PF should be a champion of responsible use of Science

  • Thread starter sophiecentaur
  • Start date
In summary, PF does not advocate for responsible use of science, and does not have a specific stance on the topic.
  • #36
sophiecentaur said:
I was rather hoping that threads wouldn't need to be special in order to be mentioning wider aspects of Science. Off topic, as always should be pointed out because we can easily go down side alleys but there are many occasions where wider issues are valid to mention. Health and Safety matters are always accepted and no one throws a wobbler when told not to stick their fingers in the mains socket.
HSE is always valid, that has cropped up no issues.
Is your sentiment more along the lines of "should" we be doing this
russ_watters said:
Everyone thinks they would be the best dictator but only one of me can be right.
Totally agree. We are all equal in our outlook, morals, ethics and politics.
I think I am more equal than everyone else though, just saying.
 
  • Haha
  • Like
Likes DennisN, BillTre and russ_watters
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #37
russ_watters said:
Everyone thinks they would be the best dictator but only one of me can be right.
Arrow's Theorem?
 
  • #38
Growing up, my father would often remind my brothers and me, "this is not a democracy " lol.
 
  • Like
Likes pinball1970, BillTre and hmmm27
  • #39
Getting back to "Responsible use of Science".

I think a distinction can be made between social policy advocacy, and standards of ethics and responsibility that we ought to be holding ourselves to. I hope discussions of the latter are approved here. BillTre already gave us a good example of information on bombs & poisons.

New issues like where can you fly your drone, use of AI in art and writing, and social media collecting of data come to mind.
 
  • Like
Likes BillTre and sophiecentaur
  • #40
I just read this thread which shows that there is a problem with 'too much politics' here. Life is all politics, when you get down to it and that is politics with a small p. Small p politics, afaics has to be holistic and that is something that few people with an enthusiasm for a particular Science or Engineering project acknowledge; they put on their blinkers and dismiss awkward questions as 'politics'. Difficult choices, I admit.
pinball1970 said:
HSE is always valid,
But whose health and whose safety? As soon as someone brings up the possible effects on third parties, it seems to be regarded as straying into the unacceptable. Awks.
 
  • #41
Here is an issue that is highly politicized, although I can't for the life of me remmeber who is on whcih side: halogenated belts for coal mines.

Coal mines produce coal dust, which is flammable. Very much so. Coal is often moved on conveyor belts from place to place in the mines. The belt material is naturally flammable which is not good. You can halogenate (I think with bromine) the material, and that makes it much harder to ignite. But if it manages to ignite, now it produces nasty gasses.

There is a - or at least was - a big political battle about whether these should be mandatory or forbidden. (It had to be one or the other :smile: ) and I don't remember who won, or even (as I said) how the sides were drawn.

There is no "scientifically correct" answer. There isn't even a "side of safety". It;s a question of whether one wants more, less serious accidents or fewer, more serious accidents, when the pulic's position is "I don't want any accidents - but I want affordable electricity). Further, even if we knew which option was less risky, the risk falls on different people. This is a political decision. No "science council" can decide.
 
  • Like
Likes dextercioby, sophiecentaur, Rive and 1 other person
  • #42
Sounds like the Halon fire suppression system.
Puts out fires well, has environmental and safety issues.
 
  • #43
Vanadium 50 said:
Here is an issue that is highly politicized, although I can't for the life of me remmeber who is on whcih side: halogenated belts for coal mines.
That sort of problem is common. And typically, there are not just two choices, though. To 'solve' the problem, you reduce the local production of coal to avoid making the choice (very political) and import your coal from a third party and leave it up to them to make the choice.

What makes me uncomfortable is that the third solution - the anonymous victims solution - can be the one that represents 'job done' for many PF threads. I think that; at the vey least, we should feel free to call out on this when we see it happen. I'm clearly not the only one who sees this sort of thing at work. Scientific blinkers are a luxury which we can't always use.
 
  • #44
sophiecentaur said:
That sort of problem is common. And typically, there are not just two choices, though. To 'solve' the problem, you reduce the local production of coal to avoid making the choice (very political) and import your coal from a third party and leave it up to them to make the choice
I do not see special knowledge about this within PF. Just another opportunity for the blowhards to pontificate.

I was following the water thread. You never actually said what you said you were not allowed to say. What did you want to say? I have not found your arguments in this thread convincing, so hopefully this will open my eyes to your right brain wisdom.
 
  • #45
Frabjous said:
Just another opportunity for the blowhards to pontificate.
A nice bit of straw man there. Why should taking a holistic and humane argument involve being a "blowhard"?
I guess this is one of those things that an individual will either get or not get. But it's not hard to go through the exercise of imagining that you might be one of the people who would not benefit from a particular bit of Engineering or Science research. Looking for a solution that may have the fewest dis-benefits needn't involve lecturing or blowharding - or at least realising that it is worth trying on a personal level.

There is a problem with the fact that there's only so much wealth to go round and some level of generosity would need to be involved when choosing between our personal circs and those of some other people.
 
Last edited:
  • #46
Because of recent cinematic efforts my mind again visits the decision to use the fission bomb in the way that actually transpired. I think this decision exhibits the entire range of questions in stark relief.
 
  • Like
Likes sophiecentaur and pinball1970
  • #47
berkeman said:
Just my 2 cents on this, but that's not why I've come to PF for so many years. That is a good endeavor, but that's not PF's mission and not why I come here. I'm fine going to some other advocacy site for that, but it's orthogonal to PF's mission IMO.
what he said (small).jpg
 
  • Like
Likes dextercioby and berkeman
  • #48
hutchphd said:
Because of recent cinematic efforts my mind again visits the decision to use the fission bomb in the way that actually transpired. I think this decision exhibits the entire range of questions in stark relief.
I have yet to see the movie but the history of 'the bomb' has been presented to us in various forms over the years. The latest cinema version will probably go into the history books as the truth.

