chapter  8
Dazzling prospects
Pages 9

Faith in life, and in the human race, is certainly a better thing to have around than a supposedly science-based conviction of universal bloody-mindedness and hypocrisy. Faith in life and in the human race becomes much less evident when we turn from those who rely on continued natural growth, like Teilhard and Dobzhansky, to the champions of genetic engineering. Calling for surgical methods always shows less faith in the patient's constitution and more in the skills of the surgeon. The point about dogmatic confidence is interesting. Scrupulous moderation in making factual claims is commonly seen as a central part of the scientific attitude. Certainly Judaeo-Christian thinking made the human race much more central than many other religions do, but it still considered man to be God's steward. Change in human societies is almost entirely a cultural, not a genetic matter, and it can as easily be for the worse as for the better.