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Human dignity is better served by embracing knowledge.
– John Charles Polanyi
Others think it the responsibility of scientists to coerce the rest of society, because they have the power that derives from special knowledge.
The scientific and scholarly community is marked by the belief that the truth is to be found in all; none can claim it as their monopoly.
Though we explore in a culturally-conditioned way, the reality we sketch is universal.
Our assessment of socio-economic worth is largely a sham. We scientists should not lend ourselves to it – though we routinely do. We should, instead, insist on applying the criterion of quality.
Some dreamers demand that scientists only discover things that can be used for good.
Young people ask me if this country is serious about science. They aren’t thinking about the passport that they will hold, but the country that they must rely on for support and encouragement.
It is this, at its most basic, that makes science a humane pursuit; it acknowledges the commonality of people’s experience.
Instead, in the absence of respect for human rights, science and its offspring technology have been used in this century as brutal instruments for oppression.
The applause is a celebration not only of the actors but also of the audience. It constitutes a shared moment of delight.
If we treasure our own experience and regard it as real, we must also treasure other people’s experience.
Science gives us a powerful vocabulary, and it is impossible to produce a vocabulary with which one can only say nice things.
Science exists, moreover, only as a journey toward troth. Stifle dissent and you end that journey.
Better to die in the pursuit of civilized values, we believed, than in a flight underground. We were offering a value system couched in the language of science.
Today, Academies of Science use their influence around the world in support of human rights.
When, as we must often do, we fear science, we really fear ourselves.
What makes the Universal Declaration an epochal document is first of all its global impetus and secondly the breadth of its claims, a commitment to a new social contract, binding on all the Governments of the world.
For scholarship – if it is to be scholarship – requires, in addition to liberty, that the truth take precedence over all sectarian interests, including self-interest.
A new sense of shared international responsibility is unmistakable in the voices of the United Nations and its agencies, and in the civil society of thousands of supra-national NGOs.
Individual scientists like myself – and many more conspicuous – pointed to the dangers of radioactive fallout over Canada if we were to launch nuclear weapons to intercept incoming bombers.
In the late 1950s a major topic under discussion was whether Canada should acquire nuclear weapons.
For science must breathe the oxygen of freedom.
The most exciting thing in the twentieth century is science.
Science never gives up searching for truth, since it never claims to have achieved it.
The respect for human rights, essential if we are to use technology wisely, is not something alien that must be grafted onto science. On the contrary, it is integral to science, as also to scholarship in general.
In nation after nation, democracy has taken the place of autocracy.