Churchill on the Double-Edged Sword of “Science”

Churchill on the Double-Edged Sword of “Science”


Larry P. Arnn discusses Churchill’s prediction that science, should it be allowed to engineer even the smallest part of humanity, will have a tendency to attempt to engineer all facets of that humanity. These days, we find ourselves “gripped and handled” by the very thing that enables our own control over nature.

The following video is a clip from Lecture 4 of Hillsdale’s Online Course, “Winston Churchill and Statesmanship,” featuring Dr. Larry P. Arnn, President of Hillsdale College 

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Larry Arnn-

In the end, once you start engineering things about human beings, you're going to engineer all of them, and it's amazing—[Churchill’s] predictions about this. He starts with science, and he means by that a narrow thing—that is to say, inventing ways to control nature and each other.

 “It is this power called Science,” he capitalizes it, “which has laid hold of us, conscripted us into its regiments and batteries.” Listen to that language, right? We're in an army now.

“[It has] set us to work upon its highways and in its arsenals, rewarded us for our services, healed us when we were wounded, trained us when we were young, pensioned us when we were worn out.”

See, those are good things and bad things, both. “None of the generations of men before the last two or three were ever gripped, for good or ill, and handled like this.”