Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

“We Have Always Been at War with Science”

By Guy Nolch

An Orwellian dystopia is upon us when scientists are muzzled and their expertise disappears into a memory hole.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

When I was a student I was fascinated by the dystopian future imagined by George Orwell in 1984. The thought of an extensive network of cameras, microphones and two-way telescreens to monitor each citizen seemed far-fetched in the 1980s, let alone the concept of government departments dedicated to rewriting historical records, but in 2017 we now seem to have caught up with Orwell’s imagination.

Our computers all have video cameras that can be hijacked by hackers; our ATM and credit cards record every purchase we make; GPS tracking of our mobile phones records our every movement; the cameras on millions of phones enable a mobile army of citizens to record and broadcast on social media what were once considered unremarkable events; and governments can track our phone calls, emails and browsing history. This volume of information can quickly generate a detailed profile of us all.

Much of this has been evolving since the start of the millennium. Where 2017 is now echoing 1984 is in the emulation of a Ministry of Truth by new US President Donald Trump. While Trump’s election campaign last year was the flagbearer for the “post-truth” era, his inauguration has seen this morph into the blatant creation of “alternative facts”.

But Trump is not waging a war against Eurasia or Eastasia. He’s waging a war against science. When your philosophy is to create a...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.