Toward of Philosophy of Science and Technology

Anonymous
LIS 296A (Sec 4)
Dec. 20, 1993

NOTICE

Something is wrong. In past fifty years we've witnessed an explosion of technological advances that has precipitated rapid changes in all forms of communication and social structures, the transportation of human life to the moon and the recreation of it in earthly test tubes, and the elevation of the status of science to nearly that of religion. Yet, despite the never slackening pace of scientific efforts to gain command over nature, for the past decade the quality of life for most people in the United States has been in steady decline.

Now, in what appears to be the most spectacular effort to date to win the war on death and disease, a multi-billion dollar project has been launched by the U.S. government. The U.S. Human Genome Project, a project co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has assigned itself the awesome task of mapping the entire genetic structure of the human being (in cooperation with similar teams in western Europe)[1]. This ambitious project, initially conceived in the 1950s but only officially underway since 1990, has grown to immense proportions in the past three years, sweeping hundreds of millions of dollars, thousands of research scientists, engineers, and technicians, and countless university laboratories and biotechnology firms into its orbit[2]. Thus far, its low profile has kept it out of the public eye and virtually free of its scrutiny. Left to its own logic, though, this 15-year project has the potential to replace the space programs of the past few decades as a giant vortex pulling precious resources away from other, perhaps worthier projects[3] .

The Human Genome Project maintains the highest goals for itself. In an article in the Los Angeles Times in late 1989, the most dazzling promises and earnest hopes were first unveiled--that the Genome Project could bring a cure for cancer[4] . Citing its potential to map the paths of disease and drugs, in a letter to the New York Times, former director James Watson claimed this genetic research would be beneficial to all people, no matter what their situation[5] .

The very existence of such a project would seem to suggest profound faith in science and technology. It is science's function to explain the world. Yet, besides a conundrum of ethical problems likely to emerge with the ability to predict an unborn infant's makeup and vulnerabilities, disturbing issues are already surfacing as insurance companies seek predictive genetic information on the health of their insured. Is there an informed public consensus for the U.S. Human Genome Project? Has sheer awe of the power and rationality of the manipulative techniques that can blueprint the human being short circuited our critical faculties?

In an immediate, day-to-day way, we are constantly confronted with decisions about investing in technology. Sit down next to a stranger these days--on a train, in a plane, at a bus stop--and start up a conversation. Chances are good that, after you discuss the wretchedness associated with drugs, crime, poverty, AIDS, declining education, broken families, and lousy transportation systems, you will discuss the dazzling technological innovations that are promising to transform home, school, business and social life. No one can escape either. The news and the streets are filled with the horrors, and new electronic gadgetry appear every time we blink. As those with means power up on the hope that more megahertz means more success and happiness, families and schools with fewer means scramble frantically for throw-away computers so their children won't be left behind.

Help or Hindrance?

Behind every such decision is an opinion about the nature of technology and some sense of the relationship between our advancing technologies and our ailing society. But isn't it the very essence of technology that with it we can alter nature and ease human burdens? The HGP would seem to be an example of that faith. Yet, while many people blithely or blindly support massive spending on scientific research efforts like the Genome Project, others suspect a causal link between the technologies and the problems, blaming the electronic technologies themselves for the ubiquitous social ills. In fact, a small but growing number of voices are sounding shrill doomsday predictions, blaming technology for everything from cancer to suicide, and predicting the implosion of modern society. Is this just cynicism, born of a computer savvy population which has just learned that machines don't mean we'll work less, but actually help us work more in the same amount of time? Or are we philosophically at sea, wondering at the nature of these all-absorbing trends and linking them, erroneously, out of fear and confusion?

In this paper I will review a sampling of the theories which address the nature of technology and our relation to it--three that I find inadequate and three that I find quite powerful. I will attempt to draw out the methodological and conceptual thread in what, in my view, are the most potent analyses, and try to apply them to what I view as the grandest distortion in the role and use of science and technology today, the Human Genome Project. My hope is that through this example, the complexity of the relationship of science and technology to each other and to society will be best illustrated.

Technology as Ruler: the Return of the Luddites?

