Science and democracy

I came across the following quote courtesy of my friend Morry Fiddler at DePaul’s School for New Learning. I wanted to make sure I captured it for future contemplation:

Science is a kind of open laboratory for democracy. It’s a way to experiment with the ideals of our democratic societies. For example, in science you must accept the fact that you live in a community that makes the ultimate judgment as to the worth of your work. But at the same time. everybody’s judgment is his or her own. The ethics of the community require that you argue for what you believe and that you try as hard as you can to get results to test your hunches, but you have to be honest in reporting your results, whatever they are. You have the freedom and independence to do whatever you want, as long as in the end you accept the judgment of the community. Good science comes from the collision of contradictory ideas, from conflict, from people trying to do better than their teachers did, and I think here we have a model for what a democratic society is about. There’s a great strength in our democratic way of life, and science is at the root of it.

Lee Smolin, “Loop Quantum Gravity,” The New Humanists, John Brockman, editor, 2003

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