Showing posts from April, 2024

The Myth of the Noble Scientist

Finally, I think we scientists are guilty of promoting, or at least tolerating, a false popular image of ourselves that may be flattering but that, in the long run, leads to real difficulties when the public finds out that our behavior doesn't match that image. I like to call it The Myth of the Noble Scientist. It arises, I think out of the long-discredited Baconian view of the scientist as disinterested seeker of the truth, gathering facts with mind cleansed of prejudices and preconceptions. Thus the ideal scientist would be more honest than ordinary mortals, certainly immune to such common human failings as pride or personal ambition. When it turns out, as invariably it does, that scientists are not at all like that, the public that we have mislead may react with understandable anger or disappointment. The fact is that scientists are usually rigorously honest about