In Questioning Technology: Tool, Toy, or Tyrant?, an anthology of articles and chapters from larger works, authors comment on the consequences of our technologically based society. The pieces presume a variety of social viewpoints, are uneven in their methodological rigor, and are sometimes difficult to follow. But together they form a part of a trend in social theory that reflects a growing "look what technology hath wrought" view. This body of theory has begun to filter into the public consciousness through books and radio talk shows as more and more of us attempt to grapple with the phenomenal growth of communications media. My sense is this theory is beginning to shape public consciousness in ways that are perhaps not as helpful as these authors would hope.

Michael Shallis, in an article titled "The Silicon Idol", builds his argument for the symbiotic relationship of technology and its users on the truism: "The interaction of man with his technologies has transformed the world and has transformed man"[6]. Shallis defines tools and techniques as extensions of natural senses and abilities, embodiments of human skills, reasoning, imagination, and a (subjective) view of the universe. But, he says, in the technology, intentions are reflected imperfectly and often change the world in unintended ways.

Shallis distinguishes between tools which extend human faculties, like the wheel or telescope, and those which reflect ideas and abstractions, like the clock and the computer. According to Shallis, the clock is an autonomous machine, reflecting an intellectual model of planetary motion in order to denote time, not an extension of human physical capacities. Similarly, the computer "models the notion of pure rationality, man's ideal view of his own intelligence"[7,] and its power comes from its autonomy.

Reconstructing Marshall McLuhan's notion of Narcissus' mirror as a symbol of modern technologies, Shallis applies it to the idealized notion of human capacities embodied in the computer and society's obsession with it. Smitten with the illusory perfection (pure rationality) of the computer, he says, man struggles to recreate himself in its image, numbing himself to the objective reality of the outside world. The clock, Shallis says, "changed man from being a creature in nature to being a master of nature. Electronic microtechnology is changing man from being master of nature to becoming slave to the autonomous machine"[8]. That autonomous machine, according to Shallis, embodies man's own replacement and, in the symbiotic man-technology relationship, the user is prevented from returning to the old way because the new mechanism has replaced the old.

It seems we are to believe that the electronic technologies have an intelligence and logic all their own, that they are now in control, that there is no turning back. Are we moving inexorably toward the same dismal fate as Narcissus? Should the machines be destroyed? Who will be free enough of the machine to decide? Shallis captures some of the most disturbing phenomena of this age--the idealization of rationality, efficiency, and all forms of power over nature, exhibited in our love affair with computer power--but he fails to illuminate the complex interaction of technology and society. He calls the man-technology relation "symbiotic", but then he credits the computer with autonomy, implying that the relationship is forever changed. By collapsing all into the admittedly common slavish devotion of user to computer, he muddles his own analysis and leaves us with no where to go.

In "The Technological Society", James Ellul proposes that, historically the individual has always had the choice to live free and to avoid the constraints of even a technically developed civilization. Until the eighteenth century, according to Ellul, "techniques and man were more or less on the same level", which allowed the individual to chose to live without them[9]. Now, he posits, "technique" has spread to all spheres of life, across the globe, and is evolving so rapidly that it is disconcerting to user and technician alike.

According to Ellul, technical evolution has always involved an "interaction of technical effectiveness and effective human decision", and the problem today is a lapse in the second. Today, he says, the nature of technique has become objective and is transmitted like a physical thing, leading to a homogenization of cultures. It has become its opposite: commanding, controlling, absorbing the natural world into itself. There is no escaping it, there is no more personal choice.

The characteristics of today's technical phenomenon are twofold. It is rational, bringing mechanics to bear on all that is spontaneous and irrational, and it is artificial because it is opposed to nature, the creation of and creator of an artificial world. The old and new worlds have nothing in common, and eventually the new technical world subordinates the natural world, the old techniques, and, with it, choice. The human being is no longer the agent of choice, as "he can decide only in favor of the technique that gives the maximum efficiency."[10]

Ellul's analysis rests on two key assumptions that, on closer inspection, seem rather dubious. Technology he has proclaimed to be objective, apparently beyond the influence and sway of a society that has mismanaged and therefore surrendered control of it. He seems to have reduced choice to the option only to work and live in society or not. He discusses the inevitability of certain choices (e.g. for efficiency) without any discussion of the social values, constructs, and assumptions that are embedded in choice, however flawed. (Then, seeming to contradict his own framework, Ellul discusses how capitalism thwarts technique by avoiding investment in the rapidly changing and improving technology in the interest of short term profits--i.e., makes the very choices that theoretically were not available.) Like Shallis, Ellul identifies important and recognizable phenomena of 20th century technological society, but offers a muddled analysis of the nature of technology and the relation of technology to society. Without clarity on these most basic elements, little light is shed on the origins and nature of the problems we are experiencing today, and corrective measures are nowhere to be found.

