Horowitz's center

Sam Pawlett epawlett at uniserve.com
Tue Mar 9 18:48:24 PST 1999

Carl Remick wrote:

> Too often, it seems, this process winds up sacrificing *others.* On the
> one hand, you have Marie Curie walking around with radium in her pocket,
> thoroughly irradiating herself. On the other hand, you have Hiroshima.
> Carl Remick

It depends on who controls the experimentation and in what in aim the research is being done. In capitalism, scientific research is carried out in the name of profit often with the funding of large corporations. Technology is neutral one sense viz. a hammer can be used to build a house or to bash someone's skull in. Scientific research is imbued with ideology. My favorite example comes from David Noble _Progress Without People_. An excellent antidote to the notion that technological progress is synonomous with social progress.

"Suppose that an engineer decides to make a birthday present for his girlfriend. Since he is a mechanical engineer, he sets about to do what he does best, to build a machine. As her birthday approaches, he works day and night night desinging and perfecting this machine, which he hopes embody the highest achievements of his art. Finally the birthday arrives and he presents the gift as a sign of his devotion, with a red ribbon tied around it 'Happy birthday darling' he says proudly pointing to his elegant creation. 'this is the most perfect machine I have ever designed. It is so perfect in fact that it can be operated by a idiot" His girlfriend is taken aback and thier friendship is suddenly in doubt. Looking at him askance, she forcefully reminds him that she is not an idiot and demands that he return to his laboratory to redesign the machine for someone like her who is not an idiot" p80-1.

Sam Pawlett

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