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BOOK REVIEW

Critiquing Science: An Excerpt from Life Is a Miracle

One used to hear a great deal about "pure science." . . .

. . . By now, when the possibilities of application have so enormously multiplied and the greed of corporations has grown so elaborate that they wish to patent discoveries before they have been discovered, it appears safest to assume that all sciences are ?applied.? Science may at times have been altruistically applied. But even such nominally altruistic sciences as medicine and plant-breeding have now become so deeply interpenetrated with economics and politics that their motives are at best mixed with, and at worst replaced by, the motives of corporations and governments. If nothing else, the increasing costliness of the practice of conventional science, and its consequent dependence on large grants or investments, would mitigate against its purity. One can only assume that pure science now needs to move fast (and beg hard) to keep its skirts from being lifted by the ever randy and handy corporate giants.

Life Is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition
Wendell Berry Counterpoint, $21


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