The Oath – BBC Radio 4

By Grant Jacobs 22/12/2011 4


Update: BBC seems to think that this programme has ‘rights issues’ and is not for replay later. Disappointing. (I’m trying not to say something less polite…) My apologies to those who have come here thinking there might be something to listen to.

Michael Edmonds recently raised (again*) the issue of an oath for scientists.

BBC Radio 4 has presented today a show ‘The Oath’ on just that.

Details on the programme are on-line on their website; readers are can follow the programme on-line too – click on Listen Live on BBC Radio 4

I’m going to update this post a little later, as this programme is currently running. If you’re around, listen in first!

* ‘Again’, because it’s been raised before – I suspect quite a few times.


4 Responses to “The Oath – BBC Radio 4”

  • “It’s been raised before – I suspect quite a few times”

    Yes, by morons who consider the work of scientists somehow arcane and exceptional. Funny how no one ever expects bankers or politicans to swear an oath not to fuck society into a cocked hat with their greed and bigotry.

  • Actually I was referring to other scientists and science writers (including science bloggers; same difference). I recall reading others discussing on-line a couple of years ago; Siouxsie pointed to some material from this time in Michael’s thread.

    For example, if you had listened to the coverage (or had be able to listen to the coverage, as the case may be), you’d have learnt that one of the earlier effort towards this was by a scientist (or a group?) from the Manhattan Project, who were concerned at the military use of the work, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn from science historians that there were ‘oaths’ or other ‘guidelines’ from quite some time ago, for example in Voltaire’s or Bacon’s time.

    I’m curious as why anyone would think an objective to do well by others would be a bad thing (as my reading of your comment implies). I would have thought this hasn’t much to do with science (somehow) being considered “arcane” or “exceptional”, but rather a wish to respect the wider community their work sits within.

  • “Actually I was referring to other scientists and science writers (including science bloggers; same difference).”
    – Where have you done this and in what context?

    “For example, if you had listened to the coverage (or had be able to listen to the coverage, as the case may be), you’d have learnt that one of the earlier effort towards this was by a scientist (or a group?) from the Manhattan Project, who were concerned at the military use of the work, etc. ”
    – One exception to the broadly mundane work carried out by scientists. I’m an environmental biologist and my chance of developing WMD is less than zero (if you exclude radical ideology). Funny how you don’t consider engineers to be in need of some sort of oath, despite the fact that most of the weapons manufactured today were designed and built by them. Or Politicians, as my earlier post implied, despite the fact that their dire moral and ideological failings results in wars of aggression being initiated against virtual stone-age cultures. Were you aware that the Americans dropped more bombs on Laos and Cambodia than were dropped in the entirety of WW2? A society of rice farmers buffalo herders. As Kissinger decreed: “Anything that flies against anything that moves”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Freedom_Deal
    At the Nuremberg trials people were sentenced to hang for far less.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised to learn from science historians that there were ‘oaths’ or other ‘guidelines’ from quite some time ago, for example in Voltaire’s or Bacon’s time.”
    – doesn’t mean they weren’t moronic

    “I’m curious as why anyone would think an objective to do well by others would be a bad thing (as my reading of your comment implies).”
    – if you think so how come you haven’t taken an oath to do so already? (I’ll bet fifty cocks in my ear that you haven’t).

    “I would have thought this hasn’t much to do with science (somehow) being considered “arcane” or “exceptional”, but rather a wish to respect the wider community their work sits within.”
    – the wider community my work sits in allowed the Iraq war to kill a million innocents, was overjoyed to let the 1% tear the heart out of the global economy, wanks itself silly over its right to avoid paying taxes and is currently pissing the Kyoto protocols into the pan. Colour me unimpressed.

  • punkscience,

    Either you are rushing in and being argumentative without thinking about what I’ve written first or are just trolling. If it’s not the latter, I’d suggest you read back what I wrote more slowly. You’ve repeatedly implied things of me that I simply haven’t said or implied.

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