Encountereds. I came, I saw, I commented.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Peter Medawar - The Threat and the Glory (2)

Some names have a positive aura for reasons we have forgotten since we first encountered them. Maybe it was something we read, someone talking about the person, or quoting them in an interesting context. So it was with me and Medawar, and I'm very happy I bought the book at the yard sale I found it at. Medawar treats his often complex subjects with amazing clarity and levity, yet never compromises in terms of accuracy, and the problems he writes about are as unsolved today as they were thirty years ago. How do we balance the benefits of science with its dangers, to fulfill the inherent promise of progress rather than invoking an army of brooms that will sweep us away? Medawar doesn't have answers, of course, but he does ask the right questions, and that is the bigger achievement anyway.


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