Six scientific reasons to remain

The EU referendum ticks ever closer, and as wit anything that could have a profound impact on my (and your) entire life, the nerves are getting high. If someone asked me to write a list of things I am, number 1 would be a scientist. It isn’t a choice I, I was born this way. The scientific case, in my opinion, is the most compelling reason to remain in the European Union. You might ask yourself, by what has science done for me? If you do then shame on you! Science is everything, the television you watch, the transport you use, the drugs you need to get better – just about every single thing that allows you to live a life better than the neanderthal can be traced back to a scientist (and indeed a Physicist, but today I choose my battles!).

I have decided to simply list out the scientific case for remaining in the European Union. Some of these are more “classic” ideas and some have originated from my brain and I have yet to see them written elsewhere. Together I hope you will find them powerful, if you are still on the fence.

  1. Co-operation and science; There is a picture portrayed of Albert Einstien that he was some sort of social recluse. The kind of man who locked himself up in his study and didn’t come out. In actuality  this could not be further from the truth, he was playful and deeply sociable and made many of his advances working with the greatest scientists of the day. Whilst nobody in their right mind would say that it is impossible to cooperate without the EU (we do so with America and Asia regularly) it is a large facilitator of cooperation. The European Union removes massive restrictions to travel that we have in other areas of the world, which has allowed thousands of scientists to move, collaborate and share ideas more easily. It is all to easy to point scientific achievement before the EU and use that as an argument for why it isn’t necessary but we are not in the past, we are in the present and the problems we face today are far too complex to limit our chances. We need to move and think freely.
  2. Plate tectonics: What actually Britain, this country that leave campaigners continually state they “want back”?  It is a small piece of continental crust. And no matter how much you want your little bit of crust, there is someone who is going to take it from you – and no, I do not mean migrants, I mean the Earth. Crust is continually recycled with old crust destroyed and new crust born. So when you really give it some thought there is no permanence to a continent, it is a temporary label given to the transient position of land. Life is simply too short to romanticise over something so trivial. Don’t get me wrong – I love Britain, it is truly wonderful – but I do firmly believe you cannot own a temporary piece of continental crust. Yes it makes sense to divide them up for certain administrative functions but we should leave it there.
  3. The fee barrier: Scientists are humanitarians. They choose a life of very little money, continual work, spending all their life not really knowing what they want to do, often being unable to settle in one place having almost no stability, and why? Two reasons – the selfish one because it feeds our inner desire to know why, and the virtuous one – because it reflects our outward desire to improve life for the human race. It is really really important that people are allowed to do this and one of the biggest barrier to doing this is the fees, and boy are we swimming against the tide. When my mum went to university it was free. Then by the time my older friends went it was £1,000. When I went it was £3,000. By the time my brother got there it was £9,000. Keeping financial barriers to education as low as possible isn’t just to make my life better – it makes everyones life better. You have no idea who has been deterred from education because of the barriers that exist, you just have to hope they didn’t have the information you needed most, coded in their brain. One of the most beautiful successes of the EU is that you can study in any country and pay fees as if that was your home. We must not destroy this.
  4. The funding: There is an inherent difficulty in science in that a lot of it isn’t commercial. It is very easy to get funding to work on an app that people are going to get hooked onto then it will charge them to use, that’s an investment. Go on Dragon’s Den and tell them you need £50,000 to sustain yourself while you think about string theory and if it goes amazingly well then you will have given mankind a richer understanding of the universe that cannot be sold for any discernible profit. Getting funding is really hard and a lot of it is pooled at an EU level. This is the most efficient way of doing things for two reasons – firstly it means projects can be tackled that are larger than any one country could tackle alone and secondly it means that the competition is higher, meaning the funds have a tendency to favour brighter brains. We simply won’t get our fair share of the EU pie if we don’t help to bake it.
  5. The projects: Very similar to the above, but think of CERN, think of the ESA. These are amazing organisations. I recently met one of the most intelligent people I have ever met in my life, who has a role working for a project backed by the ESA to try and give access to developing countries to data from space. It’s amazing, collaborative and forward thinking – and something of which I am immensely proud. We must make sure we are included in all endeavours of CERN and the ES, they are vital to our existence.We cannot expect to be given the preferential treatment in these projects that we would get if we were a home scientist – and that is what we are in the EU, we are home scientists even when the project is elsewhere.
  6. Homo sapien: That’s what you are – it means “thinking man”, an arrogant and slightly sexist proclamation but the point is our brains set us aside from the apes. We have this wonderful gift of thinking – and more specifically pattern recognition. Human spots pattern, human explains pattern. Honestly that is all science is, it is how for example Halley worked out that it was the same comet seen at regular intervals, not different ones. This has been repeated over and over again in history, it is an undeniable fact. So why, when it comes to our history do we ignore this? Time and time again it has been proven that the only way to prosper is together. It breaks my heart the amount of suffering and difficulty there is in the world, and the EU is the best example of a project to bring good to the lives of people that transcends countries. Human spots a pattern that works – human applies it. Homo sapien.

