Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Magazine article The Spectator

Ancient & Modern

Article excerpt

DEBATE rages over the extent to which science should interfere with nature. Since ancients lacked the science and technology to allow them to interfere with nature, they dealt with it rather differently than we do.

Because earth, Gaia, was thought to have been in existence from the very beginning of time, ancients argued that it must be a god. Many concluded from this that man could have been permitted existence on it only if he were somehow at one with it and worked closely together with it. But nature was not always friendly. Ancients got round this by crediting it with moral purpose. If, for example, nature at times produced poisons, there must be a lesson there somewhere for man - perhaps `do not be greedy'. If man, the elder Pliny (lst century an) argued, had to dig beneath the surface of beneficent earth for gold or iron, he had better beware of the consequences: such products were likely to be corrupting (gold led to luxury, iron to weapons: QED). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.