Is science in a futile fight?

ib4walrus's picture

 So in my discussion group this past Thursday, we talked about whether or not The Plague was about science trying to overcome an invincible enemy, specifically in this context, the plague.  Looking at this time period and the status of science, what could they have possibly done?  Extending it to even modern times, should a super-virus/bacteria appear, how would science attempt to stop it?  One could even argue that science is the cause of pandemics such as this.  By constantly producing anti-bacterial soaps and other substances made to kill off most (but not all) bacteria, those who survive become resistant to that specific type of anti-bacterial and will reproduce to create a new population immune to that.  This results in an arms race between science's attempt to exterminate the "bad" bacteria and nature's answer with resistance.  Who will ultimately win or will there ever even be a victor in this seemingly never-ending cycle? This was my first reaction and thought when we pondered on why this book would be given to an aspiring scientist.  I feel that most scientists have a very optimistic outlook on science's capabilities in its current stage and its potential for growth.  However, this book causes the scientist to pause and consider the case when there will never be an answer or solution for a present problem.  Would the optimistic and fervent scientist be able to accept defeat?

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