In "The Re-enchantment of the World - I", Morris Berman attempts to locate the current crisis within the philosophical developments that grew out of the Renaissance. His framework is grounded historically in a way that the others were not. However, in my opinion, he fails in his analysis of that philosophy and makes leaps in logic to link it to his view of the modern world.

The central concept in Berman's analysis is "enchantment", which he uses to describe the human-nature relationship before the Scientific Revolution. His observation is that people used to be identified or merged with their surroundings in what he calls "participating consciousness." According to Berman, the "story of the modern epoch...is one of progressive disenchantment. From the sixteenth century on, mind has been progressively expunged from the phenomenal world...the reference points for all scientific explanation are matter and motion...".[11] The dominant mode of thinking, what he terms "disenchantment", flows from scientific consciousness, an alienated consciousness, in which "[s]ubject and object are always seen in opposition to each other."[12]

Berman rejects Herbert Marcuse's notion that we have merged with and see ourselves in our commodities. He sees widespread alienation in all aspects of contemporary life, and embraces the alternative view that rampant consumerism is rather an attempt to feel free of a system from which there is in fact no escape. Berman goes on to enumerate the ways technological and bureaucratic modes of thought have destroyed not just our relation to nature but to each other, in even our most intimate relations. He underscores his point with chilling and sometimes unbelievable (and, unfortunately, uncredited) statistics on teenage suicide, nine year old drunks, and rampant drug addiction and emotional disorders[13].

According to Berman, the current period is one of major social transformation, on a scale of the Renaissance. He compares the current breakdown of society and the abundant social crises to the period in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the church and all its associated norms and values were losing their hegemony. Similarly, he argues, the modern scientific paradigm can no longer be maintained, and the result is constant crisis.

Berman offers no solution to this predicament, except to point out that because disenchantment is intrinsic to the scientific world view, the modern epoch is inherently flawed. He summarizes: "(f)or more than 99 percent of human history, the world was enchanted...[t]he complete reversal of this...in a mere four hundred years or so has destroyed the continuity of the human experience and the integrity of the human psyche. It has very nearly wrecked the planet as well."[14] Berman recognizes the helplessness in this view, and offers bleakly that "some type of holistic, or participating, consciousness ...(has) to emerge if we are to survive as a species."[15] In other words, we can only assume that the "scientific world view" must be replaced but we don't know how or with what.

One problem with these analyses is the assumption of a direct causal relation between technology and current social ills, and consequently a strict focus on those ills as a measure of how technology has effected us. Each of these authors is concerned that the "system" is unavoidable, but their concern seems to be as much with that fact as with its nature. None of the three authors adequately explains of the dialectical interaction of society and technology. Ironically, Berman, who sought to locate his analysis in the historical realities growing out of the Renaissance, seems to have bought the line of its rising bourgeoisie--that modern science was incompatible with normative and subjective elements of society. Of course science never gained real neutrality, but the illusion that it had gave science tremendous license.

Ultimately, the theories of Shallis, Ellul, and Berman come up short because they fail to adequately explain the problems we face, and hence to find a direction forward. It is my sense that to appreciate the nature of technology and the complexity of the relationship of it to society one must take careful stock of the most immediate context in which modern technology has developed--the scientific and technological revolution--and grapple with the mixed (positive and negative) impact of technology within it.

Science, Technology, and Society

A useful starting point for the discussion of the history and nature of science is Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (University of Chicago Press, 1970). This now classic work transformed what Kuhn had identified as a nascent revolution in the historiography of science into a full blown one, and sent shock waves through the philosophy of science field as well. Kuhn addresses himself to the conceptions of science that underly the telling of its history, challenging the misconception driving the mechanically wrought compilation histories, that scientific development is merely a process of accretion.

