Freeman J. Dyson

I just finished reading the book "The Sun, the Genome and the Internet", a passionate plea of an astrophysicist in his 80s that only science can bring freedom and prosperity to humankind:

An interesting point is that he tells that the alliance between science and craft industry was that what made the former so developing in the 20th century. His hypothesis is that only a strong development in solar energy combined with genetic technology and the extension of the internet to all individuum will be able to resolve the problems of a world with 6 billion people.

He is quite critical with Kuhn's theory on scientific revolutions:"The Kuhnians write about ideological struggles, right against left, capitalist against socialist, masculine against feminine" "The result of the experiment depends on nature and on the quality of tools, not on the ideology and the experimenter". He favors another theoretician of scientific development (Peter Galison,Image and Logic...)

Some more citations:
"Weber argued that the Protestand ethic came first, the rise fo capitalism second. Weber's view has become the previaling view of modern historians. Weber said that ethics drove tehnology. I say that technology drives ethics" This sounds like Marx!!

but he is smoothing this: " I am only saying that thi is not the whole truth, that technology can also drive ethics, that the chain of causation works in both directions"

"How can a godforsaken Mexican village become a source of wealth? Three facts can make i possible. First, solar energy is distributed equitably over the earth. Second, geneti engineering can make solar energy usable everywhere for the local creation of wealth. Third, the internet can provide people in every village with the information and skills they need to develop their talents" (p. 65)

It is fun to read, it is easy to read. Optimism of this kind is what we need to convince that the adventure of science to understand how our world is like needs to go on to improve our lives.

Freeman J Dyson: The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet ISBN: 0-19-512922-4

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