Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The Seduction of Science

Following on from yesterday's post on the Pope's comments on Science and morality. He said: "In an age when scientific developments attract and seduce with the possibilities they offer, it's more important than ever to educate our contemporaries' consciences so that science does not become the criteria for goodness."
I've been thinking about this all day and more things have occured to me.
First, while I don't think "seductive" is the right word for it, I definitely think science is cool. Whenever I read news reports on the latest technologies I always go "wow! cool!" For example: The latest stuff on artificial limbs, like this, this and this. How about the story this week about the girl whose body changed blood group after a liver transplant?
And that's just medicine technology. Googled in 2 minutes. It is very, VERY cool. But seductive? No. I just can't get horny over science, the lab coats and goggles just don't do it for me! (Yes I know that's not what the Pope meant)
It's not the science that does the seducing. Science doesn't give a monkey's butt. Science is amoral. I don't think scientists leap about rubbing their hands in glee at each brakthrough, celebrating yet another pull on societies moral compass.
It's marketing that does the seducing. the technology that has driven the miniturisation of circuits and the whole mp3 thing, touch sensitive screens and stuff is not seductive, but the iPhone is.

From Filibuster Cartoons
He also said "no science can say who man is, where he comes from or where he is going" And that has been bugging me too, because science does say those things. Abiogenesis, The Big Bang, Evolution. All theories that propose sensible solutions for who, why and where and how.
If the Pope is bitching because science doesn't address moral or spiritual issues then he has a serious misunderstanding of what sciense is and what it does.
If he is worried about the misapplication of scientific discoveries: Nuclear weapons, chemical contraception, Zylon-B etc well, that's a different debate.

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