Question Time. ‘Commenters on the web in both mainstream media sites and other websites often claim to know more about any so-called scientific discovery than the scientists themselves’.
She went on to say, ‘Real world and real life experience,’ she claimed, often can say more about such things as gravitational waves than any unnecessarily complex scientific theory that uses incomprehensible mathematics. After all,’ she said, ‘we’ve all accidently dropped the occasional glass full of wine while watching an especially gripping soap opera episode. So we don’t need scientists to tell us any more about gravity.’
However, some scientists, especially those with long running TV shows and lucrative book contracts, countered the government’s stance. ‘It takes a great deal of training to become a scientist. Just because someone’s dad once changed a fan belt on a Ford Anglia, it doesn’t make them an expert on interstellar travel. Even though there may be a sense in their own minds that car mechanics and rocket science are more or less the same. Some of these commentators claim an understanding of the complexities of biology and the processes of living beings because they once had a bit of a gippy tummy while on holiday in Ibiza. Even a politician with no understanding of science should be able to see through that.’
But as a government cabinet minister said yesterday afternoon. ‘We keep asking these self-styled ‘scientists’ for answers to some of the problems and difficulties that the government faces. But they keep coming back with answers we do not like and telling us we are doing everything wrong, so obviously they are going to have to go.’