Kuhn's starting point is a definition of what he calls "normal science". Simply put, he defines normal science as research based on past scientific findings or achievements which have been accepted by a community such that they have become assumed by it and serve as the basis for further study. This accumulation of concrete findings and methods acts as a kind of template, defining legitimate problems and methods, while at the same time leaving open and suggesting new problems to be resolved. He calls this a "paradigm".

Most research, Kuhn points out, produces little in the way of conceptual or phenomenal novelties, often providing only the most esoteric detail to the body of knowledge from which it emerged. Kuhn identifies what he considers the three basic types of paradigm-based scientific investigation. The first involves increasing the accuracy and scope of a class of facts that the paradigm has shown to be particularly revealing (e.g., in astronomy, refining measurements of stellar positions and magnitudes).

A second, smaller category involves gathering facts which can be compared with predictions from paradigm theory to test or demonstrate agreement with it, and which may not be particularly interesting in their own right. The third focus of research in Kuhn's model is the work to refine paradigm theory, resolving ambiguities and expanding the power of the paradigm itself.

Kuhn's model directly challenges the notion of science as objective and independent of its practitioners. The concept of the paradigm raises the concretes of scientific experimentation and achievement above the laws and theories of science. Science, in Kuhn's model, cannot be defined in terms of immutable truths. The sole criterion for the adoption and implementation of a scientific paradigm, which will function as the legitimizing force in research, is the assent of that research community.

In fact, argues Kuhn, paradigms determine the very perceptions possible within them. A new paradigm can lead a scientist to see the same old world, using the same old instruments, in an entirely new way. Kuhn uses the example of the discovery of Uranus to explain his point. A number of astronomers, including several of Europe's most highly regarded, observed what we now know to be Uranus on at least seventeen different occasions between 1690 and 1781--one of them on four successive nights--without ever suspecting that it might be a planet. Years later, with an improved telescope that allowed him to see its apparent disk, an astronomer named Herschel declared the body a comet. Finally, after failed attempts to fit the body into the patterns expected of a comet, another astronomer suggested that it might be a planet. With the acceptance of that theory, suddenly a celestial body that had been mistaken for a star for almost a century was seen differently, because "it could no longer be fitted into the perceptual categories (star or comet) provided by the paradigm that had previously failed."[16]

This paradigm shift had more far reaching effects than allowing astronomers to see Uranus, explains Kuhn. Though they did not appear with the unusual magnification of Uranus, numerous minor planets and asteroids were subsequently discovered. Kuhn notes, "astronomers prepared to find additional planets were able, with standard instruments, to identify twenty of them in the first fifty years of the nineteenth century" (emphasis added).[17]

Normal science in general proceeds apace, continually expanding the scope and precision of scientific knowledge. Novelty is not its aim, and rarely the result of normal scientific research. But, Kuhn notes, unexpected phenomena are constantly uncovered by scientific investigation. He explores at length the anomalies that inexorably emerge through research under a paradigm, distinguishing between the novelties of fact and the novelties of theory. He contrasts the process of crisis and response to crisis within the paradigm model to the "methodological stereotype of falsification by direct comparison with nature" and argues that the "decision to reject one paradigm is always simultaneously the decision to accept another, and the judgement leading to that decision involves the comparison of both paradigms with nature and with each other."[18] History suggests to him that the modern scientific apparatus is uniquely suited to produce surprises and discoveries, and he speculates that "research under a paradigm must be a particularly effective way of inducing paradigm change."[19]

On the other hand, one of the attributes of a paradigm is its focusing power, and this can function in both positive and negative ways. By establishing the criteria for choosing the problems that a community will take up, the paradigm focuses the community's research, allowing it to build on past achievements and to advance work in the most efficient way. However, problems that may have been addressed as quite normal in the past may, with the development of the paradigm, be deemed outside its realm, impractical to address, or too metaphysical. A paradigm, Kuhn warns, can "insulate the community from those socially important problems that are not reducible to the puzzle form, because they cannot be stated in terms of the conceptual and instrumental tools the paradigm supplies."[20]

The history of science, according to Kuhn, is a history of dynamic, almost volatile interactions and changes, involving revolution after revolution (interspersed with periods of great stability). While it is not possible to reconstruct the historical examples Kuhn offers to illustrate his point, it should not be lost that much of the potency of Kuhn's analysis comes from its ability to illuminate history. Kuhn's analysis allows for the possibility of the immense corruption and influence of science, ideologically, methodologically, politically. At the same time, it offers cause for hope in that science has proven itself over and over to be self-correcting and capable of great change.

