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Wetenschap weet weinig. Geloof weet alles. Dus een redelijk mens gelooft in wetenschap.

Het hierop volgende citaat is uit The Ascent of Man, van Jacob Bronowski, een boek in aansluiting op de gelijknamige televisieserie (1973). De tekst wordt uitgesproken door de presentator/auteur, zittend in de modder en as van het concentratiekamp Auschwitz, zie het filmbeeldje rechts:

  There are two parts to the human dilemma. One is the belief that the end justifies the means. That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering, has become the monster in the war machine. The other is the betrayal of the human spirit: the assertion of dogma that doses the mind, and turns a nation, a civilisation, into a regiment of ghosts - obedient ghosts, or tortured ghosts.

It is said that science will dehumanise people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorÓnce.

When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave.

This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.

Science is a very human form of knowledge.

We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error, and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end the words were said by Oliver Cromwell:

'I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken'.


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