So my friends, we come to an end. I could go on and on – this is a very emotive subject for me but I shall not. If you haven’t realised by now why it is so important to stay together then sadly you may never. I just hope that you will join with me and vote for the EU on the 23 of June, for the good of us and all the homo sapiens of the future.


30 responses to “Six scientific reasons to remain

    • I would agree that good minds do always relate – that was what i was getting at when I was saying it is not the only way, we do a huge amount of work with the USA. What I do feel however is that being a part of the European Union makes things easier – and when you are trying to unlock the secrets of matter that is totally invisible and neither absorbs or emits any light, you need to take every little bit of help you can get!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I completely agree …I am not a scientist but appreciate it …I however, dislike any kind of ‘barrier’ ….we are in the 21st century and should be moving ( and pretty fast in my view) toward the world as an interrelating whole and not shrinking back to narrow minded nationalism:)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you very much – and you are a scientist! You need one qualification to be a scientist – and that is interest. I hope you are right and that the world marches on together, it is what i want the most

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great post. Love this quote: “the only way to prosper is together”. One way to distill the whole debate is into a “Them vs Us” or “Us” discussion. I think the best approach is to all be “Us”, working together to improve the things we don’t think work very well. I vote In.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for you comment and I am so pleased to hear your support for a cause so close to my heart. I could not agree with it more – behind all the falsities and arguments, it really is just down to viewing ourselves as one collection of people working for a common good

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Love the positive vibes that this post created. Since we are all essentially the same stuff, seems silly to let other considerations keep us from doing good. Amazing stuff, Joseph!


    • Thank you very much and I think that the scientific case is the most positive there is; there are clear positive benefits to be had in the future. The economic argument can focus around stopping bad things happening, which whilst important can seem a little gloomy. Thanks for stopping by


  4. Before anyone votes Remain you should educate yourselves about the Kalergi Plan, something so horrific it makes Mein Kampf seem like a nursery rhyme ! Google it and see what was always planned for Europe. Here’s an extract:
    “In his book «Praktischer Idealismus», Kalergi explains that the citizens of the future “United States of Europe” will not be the people of the Old Continent, but a new mixed breed, the products of thorough and widespread miscegenation. He states that the peoples of Europe should interbreed with Asians and other non-White races, to create a multiracial population, with not clear sense of tradition or identity and therefore easily controlled by the ruling elite.

    Kalergi proclaims the need to abolish the right of nations to self-determination and outlines the break-up of nation states through the use of ethnic separatist movements and the destruction of the nations themselves through mass migration. In order for Europe to be easily controlled by the future elite, Kalergi proposes the creation of a homogeneous mixed breed population, and as to who should be the new elite? Kalergi is particularly illuminating on this point”
    And before anyone from the US comments, would YOU vote to enter a homogenised state with Canada, Mexico, Panama? Single currency? Open borders? Thought not!


