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Wisdom from Jacob Bronowki

I know I've posted this video before, but since I've recently received a couple of emails suggesting that I post it I will. It's certainly worth viewing again for those who have already seen it.


(tip to John and one other whose name I've misplaced.)

 

Comments

Thanks for that, i'm going to quote this in a paper i'm writing on eugenics and its inevitability

Well Max, that is an interesting thought, and sadly, you may be right. Though the form of Eugenics would likely not be selective breeding, but selective weeding (using science).

If you could study the genes of your unborn infant, and find all possible negative traits, and abortion was legal... does that not equal the same rough result?

Does an amnio test for Down Syndrome do this now?

what's with you and the agitprop? i know this is a real issue, but isn't there a better source? this is transparantly manipulative. and it has nothing to do with gov't ordered eugenics, rather with social pressure/psychology in china. i get it, 1 kid=boy or nothing. it's horrible, but not what eugenics is about. more like pharoh's edict in ancient egypt against male israelite births. certainly awful- but not eugenics. eugenics is much more sinister. "this kid will be a mouth breather. kill him."

I guess if you ignore which ethnic groups are more likely to have large families, you'd be right.

So what is your conclusion?

At some point we will need to counter overpopulation if some future evolution of swine flu doesn't do it for us. Anything other than education will no doubt lead to inequities.

Allow third world countries to prosper economically. People with economic security tend not feel the need to have large families to take care of them in their old age. Also, we could run advertisements encouraging people who are worried about overpopulation to commit suicide.

Allow third world countries to prosper economically. People with economic security tend not feel the need to have large families to take care of them in their old age.

While it's true that economically well off countries have smaller family sizes one only need live in Utah to realize that economics is not the only factor in family size.

I haven't looked, but suspect that less religious countries have fewer children than more religious countries.

I wonder which factor plays the larger role.

bronowski was a great, great man, a huge influence on me. this is probably his greatest moment on film, and i never tire of it. i think it should be played in a loop for sleeping politicians and world leaders, zapped into their brains so they'll, finally, GET IT.

bronowski, of course, would disagree, would say that my suggestion is too facistic or orwellian or machiavellian or...whatever.

i loved that man. maybe like some of you younger folks love sagan, or feynmann. we'll not see his like again anytime soon.

max: the inevitability of eugenics...how about you leading your (young) generation toward making sure it doesn't happen.

Just to play devil's advocate here (and certainly not to accuse Bronowki of a lack of sincerity), does faith in science not also require an EXPLICIT self-reflection on its limitations and on the dangers of its instrumental logic trumping moral concerns?

This concern was raised by Max Horkheimer and Theodore Adorno in their monumental philosophical work The Dialectic of Enlightenment. Their main concern in this work was the observation that in an age of mechanical reproduction, Enlightenment reverts to myth and myth to Enlightenment. What they meant by this was that myth is really an older form of science (the attempt to manipulate and control causal laws through presumed mechanisms of cause and effect), and that new scientific laws, stripped of their original context and used in the service of efficient production, can also mystify us and become revered as non-rational entities that we obey without any sort of reflective thinking.

Certainly, education in scientific thought is crucial (as evidenced most pointedly right now by climate change deniers), though so is critique of science and how it can be used to mystify instead of enlighten. On the other side of the Enlightenment coin is the hope of a moral/ethical evolution--a hope that has often been brushed under the carpet in the service of instrumental, means-ends thinking.

does faith in science not also require an EXPLICIT self-reflection on its limitations and on the dangers of its instrumental logic trumping moral concerns?

i don't know that it's a requirement. i think it's more correct to say that people who have faith in morality have a requirement to bring up the issue regardless of the other things they have faith in. as far as science goes, brownowski wrote a whole (excellent) book on the subject, called something like "science and human values". vonnegut made a huge deal about it in his works, and it's not like the issue has been swept under the carpet. it's just money makes people (scientists) forget the important stuff. we all neede to be reminded.

first paragraph above is a quote from satinsheeds, forgot to do the "quote" thing.

Satinsheeds: " does faith in science not also require an EXPLICIT self-reflection "

Leaving aside that confidence in science is not "faith", doesn't Bronowski explicitly say exactly that self reflection is necessary when quoting Cromwell?

Or are you watching some other clip that is not part of this discussion?

I'm not sure what the rest of your comment is supposed to mean but statements like "Enlightenment reverts to myth and myth to Enlightenment." are sophomoric.

And the second part about myth reverting to enlightenment belongs in a Carlos Castenada novel. If Adorno ever said anything like that, then the man who tortured the world with something as sterile as the 32 tone musical scale was even more of a nit than I thought.

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