The Fantasy of Science

David Romano
3 min readNov 26, 2023

In our technological age much discussion takes place about where technology is leading us an how science is shaping our lives. If technology is going to meet human needs and serve human goals it is important to understand not only how we interact with nature and the universe at large but in what ways human culture, it’s values and traditions, shape the way we think.

The complexity of modern scientific techniques has excluded all but trained researchers in most areas of scientific endeavor. This specialization has made possible wonderful advances but it has also given rise to the idea that science can provide answers to common human concerns even if most individuals haven’t the training to comprehend the import of most scientific discoveries. But, what makes up the science and technology that increasingly defines and alter our world?

Prof. George Abell states in the introduction to his text Exploration of the Universe, “Science is not concerned with fact.” Fritjof Capra remarks in his Tao of Physics, “The language physicists use to explain their discoveries about the nature of matter resembles the language of the eastern mystics.”

And, “Scientific descriptions and definitions are approximations.”

What are we to make of these statements by two eminent scientists and educators? They appear to contradict every commonsense notion we have that science is built on facts and precise language and gives us a world view that is based on reality?

Is the nature of reality discovered in a research laboratory? Or is it the consensus of society about its needs and potentials? In other words, technology expresses itself according to how we think about ourselves.

Shouldn’t the purpose of science be to provide the members of society with the information and systems that allow comprehension of, and participation in, all that has been developed in the interests of society. If science is not for the benefit of all, who is it that benefits? Man made radiation will remain lethal for 20 generations and more. If we are candid about it, there is no question that any human endeavor that results in our grandchild’s grandchild inheriting a world with radioactive waste scattered everywhere must be viewed with alarm.

The only real benefit of science is that it can be used to meet human needs. Shall it be that the specialist in government or university holds the privileged position of determining human needs and the direction of technology? What progress have we made then since the first city states of Mesopotamia where a select priesthood determined in secret council what would best please gods and men?

The splitting of the atom has impacted public health, the environment, industry, and the defense concerns of every nation. Atomic power and atom bombs became a fact of life before anyone had an inkling about it aside from a handful of people with top security clearances.

Only future generations will be able to measure how successful we were in asking the right questions of our selves let alone finding the right answers. What can we do so that science is a friend and not a threat? A starting point would be to recognize that science will follow our collective imagination so we need to start envisioning better futures.