Resentment Among Humanists

Irving Klotz's criticism of postmodernist criticism [The Scientist, July 22, 1996, page 9] had the usual clarity and analytical logic that have been familiar to me since I met him the first time 40 years ago. While in full agreement with him, I would like to suggest that philosophers and humanists have some justification for resenting scientists and, indirectly, the liberal democracies and the Western civilization that spawned us. Traditionally, humanists were the darlings of the ruling classe

Renato Baserga
Sep 29, 1996

Irving Klotz's criticism of postmodernist criticism [The Scientist, July 22, 1996, page 9] had the usual clarity and analytical logic that have been familiar to me since I met him the first time 40 years ago. While in full agreement with him, I would like to suggest that philosophers and humanists have some justification for resenting scientists and, indirectly, the liberal democracies and the Western civilization that spawned us.

Traditionally, humanists were the darlings of the ruling classes and, in a world of limited resources, they were in an enviable position that allowed them to lead lives of comfort. More important, they had a considerable influence on the minds of the rulers, usually to the benefit of mankind.

Then, that same Western civilization that they had created generated two centuries ago liberal democracies that supplanted the traditional ruling classes. The new ruling classes were more interested in...

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