What measure of utility should be used for funding research?

My own view is that that right now we ought to be focusing on saving our environment and not finding out more about, say what happened in the microseconds after the Big Bang, or whether there are 11 dimensions of space-time. These types of scientific enquiries are intellectually thrilling — they certainly thrill me — but right now we are facing issues about the future of our planet and every other species on Earth.

This is not a popular stance to take, but I believe it is morally necessary to do so. What is lacking at the moment is a willingness on the part of many scientists — and also many science communicators — to engage with, in some sense, the ‘shadow side’ of science .

From ‘Time to face the dark side of science’ by Margaret Wertheim at http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/08/17/2985263.htm


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