Science wins the gold medal again.

Governments and religions typically strive to maintain the current social order of the hierarchies they oversee. Science, in contrast, questions reality and pokes rational holes in the fabric of social institutions. Joseph Priestley was the poster child for the radical thoughts such institutions shunned (Johnson, 149). Priestley’s “air pumps” and “electrical machines’ shift the flow of energy in society and transfer the power from politics to the sciences. When one man like Lavoisier, can refine the chemical properties of gunpowder or a handful of Northern British Industrialist can spark an economic revolution of coal, one realizes that the true power to change the future lies in the hands of the experimenters, not the state or church (Johnson, 142). It’s the scientists who “improve the efficiency of their steam engines and ironworks” not the kings (Johnson, 168).

In the modern world, Johnson’s text helps frame the controversy in world sports doping. From the Tour de France to the Olympics, The World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) is always a couple steps behind the chemists and athletes attempting to beat the system. Any country or team that successfully cheats their way to victory can harness that success into geopolitical power. The Russian Olympic team’s systematically doped during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. President Putin utilize his country’s subsequent Olympic domination to boost his approval among his people. The science of performance enhancement has the potential to shatter all prior notions of what’s fair in sport. Future athletes may be better off spending their college years in the chemistry lab not the gym. WADA and world nations should fear such technology being utilized not only for unfair victory but also political gain. All science, not only earth shattering CRISPR or Artificial intelligence but even relatively small-scale sports doping, can hold massive political significance.

1 thought on “Science wins the gold medal again.”

  1. I like the title. Your points in the first paragraph do a good job in explaining why government and religions should fear science. One point I really liked is the transfer of power from politics to science. I feel that there is almost a power struggle between the two of them. The political system wants to control the sciences however; it’s the sciences that spark change in the political system. I also found the second paragraph really interesting. Linking the doping problems to political gain is something I never thought about but seems very accurate. The science in doping is always changing and it may never be possible for WADA and similar agencies to keep up with the changes. In the end the sciences seem to have more power than any religion or government.

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