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European Science and a Covid-19 Vaccine

May 15, 2020

Today’s White House “Rose Garden” press conference at which President Trump announced a massive industrial/military approach to the discovery and distribution of a vaccine for Coronavirus should be taken with a grain of salt.

Massive investments in teams of researchers tasked to make important scientific discoveries tend to ignore two principles:

1) “Science” was discovered by Europeans and is not easily transported from Europe to other cultures and

2) “Teams” of researchers are often beaten by isolated, ambitious, scientists working in isolated environs. Teams of researchers simply go about their work systematically, not intuitively as one or two scientists work.

As evidence I point to this history of the discovery of the genetic code by Watson and Crick and to my 1978 Development of Political Theory in which I discuss Michael Polanyi’s insights on “science.”

Good luck, Mr. President, but you cannot order a military/industrial solution to a complex scientific puzzle by throwing money at it.

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