注记

Note

Professor Broad and Dr Snow have both remarked to me that, if I am to strike a fair balance between the good and evil done by science, I must not allow myself to be too much obsessed by its effects on war; and that, even when I am thinking of them, I must remember that it has many very important effects besides those which are purely destructive. Thus (to take the latter point first), I must remember (a) that the organization of an entire population for war is only possible through scientific methods; (b) that science has greatly increased the power of propaganda, which is used almost exclusively for evil; and (c) that it has made ‘neutrality’ almost impossible or unmeaning, so that there are no longer ‘islands of peace’ from which sanity and restoration might spread out gradually after war. All this, of course, tends to reinforce the case against science. On the other hand, even if we press this case to the utmost, it is hardly possible to maintain seriously that the evil done by science is not altogether outweighed by the good. For example, if ten million lives were lost in every war, the net effect of science would still have been to increase the average length of life. In short, my §28 is much too ‘sentimental’.

I do not dispute the justice of these criticisms, but, for the reasons which I state in my preface, I have found it impossible to meet them in my text, and content myself with this acknowledgement.

Dr Snow has also made an interesting minor point about §8. Even if we grant that ‘Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten’, is not mathematical fame a little too ‘anonymous’ to be wholly satisfying? We could form a fairly coherent picture of the personality of Aeschylus (still more, of course, of Shakespeare or Tolstoi) from their works alone, while Archimedes and Eudoxus would remain mere names.

Mr J. M. Lomas put this point more picturesquely when we were passing the Nelson column in Trafalgar square. If I had a statue on a column in London, would I prefer the columns to be so high that the statue was invisible, or low enough for the features to be recognizable? I would choose the first alternative, Dr Snow, presumably, the second.

注记

布罗德教授和斯诺博士都对我说过,如果我要在科学带来的善与恶之间主持公道,就不能让自己过度沉迷于科学对战争的影响;而且,即便在考虑它们时,我也必须牢记,除了那些纯粹的破坏,还有许多非常重要的影响。因此(首先基于后者),我必须记住:(a) 只有通过科学的方法才能组织起全员参加战争;(b) 科学大大增强了宣传的能力,而宣传几乎全都是用于作恶的;(c) 科学让“中立”变得几乎不可能或毫无意义,因此不再会有“世外桃源”,能让人们在战争结束后可以从这些地方逐步恢复理智和秩序。当然,所有这些都是站在反对科学一方的。但另一方面,即使我们把这个问题推到极致,也不能真的认为科学做的恶一定大于科学行的善。例如,即便在每一场战争中都有 1000 万人丧生,科学的净效应仍使人类的平均寿命延长了。简言之,我写的第 28 节太过“感伤”了。

我并不想争辩这些批评的正义性,但出于我在前言中所述的原因,我发现要在正文里加以讨论,并且让自己承认这点是不可能的。

斯诺博士针对第 8 节还提出了一个有趣的观点。即使我们承认“当埃斯库罗斯被遗忘时,阿基米德仍将被铭记”,难道数学上的名望如此之“低调”就能令人完全满意吗?我们可以仅仅通过埃斯库罗斯(当然,更多的是莎士比亚或托尔斯泰 1)的作品,就对他的性格形成一个相当清晰的印象,但阿基米德和欧多克索斯留下的只不过是名字。

1Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy(1828.09.09—1920.11.20),俄国文豪。

当我们经过特拉法加广场 2 的纳尔逊 3 纪念柱时,约翰 • 洛马斯 4 先生把这一点表达得更加生动。倘若我在伦敦的纪念柱上有一座雕像,我是希望纪念柱高得看不见雕像,还是希望它低到能让人们辨识出雕像是谁呢?我会选择第一种,而斯诺博士也许会选第二种。

2特拉法尔加广场,英国伦敦著名广场,坐落在伦敦市中心。

3Horatio Nelson(1758.09.29—1805.10.21),英国皇家海军指挥官,地中海舰队总司令。

4John Millington Lomas(1917—1945),见本书献辞。

目录