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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Science | Ignorance is the opposite of bliss

How easy is it to stalk someone via cell phone? Too easy.--pseudolus
Ben Goldacre
Saturday January 28, 2006
The Guardian

I spend a lot of my time wondering: why are people so afraid of science, when it has given us so much? To my mind there are two answers: firstly, the everyday science that you learned at school is no longer enough to understand the world around you. Fifty years ago, a fairly well educated person could easily have a full understanding of how the technology they interacted with actually worked: you could explain a car, a wind-up record player, a fridge, or the old analogue telephone exchange network, for example, on the back of an envelope, or with the help of a science teacher, pretty quickly.
But that's not true any more. Look around you. Do you really, fully understand your mobile phone? The braking system on your car? Where your breakfast came from? Or even the manufacturing process that produced this bit of newspaper? My guess is no. Any sufficiently advanced technology, as they say, is indistinguishable from magic, and these days, with the pace of new developments, that goes even for people who know a lot about science. And that's spooky. We don't like that, either intellectually, or in our gut.


Blogger Master of Disaster said...

It's not so much science as technology that scares people as you say. We are advancing at such a rapid rate that it is hard to keep up. I think self-education is the key to keep from being intimidated.

1/31/2006 7:37 PM  
Blogger pseudolus said...

Yes, the author is using science/technology interchangeably. There is a difference, but for the purpose of the article it is a minimal difference. His point is right as far as I can see, most people today won't or don't follow science/technology very closely. Especially People who had difficulty with it in school. It is far easier to just shrug it off or appeal to religion/faith instead.

1/31/2006 7:55 PM  

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