C.S. Lewis on science

Continuing my look through and reflections on The abolition of man by C.S. Lewis.

Lewis presents an interesting take on science as a massive power-play by those who know over those who don’t, rather than the liberating force it is usually seen as.

What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.

He then goes on to argue that there must be a limit to what we will do or we will end up destroying what has gone before, i.e. our humanity. He states that understanding creation is a wonderful thing but contorting it to our arbitrarily-decided ends is dangerous. This has been stated elsewhere perhaps most simply as ‘Whilst thinking all the while, ‘Could we?’, no-one asked, ‘Should we?’’

Take brain imaging as an example. Discoveries about ourselves through these observations can be life-enhancing and life-saving, but if they are allowed to reduce our existence to a series of chemical reactions between our ears then they have become life- diminishing and even life-destroying. To see our world in such small terms is no victory.


The abolition of man is available to read online, or you buy it pretty cheaply second-hand.