The Science could be said to have got it right but whether or not the decision to use it was down to politicians. But is it likely that the scientists didn't consider it or discuss it?

Certainly, few people at the time could have contemplated the long term actual effects or the probable outcomes from future use of nukes. Even with hindsight, we couldn't be sure what might have happened without the Japan bombs. Many people would have been harmed in any case. Nuclear weapons would still have been developed by now.
 
  • #49
sophiecentaur said:
I have yet to see the movie but the history of 'the bomb' has been presented to us in various forms over the years. The latest cinema version will probably go into the history books as the truth.

The Science could be said to have got it right but whether or not the decision to use it was down to politicians. But is it likely that the scientists didn't consider it or discuss it?

Certainly, few people at the time could have contemplated the long term actual effects or the probable outcomes from future use of nukes. Even with hindsight, we couldn't be sure what might have happened without the Japan bombs. Many people would have been harmed in any case. Nuclear weapons would still have been developed by now.
More contemporary, Triton was discussed at length. When the failure to communicate turned into the vessel and divers/extreme tourists being lost, ethics and money were discussed not just engineering and physics.
That thread had disagreement but was not closed.
Probably more money/ business oriented rather than politics but I think that was an example of pf excels where other platforms do not.
 
  • Like
Likes sophiecentaur
  • #50
pinball1970 said:
More contemporary, Triton was discussed at length. When the failure to communicate turned into the vessel and divers/extreme tourists being lost, ethics and money were discussed not just engineering and physics.
That thread had disagreement but was not closed.
Probably more money/ business oriented rather than politics but I think that was an example of pf excels where other platforms do not.

That incident was pretty one dimensional. Was there any more of a moral issue than there is about other dangerous sports?

It upset me that the son was scared and didn’t want to go. His rich dad had his own way - prolly as usual. Controlling behaviour in the family doesn’t often clash with Science.
 
Last edited:
  • #51
sophiecentaur said:
That incident was pretty one dimensional. Was there any more if a moral issue than there is about other dangerous sports?

It upset me that the son was scared and didn’t want to go. His rich dad had his own way - prolly as usual. Controlling behaviour in the family doesn’t often clash with Science.
Yeah the 19 year old got to me a little bit. My Niece is smarter than me, 18 but she trusts me. The Human part hit a spot with anyone who has kids.
So, that was discussed a little bit, as an aside I think respectfully.

On the bigger stuff? Covid is a good example.

It is still going on in terms of vaccinations and there is a huge political and cultural element
 
  • Like
Likes sophiecentaur
  • #52
I am inclined to be much more rigid regarding the role of science in the public sphere. To me it represents the only reasonable means by which human beings can reach general concensus for collective action. I believe it is the central founding principle elicidated by Mr Jefferson (the existence of self-evident truths: a very scientific notion) My purpose in any public forum is to promulgate understanding of the science with this in mind, and the Forum would do well to provide this latitude.
 
  • Like
Likes sophiecentaur
  • #53
phinds said:
The things I'm talking about are what we all(?) have running in the back of our minds all the time. It's one of those balls that we should all be trying to keep in the air at all times - even on a dry forum about car exhausts. I guess my question is why suppress them on a forum like PF?

Seriously, I'm not after any revolutionary change; just a willingness to consider issues outside the linear world when it's called for. Is that something that one would want to escape from?
pinball1970 said:
It is still going on in terms of vaccinations and there is a huge political and cultural element
When people feel threatened, they lose their logic. Ignore that and there is no point to any discussion about what's best for them.
 
  • #54
sophiecentaur said:
I guess my question is why suppress them on a forum like PF?
Seems to me like you have answered your own question:
sophiecentaur said:
When people feel threatened, they lose their logic. Ignore that and there is no point to any discussion about what's best for them.
 
  • Love
Likes Bystander
  • #55
phinds said:
Seems to me like you have answered your own question:
sophiecentaur said:
When people feel threatened, they lose their logic. Ignore that and there is no point to any discussion about what's best for them.

Strange, the way you have read this. You paint a very bleak picture of PF.
You think PF is a threatening environment in which we need to defend ourselves? When I wrote that post, the idea could not have been further from my thoughts; I was referring to illogical anti-vaxers (conspiracy theorists etc.) who have been got at and have taken fear on board.

I have read many negative opinions about my idea, could that fear be a common problem, even on PF. Or it could be the quest for an carefree life; pass the soma.
 
  • #56
sophiecentaur said:
I have read many negative opinions about my idea, could that fear be a common problem, even on PF. Or it could be the quest for an carefree life; pass the soma.
"Social Responsibility" is a doomed/verboten/banned/hopeless topic for PF; very much as is this thread. I'll confess a morbid fascination awaiting its disappearance, but, with that, I'm out of here...someone else can "file the report."
 
  • Like
Likes phinds
  • #58
...and I think that's a good place to end it. Opinions have been heard.
 
  • Like
Likes sophiecentaur

Similar threads

  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
1
Views
575
Replies
64
Views
4K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
6
Views
955
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
3
Views
2K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
9
Views
2K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
9
Views
1K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
32
Views
2K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
25
Views
2K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
10
Views
1K
  • Feedback and Announcements
Replies
2
Views
5K
Back
Top