Thursday, April 30, 2015

"The Last sometimes are First" : confounding Modernity's 'terrible simplifiers'

Unfortunately for the rest of us, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Tojo all had a first rate science education at their gymnasiums (the advanced sort of high school common outside of North America) .

One that in their generation was reserved only for the elites destined to run the world in all fields of endeavour.

If these four became Jacob Burkhardt's much feared 'terrible simplifiers', we should lay much of the blame at the feet of their gymnasium science teachers who taught them everything there was to know about seeing reality through the terrible scientific lenses of simplicity.

But the steps from this sort of scientific education to becoming 'mass murderers in the name of science' is not inevitable.

Because Canadian Dr Martin Henry Dawson had a similar science education.

However, during in the lead up to WWII, he chose instead to become one of science's first complexifiers.

He announced over and over to a collective scientific yawn, that when it comes to modifying genetics, sometimes (and totally unexpectedly) the Last (the bacteria) came First, besting the efforts of science's smartest men in the universe....

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