Science we are told is something that every child should and must study. Most children hate it, fail to master it and never use it or think about it again after they have left school. It is forced upon unwilling and inept pupils because it is supposed to be good for them. Science is the twenty-first century’s version of Latin.
A knowledge of science we are assured is essential for a proper understanding of the modern world. It is not. Very few English people whether adults or teenagers have any serious knowledge of the sciences but this does not hinder them in any way when it comes to earning, buying and selling, taking care of their children, playing elaborate games on their computers, tinkering with their car engines, giving up smoking or choosing between one fool and another at election time.
Davies takes on field trips, labs and tendentious environmental science courses. Yet he concedes we need scientists. Immigration is the answer, he writes.
By long tradition anything disagreeable in Britain is always done by foreigners, so why not science? For talented scientists in poor countries or ones where there is little personal freedom the tedious work done in a laboratory in free and wealthy England is an escape to paradise. All they need are scholarships, contracts and visas. I look forward to having 100,000 new Hindu and Chinese neighbours.
I think he’s kidding about not bothering students with science.