Two years back, a question intrigued me in an after-event Q&A.
Should there be scientific research about topics that could potentially lead to social outrage and choas?
The questioner even referenced the question to research related to the human race and the potential presence of other human species among us.
One of the speakers answered that any research that could lead to social chaos and “potentially not help society” should not be carried out at all. I could immediately sense a slight disagreement within me, but I was too shy and reluctant to speak at the time. And more importantly, I had to think more about it first.
So, the question still stands to me, and now I think No! I believe science should be purely objective, and it should do what it is there to do — that is to pursue the truth in the Universe and broaden our knowledge of what and why.
But shouldn’t science care about morality, the usual good vs bad? And what about the potential social outrage and chaos it could lead to?
Well, science is neither moral nor immoral. If at all, science is amoral. Regarding the potential social outrage and chaos, science should have nothing to do with it. We all know there was a massive social outrage and chaos when Darwin’s theory of evolution first came around. The knowledge that we came from the Apes and not God was the biggest imaginable outrage at the time.
And if we go further 300 years back, there was an even bigger outrage, during the days of Copernicus and Galileo. The simple revelation that we are not the center of the Universe was a bombshell potent enough to shatter the general human belief held for more than thousands of years (at least beyond the written human history!)
Yet, the truth did come out. And the truth prevailed, irrespective of how society felt about it at the time, irrespective of whether it would lead to “good” or “bad”.
Hence, science is and should be beyond morality. And if it still needs a moral, its moral should be objectivity and truth, irrespective of consequences.