Book Sale

Saturday 8 October 2022

The Arrogance Of The Scientist

I recently wrote a piece on empire, in which I reflected on John C. Wright's novel, A City Beyond Time. I thought, since I'm taking some time off work, and I enjoyed reflecting on that book, over the next few weeks I might reflect on some of my favourite books from over the years, every other day. 

One of my favourite Novels of all time is Crichton's Jurassic Park. This is my own double volume copy. The entire Jurassic Park IP has been dumbed down, and bastardized so much over the years, that some people might be surprised I have chosen to start with such a book. But this book helped me explore some important things. 

Jurassic Park is not just an adventure book, though it is that. After all, a guy in the book shoots a rocket launcher at a Velocitaptor's leg. Which is pretty cool. But it is much more than just that. 

This book is an exploration, or a parable of the arrogance of man, and particularly scientists. Crichton, especially through the mathematician charater, Ian Malcom, explores the idea that modern scientists are like martial artists that got all their skill from studying videos of martial arts. They have learnt how to hurt people, but have learnt none of the disciplines that are meant to restrain people with such power. They know how to do great things, but they have not the wisdom to say, "We should not do this."

I read this book in highschool, and it was the first time I began to explore this concept of the arrogance of scientific advance. I am especially glad that this message was sowed in my life early, because it has become especially useful in the last two years. For obvious reasons. 

This book is a great adventure story and an interesting philosophical exploration of the dangers, not of science, but of the modern scientist. The fact that in the book mankind is driven from the Island by his own creations, is a warning: just because you can do something big, does not mean you should do it, because it might drive you to extinction. At the very least you might hurt a lot of people. 

How true is this message? 

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