Thursday, December 10, 2020

Science And Magic

While science and technology play critical roles in sustaining modern civilization, they are not part of our culture in the sense that they are not commonly studied or well comprehended.  Neither the potential nor the limitations of science are understood so that what can be achieved and what is beyond reach are not comprehended.  The line between science and magic becomes blurred so that public judgements on technical issues can be erratic or badly flawed.  It frequently appears that some people will believe almost anything.  Thus judgements can be manipulated or warped by unscrupulous groups.  Distortions or outright falsehoods can come to be accepted as fact.

-- Henry Way Kendall (1926 - 1999), American particle physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1990 jointly with Jerome Isaac Friedman and Richard E. Taylor, A Distant Light : Scientists and Public Policy (2000) Introduction, p. 4

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