Science and Values for a Finite Planet
Cairns, John Jr.
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Exponential population growth on a finite planet means less resources per capita, and humankind is dependent upon the resources of the biospheric life support system for survival. However, humankind has acted, in the past, as if it does not recognize either of these obvious realities, but recent events make it more likely that both concepts will be accepted. Although scientific research is carried out in a variety of sources, society places the primary responsibility for this important activity upon its universities. Scientific results must not be suppressed or altered because they are not congruent with political ideology or articles of religious faith. Similarly, value judgments should be left to society. When scientific evidence and analysis are used to make a value judgment, the general public must be acquainted with the scientific process _ scientific judgments are based on the preponderance of evidence. The news media are doing a disservice to the public if they describe a _balanced coverage with a few doubters of a concept on one _side and thousands of credentialed scientists on the other. This type of coverage is being perpetuated frequently in global climate change reporting when the future of civilization is at stake.