Repress a childish hope long enough and it returns in disguise.
The World in 2009:
Someone once accused Craig Venter of playing God.
His reply was, "We're not playing."
I recalled hearing tell from my father of a time not so long ago when the term "technological fix" didn't sound dirty and delusional. When my dad was young, Buckminster Fuller and scientists like him were crusaders of the left, heroically engaged in ushering in an utter transformation of society. The humbly engineered new world order would be one of less waste, more justice, less suffering, domed town halls built out of Venetian blinds, and, just maybe, plastic living rooms that happier housewives could simply wash down with a hose. The technological aspirations were well-diagrammed, beautiful, and ludicrous.
Charles C. Mann:
Minute changes in baseline assumptions produce wildly different results.
The truths of science are so profoundly concealed that the only thing we can really be sure of is that much of what we expect to happen won't come to pass.
The main way you move forward in science is by finding out you were wrong about what you thought you already knew.
Surprises are things that you not only didn't know, but that contradict things you thought you knew. And so they're the most valuable sort of fact you can get.
The purpose of thinking about the future is not to predict it but to raise people's hopes.
Our fear of what we'll do with scientific knowledge should be dwarfed by the prospect of that knowledge being pursued outside the public's annoying, normalizing, sobering gaze.
Have you seen Sunshine?