In a previous post, we wrote about a lawsuit against the Nobel committee. Looking a bit more into the subject, it reminds us of a case in which a student claimed he was wrongfully expelled from medical school. After unsuccessfully exhausting administrative channels, he sued the university, including a demand for potentially lost wages. He didn’t get compensation for potentially lost wages, but he did receive a full refund on tuition, with interest.
Well…what if you think you were wrongfully kicked out?This is what we are discussing here. The Simpsons™. Fox Television.
While this is rather unusual, there are several similar cases. This only highlights the importance of an academic degree that all parties involved have certain responsibilities. Again, we do not wish to take a side in any of this, but rather comment on the importance of the subject.
Looking even further back, we can find lawsuits in science and education that were really influential for their time. Such is the case commonly known as the Scopes Monkey Trial. In 1925, a high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school.
Report of the opening of the case by the Bethlehem Globe, a newspaper from Pennsylvania, back in 1925 (http://blog.rarenewspapers.com/?tag=john-scopes-trial)
It took only 9 minutes for the jury to find Scopes guilty, and he was ordered to pay $100. The decision was, however, overruled later based on a legal technicality. Of course the trial was only the façade of the bigger issues that were at stake; that is, the social perception of mankind’s origin and development. As a social function, education and religion have a complicated, yet unavoidable, relationship. In the words of Roger Cone, chairman of the department of molecular physiology and biophysics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville (yes, also Tennessee), scientists “have a responsibility to be in the public sphere”1.
An 1871 caricature following publication of The Descent of Man satirizing Darwin’s evolution theory.
We agree that scientists have a social responsibility in educating society. They should be in the forefront of the debates that move mankind forward. Thus far, scientists have been constantly in that line, and we will continue to write about important discoveries and their impact on society. We will also write about the other side, that is, the social recognition of science.Questions or suggestions? Let us know, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributed by Miguel Tam, PhD.
If you want to learn more:
1National Public Radio on the Scopes Trial and the social responsibility of science
Scopes Trial in Wikipedia
Charles Darwin Biography
Stephen F. Heinemann, whose pioneering research on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain helped lay the groundwork for understanding diseases of the brain, died August 6 of complications of kidney failure at Vibra Hospital in San Diego, California. He was 75.
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