It has been said that Kuhn himself, through his articulation of the idea of paradigms in science, created yet a new paradigm for the philosophy of science. Like all paradigms, Kuhn's establishes a framework, setting an agenda of sorts and guiding research to come. But Kuhn offers scant comment on the specifics of late 20th century science and society.

Fortunately, Everett Mendelsohn picks up where Kuhn leaves off. In "The Internationalization of Science," the flagship article of proceedings of a Unesco symposium entitled The Social Implications of the Scientific and Technical Revolution, Mendelsohn offers a brief but penetrating analysis of the status of modern science.

Mendelsohn's starting point is the fairly uncontroversial opinion that "technological advances have dramatically altered the human relationship to nature as well as the interaction among human beings."[21] He gives explicit voice to the paradox which is the crux of the matter at hand:

Modern medicine gives daily evidence of its ability to challenge death and promote health and longevity. Today's science probes the very boundaries of matter and the most intimate conditions of life. An aura of rationality and promise seems to surround these achievements (and potentialities) of the new worlds of science, technology and medicine. . . .Yet in the face of achievements undreamed of even by Utopians...serious questions have come to be asked about the place of science and technology in our societies...(s)ome of the questions have been present from the very beginnings of the seventeenth-century scientific revolution, while other doubts are more recent and more clearly tied to explicit modes of use or misuse of modern knowledge and techniques.[22]

In a reference to Robert Merton, its chief proponent, Mendelsohn despairs of the view that scientific knowledge is objective, fundamentally neutral knowledge. He complains that the criticisms by Kuhn and others of the positivist philosophy have had little productive effect within the scientific community, though he claims that the effect on the "broader world of learning" has been quite profound, even raising the question of the nature of truth in science. Mendelsohn's own conclusion is that "the characteristics of the epistemology, and the concept and technique forming apparatus--and thus the cognitive structures of science--are socially constructed; science and technology are not neutral or non-normative but...are generated in social and historical contexts which have values and social interests embedded in their structures."[23]

Like Berman, Mendelsohn traces the rise of science from the Renaissance, explaining that the change was not simply one of technological development. Future scientists, artisans, engineers, literate craftsmen, intellectuals--all those critical of the status quo--actively challenged and debated old societal norms, cutting out an important social space for themselves and facilitating the establishment of the bourgeoisie. Philosophically, the empiricism of the artisans and inventors combined with the rationality of Francis Bacon to shape the new epistemology. At bottom was the belief that humans could not only understand nature, they could control it as well.

It was this new philosophical system, Mendelsohn argues, which "spurred technology to unprecedented achievements and gave it a social importance it never had before."[24] That development in turn bolstered the new epistemology which gradually began to replace the older, outmoded ways of thought associated with feudalism and the church. The belief in the human ability to control nature became and is still one of the most basic tenets of modern science and western society as a whole.

Perhaps as significant as the belief that nature is knowable and controllable, Mendelsohn explains, was the notion that science was not responsible for those beliefs. As the developing authority of the scientific community--and along with it, the bourgeoisie--directly threatened the authority of the church, science formally disclaimed all normative aspects of science, i.e., all rights to challenge norms of power and wealth in society. The scientific revolution had changed forever the way nature was viewed and transformed the very nature and uses of technology. Now, observes Mendelsohn, the admixture of the growing power and prestige of science coupled with the impunity accorded it by its supposed neutrality gave the rising capitalists/industrialists a perfect tool.

The illusion continues into the 20th century, Mendelsohn points out. The interaction of knowledge and the institutions within which it develops continues to go unnoticed. Most people remain unaware of the inherent values driving science and are therefore uncritical of it. Mendelsohn calls for conscious acknowledgement of those values in hopes that scrutiny will follow. In the developing consciousness, he sees the opportunity to choose scientific values "supportive of basic human needs and responsive to fundamental freedom and justice." His is an optimistic assessment, but one firmly grounded in historical and concrete realities. Through Mendelsohn's analysis, one can begin to see how we have arrived at the current juncture and, more importantly, where we might go from it.

