Science and Social Values

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    Abstract

    TIME and time again in these columns, reference has been made to the fact that men of science as a whole have, in the past, paid little attention to the social consequences of their investigations and discoveries, with the result that science has been widely blamed for the present-day world-wide unrest. While there is still a body of opinion that scientific workers should disclaim all responsibility for the use to which their discoveries are put, there is a growing feeling that men of science should take a more active part in public affairs. Sir Josiah Stamp, in his presidential address on September 9 to the British Association, referred to this topic, and went on to suggest that biological and social investigations should be given more attention than they are at present receiving. On September 10, Prof. J. C. Philip, in his presi-dential address to Section B (Chemistry) of the Association, part of which is printed in this issue of NATURE (see p. 492), roundly attacked those who find nothing in chemical science but explosives and poison gas, showing clearly the importance of the chemist in the modern State, though he found it necessary to urge upon his fellow chemists and other scientific workers the necessity of “throwing their weight into the scale against the tendencies which are dragging science and civilization down and debasing our heritage of intellectual and spiritual values”.

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