Daedalus

Daedalus Daedalus or Science and the Future is a book by the British scientist J B S Haldane published in England in It was the text of a lecture read to the Heretics Society an intellectual club at Ca

  • Title: Daedalus
  • Author: J.B.S. Haldane
  • ISBN: 9781419114922
  • Page: 458
  • Format: Paperback
  • Daedalus or, Science and the Future is a book by the British scientist J B S Haldane, published in England in 1924 It was the text of a lecture read to the Heretics Society, an intellectual club at Cambridge University on 4 February 1923.Haldane uses the Greek myth of Daedalus as a symbol for the revolutionary nature of science with particular regard to his own discipDaedalus or, Science and the Future is a book by the British scientist J B S Haldane, published in England in 1924 It was the text of a lecture read to the Heretics Society, an intellectual club at Cambridge University on 4 February 1923.Haldane uses the Greek myth of Daedalus as a symbol for the revolutionary nature of science with particular regard to his own discipline of biology The chemical or physical inventor is always a Prometheus There is no great invention, from fire to flying, which has not been hailed as an insult to some god But if every physical and chemical invention is a blasphemy, every biological invention is a perversion There is hardly one which, on first being brought to the notice of an observer from any nation which had not previously heard of their existence, would not appear to him as indecent and unnatural He also expressed skepticism over the human benefits of some scientific advances, arguing that scientific advance would bring grief, rather than progress to mankind, unless it was accompanied by a similar advance in ethics.The book is an early vision of transhumanism and his vision of a future in which humans controlled their own evolution through directed mutation and use of in vitro fertilization ectogenesis was a major influence on Aldous Huxley s Brave New World The book ends with the image of a biologist, much like Haldane himself, in a laboratory just a poor little scrubby underpaid man groping blindlyThe book has been discussed at length by other writers, including Freeman Dyson in his book Imagined Worlds , Science, Society, and Values by Sal P Restivo and the concept has been used in contemporary science lectures.

    One thought on “Daedalus”

    1. Since this book was written about 90 years ago, it is at times hard to understand, but its sheer distance from the present makes Haldane's prophecies all the more interesting. My takeaway is that we are generally awful at predicting the future, but it's amazing how much science has progressed in ways that people could have never imagined, and it is heartening to think that it will continue to progress in the future. I think this is the takeaway he wanted people to have: science has not reached a [...]

    2. Not an easy book to read, perhaps because of the style of the author's language. Interesting to read his scientific projections from 1924 and see how many have or have not come to pass. Also interesting to see that they did not know in 1924 that it was a lack of estrogen that contributed to menopausal symptoms. Generally positive toward science, but with reminders about social responsibility.

    3. My father found what appears to be an original copy of this 1924 publication in the house of confederate General Joe Wheeler as a kid. I recently found it on his shelf and took it home. This guy had some really good ideas of what the future would bring, and he is right for the most part.

    4. Though in black jest it bows and nodsUnder the moons with silver rods,I know it is roaring at the gods,Waiting the last eclipse.

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