SCIENCE-WHO NEEDS IT? by Ben Bova

SCIENCE-WHO NEEDS IT?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A ridiculously simplistic apology for science and technology. Bova sets up a straw idiot who cries "get rid of science and technology" and "stop research" (anti-science spokesmen "cry" and "blame" here, while scientists and engineers "point out"), then mows him down by reminding us that no one would want to live without fire like homo erectus. . . or even caked with grime and dying like the gentle Tasaday. And that though some here seek a return to medieval subsistence farming, those in India and elsewhere who do live that way are striving to enter the 20th century. (He doesn't assess the prospects for human survival after everyone gets there.) It is science and technology, Bova goes on, that eliminated slavery and brought wealth which made workers' lives richer. As for scientists making the atom bomb, "nuclear science has saved more lives than it has taken" and its second generation promise is endless. Further, "if Frankenstein really existed, his knowledge would be used to help sick people. . . so scientists are really on our side"--and, in fact, it is their unheralded work that has caused the U.S. and Soviet Russia to head in the direction of a "safer and saner" world. (?) Because Bova never faces the hard questions--preferring to answer stupid ones like "if you scientists really believe in evolution why do you call it a theory"--he won't win over any thoughtful humanities types who have serious reservations about the long run benefits of runaway technology. And as for those others who are taking up the occult: If it is simultaneously likely that they (a) pose a threat to the rule of reason and (b) are open to persuasion by reason, then a serious, point-by-point investigation such as Gallant's Astrology (KR, 1974) should be more convincing.
Pub Date: April 1st, 1975
ISBN: 0664325572
Page count: 123pp
Publisher: Westminster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1975




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