A few skeptical thoughts about our understanding and use of technology:

I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

  1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way that the world works.
  2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
  3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

Douglas Adams.

Does this apply to you? Even though I’m a scientist, I regret to say that it applies rather too well to me. Perhaps that’s why I prefer the radio to television.

We’ve arranged a global civilization in which the most crucial elements – transportation, communications, and other industries; agriculture, medicine, entertainment, protecting the environment; and even the key democratic institution of voting – profoundly depend on science and technology.

We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.

Carl Sagan

Sagan encapsulates the reason why I and my fellow science communicators work so hard to try to get science into our primary schools, into our minds, and into our way of life. If you feel the same way, why not join the effort?

… an entire political antitechnological left is emerging … It is still restrained by a web of logic that points out that without the factories there are no jobs or standard of living. But there are human forces stronger than logic. There always have been, and if they become strong enough in their hatred of technology the web can break.

            Robert M. Pirsig “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. Black Swan edition (1989) p. 26.

Sadly, the antitechnology/antiscience movement seems to be growing ever stronger.

Save energy – fart into a jar

            Australian roadside sign

No comment needed.


Share This