There is no getting past the popularity of Professor Brian Cox, who currently holds a Guinness World Record for having the most tickets ever sold for science tours. With his fame comes great responsibility, he believes, which is why he is very vocal about subjects like Donald Trump, the state of the world today, and the future of the human race.
As the president of the United States, Donald Trump’s avowed disbelief in global warming has astonished the scientific community. Trump has stated that the idea of global warming was something that was concocted by the Chinese so that U.S. manufacturing would cease to be competitive and has also said that he believes in “clean air, immaculate air. But I don’t believe in climate change,” according to a rather long list of quotes compiled on the subject by CNN.
Trump has also spoken about how alarming it is that he shouldn’t be using hairspray, an idea which baffles Brian Cox, as Wired report.
“I saw some rally where he was talking about his favorite hairspray and berating scientists who told him that by spraying out of the can you could have an impact on the atmosphere. And he told the gathered throngs of supporters, ‘Come on folks if the windows are closed how can you possibly have any impact on anything outside of your own space, your own apartment?’ Such a deep fundamental…and of course the crowd cheered. And to watch this.”
When Professor Brian Cox was asked what he would personally say to Donald Trump if he was given the opportunity, Cox replied that Trump needs to take a lesson from science and learn about humility and the importance of being wrong.
“‘You haven’t learnt yet and there’s still time. You haven’t learnt humility and humility is the key to wisdom, the road to wisdom.’ That’s what you learn when you are a professional scientist.”
Brian Cox suggested that studying science makes people very humble and that humility is something which should be taught quite early at school, especially for anybody contemplating a future in politics. Cox further asserts that when you’re a scientist, you find that you are often wrong and that this is helpful when it comes to keeping your mind open and not clinging to opinions.
“Understanding what science is, understanding what it’s not, is a very humble pursuit. It’s the process by which you understand nature. As a professional scientist you’re usually wrong and you try things out and you change your view immediately when some new evidence comes in that contradicts your view. It runs against many of the feelings that we have about our opinion or the value of our opinion.”
In the 1920’s people were worried about global cooling–it never happened. Now it’s global warming. Give me a break!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 4, 2012
When it comes to the subject of alien life lurking somewhere out there in the vastness of space, Professor Brian Cox believes that it almost certainly exists. Of course, whether this alien life is simply microbial or something greater is something only the future will show.
“I think the chances of detecting microbial life beyond Earth are high. If we went to Europa and went to Enceladus and went to Mars and had a good look, I wouldn’t be surprised if in one or more of those places you find microbes. But whether that life becomes multicellular and ultimately intelligent is an entirely different question.”
Cox believes that it is of supreme importance that humans challenge the idea that we are alone in the universe and embrace the thought of life beyond Earth.
“You have to have a population that’s able to process the idea that we’re not alone in the universe. To many of us, that would be a profound realization. The more of us that find that profound, the better the world will be. If most of the population of the Earth doesn’t think that’s important, then we are in a mess.”
Despite any chaos and turmoil that we may find ourselves in today, politically or otherwise, Brian Cox remains hopeful and cautiously optimistic that humans will find their way out of today’s anti-science movement. The idea that global warming isn’t a reality of life today and that the average person’s opinion is somehow more profound and important than those who are dedicating their lives to science is one which must stop if the human species will survive. In Cox’s professional opinion, we have about 20 to 30 years to really address this anti-science situation.
“You mention climate change. The problem is we’ve ended up with an anti-science movement which is quite vocal at the same time that we have to actually act on a short timescale. If we had 20 or 30 years to act, I would be confident that the thing would burn itself out.”
How important are the coming decades when it comes to backing out of the situation we are in right now? Extremely important, according to Professor Brian Cox. In fact, it is imperative that we change our way of thinking immediately if the human race is meant to survive.
“Whether it’s going to burn itself out fast enough to not cause severe consequences in the next 50 years or so is another question. We stand at a crossroads where we are about to become a truly multi-planetary civilization and it will happen within the next 100 years or so, unless we cause ourselves a drastic problem or face a drastic problem. We’re almost at the point where I become optimistic about the survival of the human race if we can get through the next decade or two.”
If you’re concerned about the future, it’s wise to heed the words of Brian Cox and other scientists around the world who are currently working hard to ensure that the human race has a long and prosperous future ahead of it.