“This election is said to have been about rejecting the political establishment. We cannot let that mean rejecting established facts” [Rush Holt, AAAS Chief Executive Officer]. Amen! As a mathematical scientist, my calling is to continue listening and reading – to be a lifelong student of my academic discipline – and then to speak and write the truth as I see it. Although my political dissent may take the form of “speaking truth to power,” my primary obligation is to discernment; to seek truth over falsehood and speak truth to everyone.
“Scientists feel an acute pressure to publish and are weighed down by a growing bureaucratic burden, with little administrative support. Scientists are largely judged on their record of publishing and of winning grants.” (from Young, Talented and Fed Up; see below). But if scientists are never allowed to ignore the pressure to publish, and take time to think, “How are they going to be excellent at anything?”
The current hyper-competitive atmosphere is harming science as well as scientists. The incentives “stifle creativity and push scientists to do mediocre science — work that is safe and uninteresting. Scientists find themselves endlessly churning out” paper after middling paper.
Science Amor Mundi – for love of the world – is not synonymous with “research output.” Scientists need a compass for intellectual life that encourages scholarship. Science begins by ignoring the pressure to publish and taking time to think.
This post begins as direct quote from: Powell, K. (2016). Young, talented and fed-up: scientists tell their stories. Nature, 538(7626), 446–449. http://doi.org/10.1038/538446a, continues as a paraphrase of text from this article, and ends with my personal take.
Amor Mundi is a potential on-campus COLL 300 theme at W&M (for fall 2018 or Spring 2019) proposed by Carey Bagdassarian (Interdisciplinary Studies) after reading Mary Oliver.
Riches and abundance come hypocritically clad in sheep’s clothing pretending to be security against anxieties, and they become then the object of anxiety … they secure a man against anxieties just about as well as the wolf which is put to tending the sleep secures them … against the wolf.
Soren Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses (1848)
[courtesy Peace Hill Christian Fellowship]
Lord, please guide us and fulfill us.
Heal our confused minds with your word.
Heal our divided wills with your law.
Heal our troubled consciences with you love.
Heal our anxious hearts with you presence.