While science, specifically scientific research, is a study area where facts and findings allegedly rule over emotion, emotion and motivation still play a major. There is no scientific research without funding, and while many researchers state that they are researching a specific topic solely for the “potential benefits to mankind”, the underlying, deciding factor for choosing what experiments to run is what experiment will get results that can be published in a major journal, which will lead to more grant funding.
This truth has raised a lot of controversy about scientific research. If people are only researching what will get them the most money then isn’t scientific research selfish?
No. Sure there may be some areas of research that are neglected because there is no funding to back that, but researchers do not get paid enough to consider their work “only for the money.” With all the negative connotations associated with being a researcher, ranging from being a nerd to being a machine, there are many other lucrative fields to pursue for those with the drive to do research.
Luckily for mankind, many of the areas of research that generate a lot of funding are areas which do benefit people. Of course there is research being conducted for seemingly shallow reasons (i.e plastic surgery), but even aesthetic scientific research can help save and better lives (burn victims, car crash victims, birth defects, etc). Then there is research that may or may not benefit people such as stem cell research. While it seems promising, stem cell research still could be a dead end. However large advances have been made in the past few decades that make stem cell research an area worth investing research money into.
Whether it is for selfish reasons or not, the pros of continuing scientific research outweigh the cons, so why not keep going?