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Additional info for H. G. Wells: Discoverer of the Future: The Influence of Science on His Thought

Sample text

Moreau's only concession is an almost arbitrary aesthetic one: 'I suppose that there is something in the human form that appeals to the artistic turn of mind more powerfully than any other The Conversion to Science animal shape can. But I've not confined myself to manmaking .... ' 34 Again, the result of one of Moreau's experiments 'got loose by accident- I never meant it to get away'- and killed a Kanaka. 35 When Prendick reflects on Moreau's experiment he is disgusted at the purposelessness of it all, just as Darwin's contemporaries found the idea of a cruel and purposeless Nature so abhorrent: It was the wantonness that stirred me.

Such a view involves a total misreading of the article. When Wells speaks of 'those scientific writers who have talked so glibly of the reign of inflexible law', he is clearly not intending to imply that all scientists do so, for in the same article he cites the work of Darwin and Wallace as a 'clear assertion of the uniqueness of living things'. Moreover, although Wells was certainly not blind to the limitations of scientific theory and experimental procedures, he was nevertheless sure that they were the best equipment we at present have in the search for truth: it is the 'physicists and chemists who are now trying the next step forward in a hesitating way'.

There never has been, it seems, exactly the same cause and exactly the same effect. Because the universe continues to be unique and original down to the minutest particle of the smallest atom, that is no reason for supposing it is not nevertheless after the pattern of the rational process it has built up in the human mind ... the direct, adequate, dynamic causation of every event, however minute, remains the only possible working hypothesis for the scientific worker. 13 The other basic misunderstanding arises from the false reverence with which many laymen regard science.

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