Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

My sister showed me an article that she was using in her AP history class, and it really reminded me of some questions that were brought up during the Plato discussion - is enlightenment / the gain of new knowledge always appropriate and/or good for society? Are there times when a new knowledge is not beneficial and it is better to exist without this knowledge ? (I can’t remember the exact wording of these questions). Basically, the author of this article argues that there was an instance in history where the embracement of a new knowledge/technique was detrimental to society. What do you think?

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race

The article is a bit lengthy but you don't have to read the entire thing to get the basic point of it

8 comments:

Big E said...

I would, just for now, just like to point out how the athropologist author uses the exact words "Brutish and short" when referring to how philosophers view the hunter gatherer society. Those exact words were, of course, used by Hobbes.
-Evan

Vvyynn said...

In regards to the question, of course we've gained knowledge that has been detrimental to society. Vigni's Appoclaypse theory, Class 2 (See robot discussion for Class 1): To reiterate: Humans will destroy themselves. This can come in many waves, from robots to an army of vegetables (speak to me about shoving fish DNA into vegetables at some point, I've got soemthing to say to that). Now onto my many examples of detrimental knowledge, and by examples, I mean example: The atom bomb and it's reletives. This is the knowledge of destruction, the knowledge of how to kill one another. In all of my appocalyptic theories, this knowledge dominates. So, there we have it, the end all be all of detrimental knowledge. From here, we've had the holocaust, we've had massacres, we've had psychopaths roaming the counrtyside killing teenagers and having terrible horror movies made after them. There is such thing as detrimental knowldege, and most of it can be classified under the idea of the knowledge to kill. That's the end of Pacifist Vvinni's rant (yes, the spelling of my name did change during the writing of this article), I'm sure you'll all have a mouthful about how "killing is instictual". Well, bring it.

End.

Big E said...

I think there needs to be a definition of when something is "detrimental to society". In my view, anything that does't destroy society isn't detrimental. So far, agriculture has done the opposite of destroy society, but actually allowed it to grow to colossal proportions. The only way this could be bad for society (using my definition) is that if we overcrowded ourselves to extinction. Of course, according to my definition, condoms could be seen as detrimental to society.
-Evan

Kaitlin said...

I may be completely crazy on this, but I believe that knowledge is always beneficial to society, whether or not it helps or hinders a society's growth, because the new knowledge is worth the risk of hurt.

Big E said...

I'm going to use a metaphorical example here. There is a lot of talk about genetic synthesis around lately, scientist are getting pretty good at engineering their own viruses and bacteria. If This would eventually cause a supervirus to be created that woudl wipe out lif eon earth as we knwo it, wouldnt that have to be considered detrimental to society?

Vvyynn said...

Yes, it would. Not every type of knowledge is beneficial to society (See Pacifist Vinni's rant above). Quite frankly, I feel life would be a good deal better if we never learned how to create the atom bomb. Yes, it's a very huge step in science, it's also a huge step in destroying ourselves.

Vvyynn said...

CRUSH, KILL, DESTROY!

accumulate

Vvyynn said...

So...I guess this conversation has died. Like so many [insert political reference here]