Friday, July 25, 2008

Smolin, Lee. "Negotiating Diversity." NEW SCIENTIST July 23, 2008.

To me it is most puzzling that so many who live well because of the triumph of reason are unable to forcefully answer the challenges to its reliability which are being increasingly heard. One common challenge to the domain of reason springs from the worry that science and technology can have bad consequences if decisions about their use are divorced from human values. At issue is how much reason can play a role in decisions about the use of science and technology. When we attempt to resolve the difficult problems raised by science we encounter a second problem, which arises from the diversity of contemporary societies. The older notions of liberal democracy grew out of societies where everyone had the same background and history. Today, a citizen of the UK, Sweden, Canada, France or the US may have any ethnic origin, any appearance, and practice any religion – or none. Diversity is increasingly becoming the norm, as unprecedented mobility delivers a planetary society. But as we move around and mix, our differences move with us and, if anything, deepen as the number of philosophies, religions and life styles combine and multiply in unexpected ways. The challenge is how to have a diverse, multicultural society that is based on reason. . . . Read the rest here:

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