[extropy-chat] Einstein ... and All the Rest?

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Sun Jan 1 18:14:13 UTC 2006

On 1/1/06, Olga Bourlin <fauxever at sprynet.com> wrote:
> "One reason may be that science as a whole has lost its moral sheen. We are
> more aware than ever of the downside of scientific advances, whether nuclear
> power or genetic recombination; moreover, as science has become increasingly
> institutionalized, it has come to be perceived as just another guild
> pursuing its own selfish interests alongside truth and the common good. But
> the other reason is that Einstein possessed a moral quality - described by
> Robert Oppenheimer, the dark angel of nuclear physics, as "a wonderful
> purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn" - that set him apart even
> in his own time."
> http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/books/review/01horgan.html'

Thanks Olga for sharing this quote.  Einstein truly was a big-picture
thinker, thus much of his thinking "possessed a moral quality" as he
approached the question of what works in the ultimate god's-eye view
of a rational universe.

We continue to actively expand the range of our instrumental knowledge
of our world, and it is commonly (but not universally) acknowledged
that this knowledge is morally neutral until applied in the service of
some set of values.  What is less commonly understood is how some
values work better than others, and we have yet to pursue this aspect
in an equally scientific way.

Best wishes for a New Year of growth,

- Jef

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