En la antología The Best American Science Writing 2002 Matt Ridley, el seleccionador de este año y autor de Genoma, se descuelga en la introducción con una encendida defensa de la ignorancia:
This may alarm those who prefer certainty, but it is meat and drink to science writers. The fuel on which science runs is ignorance and mistery. Go into a modern laboratory, ask the men and women in white coats what excites them and you will be given a list of enigmas and mysteries, not a catalogue of facts. They are as bored as the next person by what is already known. A known fact? Stack it on the shelf and feed it to the students.
¿Y qué pasa con la divulgación científica?
This is a truth that escaped many science writers until quite recently. They thought their job was to take the reader through a catalog of the known facts. But that’s called education and nobody does it for fun. Nowadays -since Dawkins, Hawking, Gleick, and Pinker- science writing is different; it takes the reader to the brink of the abyss of ignorance, waves its hand in the air, and cries: «One day, all this could be yours.»
Y ofrece una comparación sorprendente:
In this narrow sense, good science writing almost has more in common with books about telepathy and the pyramids than with student textbooks. It is about the occult -the hidden. But unlike pseudoscience, or science fiction for that matter, these are new mysteries, undreamt of in our philosophy.
Reflexionando personalmente sobre lo que me gusta en un libro de ciencia, la verdad es que no le falta razón.
[Estoy escuchando: Dirty Mind de Jeff Beck en el disco You Had It Coming (03:50)]