Disclaimer: I run an organization that has attempted science crowdfunding (and failed) and intends to relaunch using crowdfunding later this year, and I have personally contributed a small sum ($25) to the Immunity Project
Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts
-Richard P. Feynman
This is a response to “Crowd-funded HIV vaccine project sparks a debate”, featured in Nature News.
In my personal life, I find myself to be a repeated advocate against using science as a system of authority, and it bugs me to no end when scientists present themselves as unassailable authorities. It is not clear to me that the structure of scientific advancement, as compared, to say, Feynman’s era, responsibly identifies talent and promotes them to positions of authority in the hierarchy. In our contemporary science era, I would argue that even more than before, advancements require belief in the ignorance of experts.
Several quotes from the article, in my mind, betray the dangerous trend to authority in science, and illustrate the sandbagging of the process by individuals who have a vested interest in protecting the dominant funding structure from criticism.