Resurgence September/October 2005
I find Resurgence a frustrating read. I started buying it because I was seduced by your gorgeous illustrations and distinctive art coverage and found as a bonus that you include articles by trenchant and precise thinkers such as Mary Midgley (Resurgence 228) who focus on the nature of science, this being one of my philosophical interests.
Yet in Resurgence 230 Satish Kumar allows himself the apparently thoughtless line ‘Scientists learn about nature in order to control it…’. Resurgence authors often talk about ‘science’ in this dismissive way and rarely distinguish the very different senses in which the word is used. Science writer Colin Tudge, who has an article in the same issue, offers an almost opposite meaning in his book So Shall We Reap “… the prime purpose of science is not to change the universe but to enhance our appreciation of it”. This is indeed what ‘science’ means for some of us: an active form of the contemplation of nature. TH Huxley famously framed the scientific attitude thus: “Sit down before the facts as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever nature leads you, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved, at all risks, to do this.”