The Human Genome Project

R.C. Lewontin applies the same dialectical and historical method in his rigorous critique of the Human Genome Project (HGP), and indirectly contributes to an effective historiography and philosophy of science. Lewontin, a leading geneticist currently at Harvard University, takes popular myths in science--and virtually the whole scientific establishment--head on in his recent work Biology as Ideology: the Doctrine of DNA ( Harper Perennial, 1991). His aim is to promote a "reasonable skepticism about the sweeping claims that modern science makes to an understanding of human existence," a goal he more than adequately meets.[25]

"Science," says Lewontin, "is a social institution completely integrated into and influenced by the structure of all our other social institutions." He challenges the common misconceptions of science--that it is a set of methods, a set of people, or a great body of knowledge, somehow apart from the forces that rule our everyday lives and that govern the structure of our society. We think, says Lewontin, that science is objective.[26]

Lewontin is generally skeptical about the claims of modern scientific medicine. Increased life expectancy, for example, one of medicine's proudest claims, is primarily a result of declining infant mortality. In the past fifty years, notes Lewontin, only four months have been added to the life expectancy of persons already over sixty.

Like Mendelsohn, Lewontin is sharply critical of the ideological prejudice of science. In the case of modern biology, Lewontin identifies the most prominent of these prejudices as the belief in a single or primary cause. It is common for causes to be seen as separate, independent entities, assumed to be at an individual level, whether it is an individual gene, a defective organ, or an individual human being acted upon by internal or external causes. This view, argues Lewontin, is nowhere more evident than in our theories of health and disease.The Human Genome Project is only the logical outcome of the belief that what we need to know about human beings is contained within the sequence of their DNA. The HGP's immediate objective is to map every gene in the human genome, nucleotide by nucleotide. The complete sequence, a string of A's, T's, C's, and G's--standing for Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine--will be three billion elements long.

The ultimate vision driving the HGP is the identification of the genetic basis of disease and deformity in the genetic blueprint, to provide the information necessary to catch or avoid altogether "abnormal and undesirable" conditions. Political, social, and ethical considerations aside, Lewontin explains simply and concretely the scientific problems with these goals.

The most basic error underlying the HGP's vision, according to Lewontin, is the assumption that all human beings are alike. In fact, there is immense variation from normal individual to normal individual. For each string of three billion (3,000,000,000) nucleotides, there is an average difference of six hundred thousand (600,000) nucleotides. An average gene of three thousand (3,000) nucleotides will differ between any two people by about twenty (20) nucleotides. Whose genome, posits Lewontin, is going to be the standard?

An added complication is the fact that each of us carries a large number of defective genes. These genes are covered up by the normal copy received from the other parent, protecting most of us from the random errors of nature. If the DNA from a diseased person is compared to the "standard" sequence, it would be impossible to decide which of the differences was responsible for the disease. A large population would have to be studied to even begin to identify the genetic cause or causes, if one could be identified at all.

Lewontin acknowledges the existence of conditions that are clearly pathological, but reminds us that the incidence of diseases like Muscular Dystrophy and Huntington's Chorea is extremely low. In a large portion of the world, people are dying of malnutrition and overwork, while in the U.S. seventy percent of us will die of heart disease, cancer, or stroke. Most cardiovascular disease has totally defied genetic analysis, according to Lewontin, and cancer is still treated with whatever works best, not insights provided by molecular biology.

So why are so many intelligent, successful, and powerful scientists drawn to this project? Lewontin says one reason is their complete devotion to "the ideology of simple unitary causes."[27] The majority aren't questioning the validity of the research itself (though there has been considerable concern over the ethic questions involved). The other reason, he groans, is the appeal of participation in and control of a multi-billion dollar project that will involve thousands of scientists and technicians and probably run for the next thirty to fifty years. Lewontin cynically adds: "Great careers will be made. Nobel Prizes will be given. Honorary degrees will be offered. Important professorships and huge laboratory facilities will be put at the disposal of those who control this project..."[28]

Lewontin provides a living example of what Kuhn predicts could happen and Mendelsohn describes as happening in science in general. Kuhn talks of the kind of insulation that a paradigm can provide and the kind of crisis necessary to change or abandon a paradigm. Perhaps the controlling paradigm in genetic research is too stable or too immature for a crisis to be provoked at this time. In time, though, as answers don't come and people continue to die in the same percentages of the same ailments, genetic research will move into crisis, just as space sciences did before it.

