Should you be alarmed by the title, allow me to reassure you—this article has little to do with the subject of prostitution and is much more focused on science itself. That being said, I have recently come to the realization that under the scientific and technical norms our society now runs, science is essentially a prostitute.
Why would such a thought even come to my head? Well, allow me to diverge into a seemingly unrelated topic first.
The mind works in an extremely complex fashion, but since I have little personal knowledge of it, I’m going to present an extremely oversimplified version of its mechanisms. Think about this—what if your mind only occupied itself with what was useful to you as a human being? You ate, you slept, you worked, and perhaps you took in a breath of fresh air from time to time. No need for television, sports, or any other leisurely activities—only what was required to survive and get by.
How absurd would that be! We would all essentially become robots, without the slightest bit of creativity. While we might become much more organized and socially evolved as a species, we would have to give up much of what people essentially live for. Imagine a world like that. It’s not one that I would love to live in, and I’m cocky enough to say that there would be billions who would agree with me.
The mind needs to divulge into what is absurd, what initially makes no sense, what may never make any sense, and even what is wrong. All this in order to derive what is right and true. You might think this “truth” an end result. However, it is not the quenching of our curiosity that is most valuable, but the entire process and journey of thought. I like to think that people who grade math problems have this concept down pat. The answer to the problem that is worth ten points will only be worth two out of those ten. The other eight go to all the work that led to the answer in the first place—the way the person sought to solve the problem presented. And that’s exactly what is true with train of thought and realization.
So transfer this concept to how science works today. Centralized science, so to speak, works under the direction of a small group of people or organizations that are commonly run by one resource—money. Money not only makes the world go round, it also puts it in a frock and makes it do pirouettes.
Science is like the minds of humans: what is the proven truth and undeniable fact. Political ideologies often run back to scientific reasoning to gain the faith of people, because science is the strongest foundation available for any belief. Religions, superstitions, and traditional beliefs are broken every day by the power of proper reasoning and logic that lies in scientific investigation. It is not just the answer that leads people to believe, but the scientific argument that is presented.
Science is now becoming the core to many new beliefs, including political, social, and economic ones. If science is providing the ability to present a proper argument, then we can essentially say science is the brain of our society. And it’s certainly not working in the way it’s supposed to if my aforementioned theory was anything to go by.
Science, if the comparison with the mind works for you, needs to explore what the wrong answer is, what makes little sense, what makes no sense, and what is initially unfathomable. The journey is sure to yield so much to the community and give back so much more to the future and the field of science. Never mind the results! If they’re good, excellent; if they’re not what was expected, even better—all the more reason to continue and find more. It’s just as Paul Goodman states in his essay, “Applied Science and Superstition”:
“Because the adventure of modern science must be pursued, it is concluded that there are no choices in the adoption of scientific technology. This is an error in reasoning, but unfortunately there are powerful vested interests in business and politics throughout the world, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, that want to reinforce this error and probably believe it.”
Goodman makes it crystal clear; the sad fact is that the availability of money needed to conduct proper scientific investigation stands in the way of proper functioning of science as a part of our daily lives. We no longer pursue effectively what should be scrutinized for the sake of science; we pursue whatever will return the highest level of monetary profit. This is also probably why we are so comparatively stagnant in our progress, when we could have moved years ahead had we followed a freer path of scientific inquiry. The path science is on right now resembles prostitution too much to be coincidence.
Let me break this down so there are no confusions in comparison. Prostitutes dress in a certain way to attract customers. Science imitates this through long, illegible research titles and boring presentations, which entice money out of organizations. Prostitutes give the customer what they want without anything else coming out of the exchange. An organization gives a scientific facility pecuniary incentive to conduct some research and perhaps, just maybe, come up with certain results. It’s a suggestion, not an outright declaration. But we know the organization couldn’t have screamed an order out louder.
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, “science” is effectively a prostitute.