This is a video from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 200th anniversary celebration. You'll need to start at minute 17 unless you are strong in northern European languages and want a musical interlude (which is actually quite civilized).
The basic gist made by Professor Louise Fresco is that without science progress, we would not be thriving in food production, we would have the apocalyptic scenario predicted by Doomsday prophet and Obama Science Czar Dr. John Holdren in the 1960s and beyond. Modern Europeans, who are now incredibly anti-science, have clearly benefited the most from science they now distrust. Cell phone cancer, anti-GMO, anti-nuclear, you name an accepted consensus and someone official in Europe is railing against it. Shell-shocked European scientists, even more dependent on the political funding machine than the American kind, are stuck between defending science and biting the hand that quite literally feeds them.
Instead of it being the other way around, as it had been throughout history, the bulk of Europe is not concerned about "its daily bread", she notes, and now they are so agriculturally rich they can worry about how much gluten food has and whether or not it contains a natural toxic pesticide or a synthetic one.
Why is the science basis of the Green Revolution so lost on modern Greens? Modern environmentalists are more driven by nostalgia about the past than an understanding of what food production was really like back then.
It's social dislocation by a truly privileged generation. The greatest beneficiaries of science were clearly not the poor, though they benefited, but rather the middle and upper classes - the same rich, progressive people who have the luxury of distrusting science today. The lack of belief in learning by modern Europeans sets them apart from the rest of the world, she says. The negative perception of the unprecedented success of science threatens their future.
Well, she is right. Unfortunately more Europeans do not see it. We can worry about California or Washington state being exceptionally zany in their anti-science fundamentalism, but in Europe that is the norm. Science can instead be dismissed as a blind belief in technocracy, or just an opinion, or they can claim that scientists are bringing us to the brink of a biological meltdown - that is the luxury of being agriculturally rich, thanks to science.
It's an interesting talk. Hat tip: Dr. Pamela Ronald
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