lec_16_critiques_modeling_complexity

lec_16_critiques_modeling_complexity - Sciences...

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1 1 Sciences Transformed: The Sixties, Computers, Environmentalism 1 1960s radicalism: against what? 2 Critiques of a soulless world. 3 Images of Science in the 1960s 4 The environmental movement and science/technology 5 Environmental sciences 6 Models (computational) 7 Modeling and the science of climate change 2 1 1960s Radicalism: Against What? The 1960s protests were for civil rights, and then against the war in Vietnam. Feminism and environmentalism soon emerged also as big issues. What did all of this have to do with science and technology? Vietnam protest at UCLA 3 The Mission of Science, from Truth to Consumption Science expanded hugely in the 1950s, and quickly grew complacent. It offered an easier life, i.e. household conveniences and more things. In the 2000s, this is entirely different. Now science promises more cool things. 4 Science offered a better world (?) The RAND Corporation looks forward in 1954 to the home computer of 2004. 5 Militaristic science was a great popular success (and still is?) But in the Vietnam era, this seemed to many a highly negative association. Is it real? Is it satire? In our era, who can tell? 6 2 Critiques of a soulless world In the early 20 th century, mass- production and standardization were much admired. Large business organizations also created relatively standardized people.
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2 7 Great technological systems Here are two technological networks in the US. Both are associated with intensive scientific work. Nuclear weapons were particularly suspect, but both came to stand for soulless mechanism. Does science make the world uniform? 8 Revolt against the machine Lewis Mumford (1895-1990) was already skeptical of “megatechnics” in the 1920s and 1930s ( Technics and Civilization , 1934). In 1945 he was deeply disturbed by the dropping of the atomic bomb. He became an opponent of Robert Moses and urban redevelopment in New York. In 1967-1970 he published two volumes of The Myth of the Machine, railing against “the pentagon of power” and a quantified, mechanical world. 9 Philosopher of Eros Another critic of technological (capitalistic) civilization was Herbert Marcuse (shown here in Berlin in 1968), who denounced repression in the name of Freud and Marx, contrasting deep philosophy with shallow science and living nature with technological machinery. 10 In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.… Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial- military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades…. Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course HIST 3C taught by Professor Porter during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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lec_16_critiques_modeling_complexity - Sciences...

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