Race and Democratic Society

Excerpt

Friends, fellow scientists:

Who among us, when trying to solve some theoretical problem, has not felt some time or other that his problems are puny and irrelevant when the whole world is aflame, when millions are dying by the sword, by bombs, by starvation? Who has not felt the irresistible urge to do his share in the defense of freedom, in the battle waged for saving our intellectual integrity from the domineering spirit that would fetter the freedom of thought by subjecting it to the control of prescribed opinion? It is right that we should search our hearts and decide whether it is our duty to lay aside our studies for the time being and enter heart and soul the battle for democracy and intellectual freedom. It seems to me that there is only one possible answer to this question. We cannot give up our work as scientists without irreparable damage to our culture, no matter how remote our subject may be from the urgent, practical needs of our time. The ice-cold flame of the passion for seeking the truth for truth's sake must be kept burning, and can be kept alive only if we continue to seek the truth for truth's sake.

But a new duty arises. No longer can we keep the search

International broadcast over National Broadcasting Company networks, September 27, 1941, during International Conference on Science and the World Order of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1945

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