Thursday, August 27, 2009

Progress without Pause

From an article by Gilbert Meilaender in the February 2009 First Things:

"What does it profit a man," Kierkegaard writes, "if he goes further and further and it must be said of him: he never stops going further; when it must also be said of him: was there nothing that made him pause?"

Meilaender is writing in the context of recent reports of a successful human cloning in, of course, California. It used to be that a sensible fear of science overreaching itself was a staple of the common culture, expressed in the standard "mad scientist" character. Now, it seems, scientists who are inclined to indulge their lust for experimentation without moral boundaries are permanently excused from any scrutiny, as long as they clothe their work in the mantle of a search for knowledge.