A former colleague, the recently-qualified Dr. Perrett, is sensibly taking a break from laboratory laboriousness, departing for eight months of burnout-avoidance travelling. I’m envious: while the time will simultaneously stand still and speed by for those of us who have allowed circumstances to shackle us to the proverbial white coal face, its tempo will, for her, undergo Doppler-like distortions, as she takes in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Argentina, Peru, Brazil and more.
The other morning I caught Anne Atkins’s pro-scientific, but drivelled ‘Thought for the (bloody) Day’, in which she pronounced, in that presumptuous Christian way, “We’re put on this earth as stewards… .” For pity’s sake! The planet was looking after itself perfectly okay until our brains became too big for our genitals. And it will get along just fine for a good while after we’ve ceased to care as a species. Unless we somehow manage to disrupt the smooth running of the gravitational motor, as in the plot basis of one of my favourite (science fiction) films The Day the Earth Caught Fire (a low budget, dialogue-driven classic made in the early sixties when the Cold War fear of nuclear Armageddon predominated, and which worked by being atypically devoid of scientist stereotypes; its protagonists are journalists.)
What Atkins means, presumably, is looking after the planet for us. But a very pro-scientific ‘Tft-b-D’ is nevertheless objectionable when it implies that science is Christianity’s Eden-tilling tool. Perhaps this is an antidote to science’s revealing of things about the amoral world, things which make us uncomfortable – including some of the effects of our ‘stewardship’.
Still worth seeing, though; if you have the opportunity. Good for you, Dr. Perrett. Enjoy.