La ciencia debe sanarse a sí misma

NUEVA YORK – Es muy posible que la ciencia sea el mayor logro del ser humano como especie. Gracias a la revolución científica que comenzara en el siglo diecisiete, hoy disfrutamos de comunicación instantánea, veloces sistemas de transporte, una dieta rica y diversa, y la prevención y tratamiento eficaces de enfermedades que en el pasado eran letales. Más aún, la ciencia es la mejor apuesta de la humanidad para dar respuesta a problemas que ponen en riesgo nuestra propia existencia, como el cambio climático, los nuevos patógenos, los bólidos extraterrestres y la explosión demográfica.

Sin embargo, se encuentra amenazada por fuerzas tanto externas como internas. Para abordarlas, hoy la comunidad científica debe utilizar su capacidad de autocorrección, basándose en nuevos hallazgos, experiencias, ideas e información (es decir, lo que por siglos ha caracterizado su progreso).

Un gran impedimento para el avance científico es la cada vez mayor escasez de fondos de investigación, tendencia agravada por la crisis económica global. La incertidumbre sobre las perspectivas de financiación no solo hace que los científicos prefieran no seguir líneas de investigación osadas o con poco respaldo que quizás llevaran a descubrimientos de importancia; también hace más difícil que las personas más brillantes decidan seguir una carrera científica, especialmente si se considera el alto nivel de formación y especialización que ello requiere.

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