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class consciousness

What Is a Scientist?

I blog less often than I would like, and sadly it often happens because I am spurred into action by something ridiculous. So it is today. In a nonsense piece called "Should Scientists go on strike over climate change?", the author writes:

I hesitate to make an estimate, but a brief Google search suggests there are approximately (depending on definitions) six million ‘Scientists’ in the world.

At present, these six million or so Scientists do not have what Marx and Engels referred to as ‘class consciousness’, but they have a great deal to unite around; a shared commitment to certain methodologies, principles, values and practices and a worldview that respects appropriate responses to data and evidence.

From this shared sense of identity and purpose they would generally respect the verdict of their climatologist colleagues (better not to say ‘comrades’…) that climate change is happening because of what governments are allowing people and businesses to do, and that we ought to ‘do something’ rapidly to change that.

I notice he capitalises "Scientist". Capitalisation is used to make something a name rather than a plain descriptor. A scientist is someone who applies the scientific method to discover truth. But who knows what a "Scientist" is? Because scientists certainly do not and should not share a "class consciousness" (a concept odious enough in any context, but vastly more so here). Scientists try to disprove each others' work, because that way, the thing they all respect, truth, is more likely to emerge because the false notions will fail while the correct ones will withstand all challenges.

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