H.G. Wells vs George Orwell: Can science save us?
|January 3, 2018||Posted by News under Culture, Intelligent Design, Science|
From Richard Gunderman at The Conversation:
Wells, one of the founders of science fiction, was a staunch believer in science’s potential. Orwell, on the other hand, cast a much more skeptical eye on science, pointing to its limitations as a guide to human affairs.
Wells’ enthusiasm for science had political implications. Having contemplated in his novels the self-destruction of mankind, Wells believed that humanity’s best hope lay in the creation of a single world government overseen by scientists and engineers. Human beings, he argued, need to set aside religion and nationalism and put their faith in the power of scientifically trained, rational experts.
Orwell was not bashful about criticizing the scientific and political views of his friend Wells. In “What is Science?” he described Wells’ enthusiasm for scientific education as misplaced, in part because it rested on the assumption that the young should be taught more about radioactivity or the stars, rather than how to “think more exactly.”
Orwell also rejected Wells’ notion that scientific training rendered a person’s approach to all subjects more intelligent than someone who lacked it. Such widely held views, Orwell argued, led naturally to the assumption that the world would be a better place, if only “the scientists were in control of it,” a notion he roundly rejected. More.
Neither of them lived to see the scandals engulfing science today, in terms of the corruption of peer review, for example. A better question now would be Can science save itself?
See also: Can the rot of naturalism be stopped? Relating information to matter and energy might help