Full text: Notes on Social Science Policy

In fact, the means have made themselves into aims (vide the 
machines in Samuel Butler's Erewhon). We stand perplexed and 
helpless before the problem of organising society, before the 
division ofiworld by an abyss separating poor and rich nations, 
and before the environmental problem, watching the sand running 
through the hour-glass. In fact the forces which have grown up 
in society and from our oxtfn doings now threaten us more than 
formerly the forces of nature. In consequence the whole tenden 
cy of our questioning which has been directed "outward” in the 
age of science is going to be turned "inward" again. 
The position of the scientist and the social scientist should be 
viewed against this background. The scientist has in a sense con 
quered society and subjected it to his ideas. Yet scientist hardly 
wield great power in our society, and only rarely do they have 
even modest wealth. Their relation to the things which they have 
created is very strange; one might well call it alienation. 
Their ideas pass out of their hands, to be used by others for 
whatever alms they think fit: The scientist has no moral re 
sponsibility for it. As a result there is this curious contrast: 
The scientist is to quite a large extent free in his domain, 
nobody interferes with the process of scientific thinking.^ 
^This has to be qualified, of course, especially for the life 
sciences, and even in this century notable exceptions are 
found (monkey trials, Lysenko, to speak nothing of the inter 
ferences of fascist powers).

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