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The academy called on other researchers and commentators for their small size.
Earlier this month, Avi Lebe, head of the Harvard University of Astronomy Department, drew great criticism and mockery for his paper, stating that a mysterious interstellar object called "Osumamaa" could be spacecraft. But Loeb does not retreat, he doubles.
Loeb recently sat down for a lengthy interview with the scientific edition Ars Technics, published on the website Thursday, defending science behind his findings. However, Lob turned the issue around, embarking on the offensive, suggesting that his critics reject their responsibility as academics and scientists, rather than taking risks and remaining modest.
Avi Lev, chairman of the Harvard Astronomy, speaking at the "Falling Walls" Foundation, November 26, 2018
"I find that I am a scientist as a great privilege to maintain children's curiosity, because the children ask questions. They are not afraid to be wrong," Rob Reed of Ars Technika said. "Somehow, when they become adults, adults lose that inner feeling, which includes scientists." Many of my colleagues are unwilling to risk. It must not be wrong, and this is a problem, because sometimes we simply do not know in advance, what is right and what is wrong. We must take the risk to make discoveries, because what I want to understand is what is Omoomoa. For this purpose it does not matter how popular the idea is against the other on Twitter. That's what it is, and we want to find out. "
Loeb said he did not think that people had advanced much of Galileo's time when scientists were persecuted to talk against the established facts about the universe.
"Many people think they know the answer in advance," he said. "People still have a lot of prejudice about how the outcome of science should be, and they want to see that answer."
"We need to stay modest," he stressed.
"The academic community has this concept of mandate, where one has a faculty position for life, [irrespective] from what's happening, okay? As long as that person does not commit a crime. It is a great privilege. It is a privilege to follow the idea of where they lead you without worrying about what others think. However, many practitioners in the academy do not use that privilege. Once they reach the position of a mandate, they take care of their image and what is wrong. With this, they give up the purpose of their profession. The mandate process is designed to give you the freedom to come up with your own conclusions, and therefore, if people have a problem with this idea, they should come up with a specific alternative interpretation of the additional pressure that "Omoomoa" has, rather than calling names or saying things without a scientific context. "
Loeb said he thought the public would be interested and would benefit from a sincere debate on controversial issues among scientists. He accused his fellow scientists of avoiding topics that the public is interested in linking with simplicity and plebian attitudes that are not worth exploring.
"I say:" Who cares about what people say? Nature is what is nature. "I try to understand it, and if it happens to be alien civilizations, and people are very excited about it, it's great. If that happens to be the nature of dark matter and people are not caring for it … I want to understand nature and I think that nature is always beautiful, the only thing that can be ugly is man, "Loeb said.
"One of the reasons for the exploration of space is that you can see the nature left by itself. But if you go to the beach, and I want to do it on vacation with my daughters, and you will see the schools that were busy on the shore , see all kinds of shells that come from different backgrounds, and every now and then, you see a plastic bottle that comes from an artificial origin. "
"I think the same approach needs to be adjusted in the context of looking at all the interstellar objects arriving at our door and examining each one. Even if" Osumaya is naturally of origin ".
"First, we are learning about a completely different process that makes these strange classes of objects with much greater abundance than we ever expected. But in an interesting case, we could learn about another civilization and without prejudice we only collect data about the universe," Loeb said .