I worry that to promote science as all fun and larky and easy is to store up trouble for the future. Real science can be hard (well, challenging, to give it a more positive spin) but, like classical literature or playing the violin, worth the struggle. If children are lured into science, or any other worthwhile occupation, by the promise of easy fun, what are they going to do when they finally have to confront the reality? Recruiting advertisements for the army rightly don’t promise a picnic: they seek young people dedicated enough to stand the pace. ‘Fun’ sends the wrong signals and might attract people to science for the wrong reasons. Literary scholarship is in danger of becoming similarly undermined. Idle students are seduced into a debased ‘Cultural Studies’, on the promise that they will spend their time deconstructing soap operas, tabloid princesses and Tellytubbies. Science, like proper literary studies, can be hard and challenging but science is — also like proper literary studies — wonderful. Science can pay its way but, like great art, it shouldn’t have to. And we shouldn’t need whacky personalities and fun explosions to persuade us of the value of a life spent finding out why we have life in the first place.
Dawkins, Richard. Unweaving the Rainbow. London: Penguin Books, 2006. pp. 22–23.