Signs of the Times

The Saturday Evening Post

Dr. Jacob Bronowski in The Saturday Evening Post Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Few believe that science has a conscience. Most people think themselves generous if they allow that science is neutral and that its findings can be used either for good or for evil. These people imply, of course, that what is good and what is evil cannot be judged by the standards of science. Science, they say, tells us only what is true and what is false; and they insist that true and false are quite different standards from good and evil. True and false, they say, are matters of fact; but good and evil are matters of conscience which lie on a different plane.

This separation of the true and the false from good and evil is destructive of sound morality. For it removes morality from the tests by which we judge the things that happen around us every day, and makes it something remote from our practical lives.... Our habits, particularly our habits of thought, are shifting profoundly. In every field of human welfare ... we learn that we can truly judge the actions of others only when we understand their motives.

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March 11, 1961

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