    • I feel like I this comment has decended into illogical insanity. I already know what this is and it is totally not what is on the table. Do we have Kalergi’s Europe? No. Is anyone suggesting it? Just you. Is this relevant to the referendum? No. You have gone through this wild journey of fantasy – where you quote historical figures of little relevance to get to your final point – you don’t like open borders. That’s okay, I can’t make you like open borders, I just dream of living in a world where people have the opportunities that I have had – to prosper in a large common market with first class research opportunities. Do I think it is worth having extra people in this country? Of course I do – this country is great, the diversity makes it strongest – and I note that London, my home town feels the strain on services of migration the hardest, and guess what? We want to remain.

      This is why me, and many others will be voting to remain on the 23rd – for ourselves and for the future. I believe in Britain of course, but principally I believe in mankind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You make too many assumptions about me, and you resort to personal comments about my going through a world of fantasy. I seek balance and put forward something so horrific as to be unbelievable, but Kalergi DID write that plan. Some of us are also fed up with Americans urging us to do something they would never do themselves, and I stated this because some of your respondents seem to be from the US.
        I believe in mankind too, I believe in my country too having served it. So once again, don’t make so many assumptions.


      • He did write that yes – and like you stated Hitler wrote Mein Kampf. But that is not what we are voting for and it is not what we exist in. So to introduce something into a debate about a referendum which is not pertinent to the referendum itself is fantasy. I mean how could a man who died many years ago who nobody accepts as having good views on the world be an argument to vote either way?

        Horrific – yes, but not relevant.

        America are giving us advice – one way to look at it is that it is annoying, but another way to look at it is they don’t need to give us advice. We don’t have to take it but I would love to hear what the US thinks. America is an interesting but very different issue – they essentially live in a union given the vast differences between their states. They are also large enough not to need access to certain things at an EU level.

        When you love a person, it means you will do things to help them even if it makes your life a little harder. Love for your country is the same. We won’t descend into the dark ages if we leave, but the economy will retract and the opportunities, particularly scientific ones will be less. We must not risk that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It is relevant because a number of things Kalergi wrote have come to pass, especially homogenisation of culture, single parliament, to name but two. The US advice is tosh coming from people who would not buy into what they are telling us to do. Having 50+ states is not the same as having a common government and law making entity with other countries. There are so many false or unknown assertions made by both sides: house prices will fall being good or bad depending on whether you own one or not, interest rates will rise being good or bad depending whether you have savings or a mortgage, etc etc. There are only 3 big issues I care about, sovereignty, democracy, law. All else flows from this, including the right to determine fishing policy, agriculture policy, deportation, right of entry, border security, for ourselves rather than by an EU commission or government. Will the economy retract and scientific opportunity reduce? No idea, just as much as I have no idea who will win the next Ryder cup or Football premiership. But I DO know this, that if the prime minister had got a decent level of reform agreed I would have voted Remain. But he didn’t so my immigrant wife and I are voting Leave.


      • Comments like this make me deeply sad because it really highlights the fact that mankind is its own worst enemy. If you don’t know if the economy will retract that’s fair, I studied economics for three years and university and didn’t scratch the surface it’s complex – but I understand markets and I know the people who do know. Scientific opportunity? That is an absolute no brainer. There is a virtually unanimous feeling through the entire university and scientific communities.

        What you want is the right to be able to say you decided those laws yourself – no matter how much worse that makes the country. We can all sit back in our little island looking inwards, saying although our economy is now smaller, our children have fewer opportunities and we have left one of the greatest political unions ever formed – we have changed our fishing policies.

        There is a reason the younger generation unanimously want to stay and it is because they really don’t want you to roll the dice with their future. They want a European Union with Britain.

        Why do all scholars want to vote in? They have studied history, they have seen scientific advancement and they have a perfect understanding of what this country needs to do.

        Perhaps your mind won’t be changed – but I feel like I am talking to a remainer at heart, who has been influenced by all the bad sentiment in the media.


      • Still too many assumptions: “all scholars vote in” “a perfect understanding ” “virtually unanimous feeling ” “people who know” ? Your tone is also still condescending towards me with this remark “What you want is the right to be able to say you decided those laws yourself – no matter how much worse that makes the country”. That is pure arrogance.


  5. Pingback: A statement on the advancement of science | Rationalising The Universe·

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