Was there a time in your life when a single experience or event shaped the character of the rest of your life?
Seventy years ago in 1951, as a seven-year-old student in second grade, though unbeknownst to me at the time, a momentary experience was about to shape the fate of the rest of my life. It happened the moment I first looked in the eyepiece of a microscope and saw an amazing “universe” of living things in a world that was formerly “invisible” to me. I observed an amoeba, a paramecium and a green alga, whose name I would never forget … spirogyra (cool, right?).
Fifteen years later, my interest in cells led to becoming a graduate student at the University of Virginia’s Department of Biology in 1966. At that time, I was staring down the eyepiece of a massive electron microscope, not looking at an amoeba, but this time, peering deep inside its molecular anatomy. I was becoming a true scientist, a cell biologist exploring the nature of life at its most fundamental level. Every day when I went to the lab and looked into that microscope, it was like a Star Trek adventure, rather than going into outer space, I was going into deep inner space “where no one has gone before.” (… Thank you, Captain James T. Kirk).
Going to work as a scientist, was truly an adventure every day. I was an explorer using an electron microscope to travel into the inner depths of life and observing sites never seen by humans before. Yes, “true” scientists were strictly explorers driven by their quest to know the unknown, seeking insights into the nature of life itself.
Yet, I observed that the world of the true biology was profoundly fractured in the late 1970’s, when a new breed of graduate students appeared. These students were not there for the “Star Trek” adventure, they were there to seek high-paying job opportunities in the burgeoning world of the pharmaceutical industry. They came to gather knowledge to “make” a product and acquire a profit in drug discovery.
By my definition, these students were not training to become scientists, they were on a track to become technologists, individuals “using” Science to create marketable items. This is not the mission of a true scientist. Unfortunately, in their rush to make money, these “technologists” have released into society drugs and products that have not only undermined health but have had a very negative impact not just on patients, but on civilization and Nature itself.
Starting four years ago, the country’s health and environmental woes have been blamed on the activities of “Science.” Today, the public continues to express a distrust and disdain for the realm of Science. However, I perceive that this is a miss-directed attack on Science, for it is not Science that has created the problems, it is the misuse of scientific awareness by the Technologists that have precipitated the problems.
This is especially true regarding the debacle in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, which has also been blamed on Science. Fact, Anthony Fauci is not a “scientist,” he is a technologist, using scientific awareness to manifest the production of COVID-19 vaccines … a product of science.
I was truly deeply disturbed when Fauci, in response to critics of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, stated that “attacks on me are, quite frankly, attacks on science.” (June 9, 2021, CNBC Health and Science News article titled, “Fauci blasts ‘preposterous’ Covid conspiracies, accuses his critics of ‘attacks on science’”.) Fauci’s proclamation suggests that his view is the view of Science. He is not the “Pope” of Science, the source of infallible scientific knowledge.
While he does have his personal opinions about science, there are many other scientists offering alternate insights that challenge Fauci’s perception that he is the ONE SOURCE of knowledge. As the self-acknowledged provider of “One Source Science,” Fauci spearheaded a personal mission to have the government, the news, and social media organizations censor and deprecate the findings of other researchers challenging his personal view of Science. Fauci’s actions directly resemble the effort of the Church in the 1500’s to maintain its claim of being the “One Source” of infallible knowledge by engaging in the Inquisition, a mission to eliminate dissenters by labeling them as heretics.
The good nature and intent of Science has been jaded by the ideas introduced by those Technologists whose endeavors are not driven by awareness, but by money. In my understanding, “scientists” don’t make products! As a scientist, and according to Fauci, a heretic, I hold strongly to the belief that the research derived from true Science will be the source of awareness that will enable us to thrive into the future … as long as we can keep Technology in check.
I am honored and proud to be a scientist, and believe there are many different scientific approaches that should be considered as we evolve into the future.
Wishing YOU … health, happiness, and harmony,