Monday, February 8, 2016

LaPlace's modern A-Bomb -- Goldman's postmodern Penicillin

Vannevar Bush's famous wartime 'modern science' agency, the OSRD, was heavily involved in trying to control two Manhattan Projects - the well known one involving a highly successful effort to create The Bomb and the unknown one involving an unsuccessful effort to make synthetic penicillin.

Modern science's chief philosopher was Pierre-Simon Laplace,  forever seeking a spot high above the Universe to successfully predict and control everything about everything --- now, in the past and in the future.

He'd have loved the way Bush's team had controlled The Bomb, keeping it both secret and in America's hands.

(Provided Laplace could ignore the unpleasant fact that no one can predict when any particular atom is about to go radioactive, something he didn't know when he proposed a potentially fully knowable Universe.)

By contrast, Postmodern science's chief philosopher might as well be Hollywood screenwriter William Goldman, the guy who basically told us that nobody knows anything about anything.

Goldman won't have found the unlikely come-from-behind tale of wartime natural penicillin's triumph over synthetic penicillin at all too unbelievable, even for Hollywood .

In a postmodern age, it all seemed perfectly plausible.....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Longer comments, something for readers and blogger to set their teeth into, preferred