Can A Cautionary Tale About Science Still Be Pro-Science?

Illustration for article titled Can A Cautionary Tale About Science Still Be Pro-Science?

Transcendence was just the latest piece of pop culture to depict wrongheaded scientists playing God, and a lot of people complained about its anti-science message. But that made us wonder: Does a cautionary tale about science have to be anti-science?

After all, Frankenstein is often described as the first science fiction novel, and it depicts science gone wrong. And many of our favorite characters are mad scientists. Real-life good science depends on experimental limits and careful parameters, so is there anything intrinsically wrong with depicting what happens when those limits aren't respected?

What do you think: Can a story warn about the dangers of science without being anti-science? And what's your favorite cautionary tale, if any?

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Europa Report managed to be about a scientific expedition gone terribly wrong without veering into "There are some things man was not meant to know!" territory. In fact, it's incredibly pro-science and pro-exploration.


In the end, the character of Rosa Dasque uses her dying moments to ensure that evidence of extraterrestrial life gets back to Earth. It's not played as a moment of horror, but as a noble sacrifice. I really loved it.