Keep Angry and Listen to Henry

Something amazing happened. And it came by in a pretty unusual way.

I like visiting Oh No They Didn’t, that lovely cesspool of pop culture, hilarious gifs and Mean Girls quotes. It’s nice when I need something funny to distract me from nights of study. The recent influx of Henry Rollins posts have kept me coming back. A Rollins fan there decided to submit questions from the members of the community to him, which he agreed to answer. One of them was mine:

Dear Mr. Rollins,

Big fan. “My War” will forever be my rip-the-world-to-shreds anthem.

My question for you regards the place of science in society. As a Chemistry graduate student, what I grapple with most often is the danger my craft can pose. Agent orange, napalm, nerve gas, CFCs, the nuclear bomb – unlocking the mystery of nature is equal parts fun and lethal. Do you think it’s possible to be an ethical scientist, or am I bound to end up creating/discovering something that will only cause misery? Any advice on how I should balance my curiosity and love for the universe and its inner workings with the potential clusterfuck those secrets could unleash?

And this was his answer:

It would take a chemist to make Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin possible, certainly. I think many people in the science world are tasked with the burden of being ethical, seeing what they can concoct. I wonder if the scientists who brought us all that nuclear information were all that happy about where it went and what was the result of their research. I think it comes down to the person. If someone was to give you a large sum of money to design a better nerve gas of higher potency and longer shelf life for use in future conflicts or union strikes (!), you could opt out. Someone else in your field would no doubt take the money and deliver but at least it wouldn’t be on you. I think it’s a matter of when to say no as well as how loud you want to say it.

FUCKING. AWESOME. I can now say I can live by Henry Rollins’ personal advice to me. I mean, how do you let down Henry Rollins? Here’s to being an ethical scientist!


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