EXPERIENCE NOT EXPERIMENTS

 

Wasn’t that the most thrilling thing you’ve ever heard? Congratulations to the army of scientists who – it looks like – have found the Higgs boson. Yay!

The applied hours of 7,000 physicists, working for 14 years, at an estimated cost of £2.6 billion so far (and nobody can tell me if that’s a US billion or a UK billion) – with the financially crippled UK taxpayer contributing £70 million – will no doubt have a remarkable and positive effect on all our lives.

And don’t forget that the next generation of scientists will be able to claim billions in research money and grants for experiments to prove the theory wrong. Still, it keeps them in a job, eh?

Mind you, if science is the new religion – and it seems that’s what’s happened – then if you dare suggest that the Large Hadron Collider is a colossal waste of money and resources, you’ll be howled down by the high priests of the New Religion. You will be branded a heretic (or more likely, an idiot) because you dare apply common sense, and question what possible practical use all this can be; to peer back to the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.

Which is why, I ask, in the spirit of the heretic… How’s the cure for that cancer thing coming along, fella’s?

I’m talking about lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, prostate cancer. And that’s without looking at malaria, MS, alzheimer’s, AIDS, muscular dystrophy and so on. Feel free to add to the list.

While children’s hospitals are being closed and care homes are crumbling, I offer my congratulations to those involved in the most expensive science experiment ever to take place in the history of the World. Feel free to celebrate step one in solving the mystery of the origin of mass, and the affect on the theory of supersymmetry.

However, it would be a more remarkable achievement if those involved took a trip to a children’s hospice to see how the billions of pounds spent on some pointless – and it IS pointless – massive, resource-shriveling, money-burning experiment could be put to better use; like saving little lives.

Be honest. As an ordinary West Lothian citizen, where would you rather see your money go? On an egotistical experiment, or to help alleviate suffering and pain?

My own (inexpensive) experiment demonstrates that excessive schooling and a lack of real world experience leads to “All brains but no common sense.” Sound familiar?

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3 Responses to EXPERIENCE NOT EXPERIMENTS

  1. fortiain says:

    Being someone who might be labelled as “all brains but no common sense”, I felt obliged to respond.

    The UK government does not invest taxpayer money into world-leading research in physics, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, just for the sake of it. It makes that investment to maintain international competitiveness in industry and to keep the UK’s physics community at the “cutting edge”. What some people might perceive as “pointless”, others recognise as valuable “blue-skies” research that generates original ideas, new technologies and creates a community of skilled people.

    Understanding fundamental physics is not “pointless” — ask anyone who’s benefitted from having had an X-ray, a nuclear magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) or radiation therapy, all of which require knowledge of fundamental physics.

    Government needs to spend wisely across a range of activities, including research in medicine and fundamental physics. It currently spends almost £100bn on the NHS. It’s entirely appropriate to spend much, much less than that on scientific blue-skies research.

    • drewsmuse says:

      Hi there – thanks for your comment.

      I have a confession to make. It wasn’t actually ME who, in 2008 when the LHC was switched on, initially asked whether the (then) $10 billion (IS that a UK billion or a US billion? Still can’t find out) budget couldn’t be put to better use combating climate change (of interest to you) or disease (of interest to me).

      The person who stood up and asked the question was Dave King, better known as Prof Sir David King, (The UK’s top scientist), the Smith School’s first Director, UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Head of the Government Office of Science, Fellow of the Royal Society, Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holder of the award of “Officier dans l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur”. etc etc etc.

      I just think he probably knows what he’s talking about – and I simply echoed his question.

  2. fortiain says:

    You raise an important issue — this is a political issue, not a scientific one. Every voter and tax payer is entitled to engage in this discussion and to formulate a position of their own (or simply follow someone else’s position) and vote accordingly at the next election. Prioritisation is always tricky and debate is always good.

    What I took issue with is your suggestion that such investment in fundamental physics research is “pointless”, and by inference, a waste of money.

    Now, it is no basis for an argument to simply cite the credentials of one individual and assume he “knows what he is taking about”, especially in an issue which is more about judgement than fact. But if you are to do that, then be aware that other, equally distinquished British scientists take a different view to Sir David. Take, for example, Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, President of the Royal Society, etc, etc, ….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/08/martinrees.cern

    Perhaps he knows what *he* is talking about?
    Maybe.

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