Monday, 30 July 2007

Science for the people

During my wanderings I have found the original manifesto Towards A Science For The People by Bill Zimmerman, Len Radinsky, Mel Rothenberg and Bart Meyers written in 1972. The text is full of ideological lingo, for a person who grew under communist rule reminiscent of the Party slogans and directives. It is so highly critical of the `ruling class', `military-industrial complex' and inequality in science that if such criticism was written under the communist rule, the authors would end up in prison. The worst that has happened to the authors in the US was the refusal of publication in Science.

While the text is, in its political fervour, almost crazy, the ideological blindness that makes it funny lies in small details. The predictions and accusations that almost all were falsified by the passage of time. Two sinful monopolies were mentioned: ATT (that soon was broken down by the very `capitalist government') and IBM (that is now far from a monopoly). An example of inequality of access to science was provided by computers and - that are far removed from ordinary people (just a couple of years before PC was invented). Lasers and other advances in telecommunications were supposed to benefit only the telco company. Who could envision ubiquitous mobile phones...

One thing for certain, a lesson for today: when we are blinded by our own ideas, our own goals it is so easy to miss the reality of the world. When we think about the environment protection, nuclear energy or empowerment of the people it is worth to spend a minute analyzing the fate of the predictions from 1972. Read it, whether you are conservatist or leftist.

PS. In the current Science for the People WEB site many of the problems have changed. Obviously. Some were solved, some - never appeared. But the language has remained truly revolutionary. Point for Dawkins and his meme concept.


Anonymous said...

Where did you find this article? I'm just wondering what your source is; it's a very interesting early glimpse at Science for the People

Wanderer in the country of blindfolded said...

Well, I guess i just google a lot. In the course of writing Country of Blindfolded, which is definitely a book with a thesis, I have to check the curious and strange. I got interested in Science for the People via sociobiology debate (it may have been Alcock book, or Segerstrale.

Googling for the title leads to the WEB page in the topmost hit.

Seanna said...

Keep up the good work.