The Influence of Science


    THE great advances of science in recent times, and the countless applications of its discoveries, have led many people to regard it as concerned only with purely materialistic things, and to forget its moral and intellectual influence. In their view science is associated with the transformation of beautiful countrysides into the slums of industrial centres, with high-explosive shells and clouds of poison gas to supersede the slings and arrows of earlier days. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, than to suppose that these debasing aspects of modern civilisation are necessary consequences of scientific progress. They are due to human greed and the same spirit of jealousy as that which led Cain to rise up and slay his brother. They are consequences of the fact that civilised man is little removed from a savage when his primitive instincts are concerned; and if he can acquire the strength of a giant from science he is prepared to use the power for his own purposes.

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    The Influence of Science. Nature 109, 801–803 (1922).

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