Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media
by F. David Peat, 230 pp, $24.95, ISBN 0-309-07641-2, Washington, DC, Joseph Henry Press, 2002 (text available at http://www.nap.edu).
Early in the 20th century we were giddy and confident in the knowledge that rational thinking would solve many of our ills. Science would provide an abundance of food and energy. Peace and prosperity were within reach. No accomplishment remained beyond the grasp of enlightened thought. Certainty was the zeitgeist of this early modern period.
Today, 100 years later, we face environmental deterioration, emerging infections, bioterrorism, and doubts about our earth's ability to sustain us. We did not anticipate this transition from cocky certainty to disquieting uncertainty. Our views and our Western emphasis on science and progress may have led us to this state.
ScienceFrom Certainty to Uncertainty: The Story of Science and Ideas in the Twentieth Century. JAMA. 2002;288(19):2477-2478. doi:10.1001/jama.288.19.2477