Unabomber vs. Coleopterists

Jacques Rifkind Muisca at AOL.COM
Wed Oct 4 20:58:34 CDT 1995

>From the "Unabomber Manifesto, " recently published in its entirety by the
New York Times and available at the Pathfinder Website:

87. Science and technology provide the most important examples of surrogate
activities. Some scientists claim that they are motivated by "curiosity,"
that notion is simply absurd. Most scientists work on highly specialized
problem that are not the object of any normal curiosity. For example, is an
astronomer, a mathematician or an entomologist curious about the properties
of isopropyltrimethylmethane? Of course not. Only a chemist is curious about
such a thing, and he is curious
about it only because chemistry is his surrogate activity. Is the chemist
curious about the appropriate classification of a new species of beetle? No.
That question is of interest only to the entomologist, and he is interested
in it only because
entomology is his surrogate activity. If the chemist and the entomologist had
to exert themselves seriously to obtain the
physical necessities, and if that effort exercised their abilities in an
interesting way but in some nonscientific pursuit, then they couldn't giver a
damn about isopropyltrimethylmethane or the classification of beetles.
Suppose that lack of funds for postgraduate education had led the chemist to
become an insurance broker instead of a chemist. In that case he would have
been very interested in insurance matters but would have cared nothing about
isopropyltrimethylmethane. In any case it is not normal to put into the
satisfaction of mere curiosity the amount of time and effort that scientists
put into their work. The "curiosity" explanation for the scientists' motive
just doesn't stand up."

I'd make a comment about this, but frankly, the guy scares the bejeezus out
of me.

Yours for informational purposes only,

Nick J. Squidfear

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