In an opinion piece in today’s wsj Professor Kaku asserts that in science – authorities are not what counts. Experiments count.
I used to believe this. I wish I still could. In several conversations recently, friends and I (sadly shaking our heads at what is a sure sign of official geezerdom) have wondered at the apparent disdain for objective truth among the scientists we know. What seems to matter is what one asserts – particularly if it fits with a certain view of the world. Meaning: public enthusiasm is good for science funding. Alternative meaning: we should run the world because we are smarter than those currently running it and we know what is best for you. Of course, historians could correct this latter assertion – but they are too busy protecting their own patch of turf. Perhaps Kaku can still believe that experiments are what matters because he is a physicist. Perhaps we have become cynical because we live in the world of neuroscience and psychology. If so – then I hope the “physics envy” dogging the biological and social sciences wins the day.