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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Chief Religious Advisors, Chief Scientific Advisors

In times long past, here in Europe, rulers (mostly unelected monarchs), had Chief Religious Advisors. Then sprang up an intellectual movement, which we today call The Enlightenment, which argued (correctly) that dogma (in this case the beliefs of the Christian church) had no place in government, and that such dogma had a pernicious influence on the lives of the governed. The emphasis was also on people thinking for themselves, rather than believing what they were told.

So began the secularisation of government, or so most people think. Here is not the place to reflect upon the failure of The Enlightenment. This is something that I will reserve for a future blog. For now I just note that dogma was not driven out of government, nor did people, on the whole, start thinking for themselves. What happened was that we swapped one pernicious dogma, for many others, and in the western world, two in particular took hold – free market economics (Industrial era capitalism) and science, both of which are products of the age of enlightenment, both of which also have many things in common, and both of which are also deeply bound to the dominant culture (and dogma) from which they were born – European culture. More about this matter in future blogs.

Thus, in effect, what happened as a result of The Enlightenment was that Chief Religious Advisors were replaced by Chief Economic Advisors and Chief Scientific Advisors, so rather than just having one pernicious influence, we ended up with two!

As with Chief Religious Advisors, Chief Economic Advisors and Chief Scientific Advisors reflect the self-interests, values and beliefs of the rulers. Most hereditary rulers of times past, believed in their divine right to rule, and having a Chief Religious Advisor was an essential part of the process of maintaining this delusion. Today, rulers, mostly elected (but also still some unelected) politicians in the western world, also subscribe to economic and scientific delusions, about which more will be said in the future, and therefore have both Chief Economic Advisors and Chief Scientific Advisors.

The current President of the European Commission (Barroso) whose term of office comes to end this year, decided in 2009 appoint a Chief Scientific Advisor, to, as he put it, “… reflect the central importance I attach to research and innovation.”  The name of this advisor is Anne Glover.

Now, Anne Glover had already come to my attention as being one of those scientific types who subscribe to the deficit model theory. This is a belief held my many scientists that it is a lack of right-mindedness that leads ordinary people to question science, to reject certain types of scientific results, etc. So such people are suffering from a deficit in their thinking, which, to cure, requires a good dose of communication to enlighten people to the glorious nature of science, what is does and has achieved, and to show them that through science we will build the best of all possible worlds.

It was therefore, no surprise to me, that when she addressed a meeting of ICT & ART CONNECT, she immediately launched into praising science, and then had the audacity to announce how pleased she was that artists would be participating in the quest to enlighten the public concerning the glories of science. In response to this I therefore began to reflect upon how to demonstrate to Anne Glover what art can do for science.

As part of my overarching theme, which I call The Silent Narratives, I have decided to hack Horizon 2020, and to make Anne Glover the subject of artistic enquiry. From this not only do I intend to demonstrate the true value of art in science, engineering, and technology, but to show the true nature of western science and its Abrahamic characteristics, and to begin to introduce a new, more powerful scientific paradigm based on eastern cultures. And given that the incoming President of the European Union has yet to decide whether to have a Chief Scientific Advisor, I will be using the evidence and knowledge generated from this process of artistic enquiry to offer him advice on the matter.

Thus over the coming months I will be examining Anne Glover’s public pronouncements in the context of her stated mandate. I will be investigating her conflicts of interests too, and the controversies she has created as a result of her work. I shall be taking some of, what she calls, the fascinating science being undertaken in Europe, and applying this to Anne Glover to see how Anne is transformed by science. Given the emphasis on innovation that is the foundation upon which Horizon 2020 is built, I will be developing exploitation plans for these results in the form of new and improved versions of Anne Glover that offer significant savings in public expenditure and more effective use of Chief Scientific Advisors. In this re-engineering of Anne Glover I will also explore the potential for economic growth in the form of wealth and job creation.

I call this body of work Anne’s Fascinating Science. Welcome to the world art!

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