The contradictions surrounding the Human Genome Project are but a microcosm of the society wide conflicts we are witnessing today in science and technology. Though few projects are as grand, many areas of science exhibit the same mark as does genetics of our societal values and beliefs--in simple answers, in the controllability of nature. This is what we must question as we grope for understanding of our fragmented, high-tech world. If Mendelsohn is right, we should recognize the time as an opportunity to begin a new approach.

Selected Bibliography

Barnes, Barry and David Edge. Science in Context: Readings in the Sociology of Science. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1982.

Berman, Morris. "The Reenchantment of the World - I." Questioning Technology : Tool, Toy or Tyrant? Ed.John Zerzan and Alice Carnes. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991.

Brody, Baruch A. and Richard E. Grandy, eds. Readings in the Philosophy of Science. 2nd ed. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1989.

Ellul, Jacques. "The Technological Society." Questioning Technology : Tool, Toy or Tyrant? Ed.John Zerzan and Alice Carnes. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970.

Lewontin, R. C. Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991.

McCarthy, Michael H. The Crisis of Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York, 1990.

Mendelsohn, E. "The internationalisation of science." The Social Implications of the Scientific and Technological Revolution, A Unesco Symposium. Ed. Robert S. Cohen. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations, 1981.

O'Hear, Anthony. Introduction to the Philosophy of Science. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.(OECD).Technology on Trial: Public Participation in Decision-Making Related to Science and Technology. Paris: OECD, 1979.

Price, Derek J. DeSolla. Little Science, Big Science...And Beyond. New York:Columbia University Press, 1986.

Shallis, Michael. "The Silicon Idol." Questioning Technology : Tool, Toy or Tyrant? Ed.John Zerzan and Alice Carnes. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991.


[1] Francis Collins and David Galas, "A New Five-Year Plan for the U.S.Human Genome Project," Science v262 (October 1, 1993) 43-46.

[2] Leslie Roberts, "Taking Stock of the Genome Project," Science v262 (October 1, 1993) 20-22.

[3] Project managers were hoping for a budget of $200 million a year for 15 years, according to R.C. Lewontin, Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA (New York: HarperPerennial,1991) 73. Figures for 1994 and 1995 are already being adjusted to $246.8 and $259.9 million respectively, according to Francis Collins and David Galas in "A New Five-Year Plan for the U.S. Human Genome Project," Science v262 (October 1, 1993) 44.

[4] Thomas H. Maugh, "Drawing the Human Blueprint," Los Angeles Times v108 sec1 (Sun Oct 8, 1989):3, col2.

[5] James D. Watson and Norton Zinder, letter, New York Times v140(Sat Oct 13, 1990):14, col 4.

[6] Michael Shallis, "The Silicon Idol," Questioning Technology: Tool, Toy, or Tyrant? ed. John Zerzan and Alice Carnes (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991) 26.

[7] Shallis 31.

[8] Shallis 31.

[9] James Ellul, "The Technological Society," Questioning Technology: Tool, Toy, or Tyrant? ed. John Zerzan and Alice Carnes (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991) 41.

[10] Ellul 44.

[11] Morris Berman, "The Re-enchantment of the World - I," Questioning Technology: Tool, Toy, or Tyrant? ed. John Zerzan and Alice Carnes (Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1991) 61.

[12] Berman 61.

[13] Berman 63.

[14] Berman 65.

[15] Berman 66.

[16] Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Second edition. (Chicago:The University of Chicago Press, 1970) 115.

[17] Kuhn 116.

[18] Kuhn 77.

[19] Kuhn 52.

[20] Kuhn 109.

[21] Everett Mendelsohn, "The Internationalization of Science," in The Social Implications of the Scientific and Technological Revolution: A Unesco Symposium Robert S. Cohen, ed. (Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1981) 3.

[22] Mendelsohn 3.

[23] Mendelsohn 6.

[24] Mendelsohn 9.

[25] R.C. Lewontin, Biology as Ideology: the Doctrine of DNA (New York: Harper Perennial, 1991)16.

[26] Lewontin 3.

[27]Lewontin 51.

[28]Lewontin 51.


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