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By Karl Fink

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Moving past the technological achievements that we derive from scientific prog­ ress, these deeply human concerns legitimate science in a context beyon d material needs, one that we might dub spiritual, aesthetic, emotio nal, existential, or just plain humane. Each of these questions arises from the conundrum of self-consciousness, a consciousness of ourselves in an alien and strange world. 6 With self-awareness, people of all time have asked these same basic questions, and science, for better and for worse, has pro­ vided its own unique answers.

Hostile commentators too often have failed to differentiate the pur­ p orted crimes of science from the social uses of technology (Proctor 1 9 9 1 ). The efforts to discern the complex political and economic forces � u i� i n g scie nce, along with the more charged task of adjudicating the d ' ? • c t m ent of scientific callousness, have resulted in ongoing controver­ s�c s th a t are unavoidably ideological in character. So while we might s • m pl y disregard Luddite critiques, a nagging insight lingers.

First ortkr refers to the direct industry of sci­ its epistemological project defined narrowly. Stcond order refers to � IR te rpretations and applications of scientific findings and theories. c • e n tis ts in their technical work deal with first order business; all of us � e�c�, � 30 SciENCE AND THE QuEST FOR MEANING ponder second order issues. Second order answers have been assened by religionists and secularists for their own respective purposes, and in th eir ensuing debates, they have used scientific theories to suppon radi cal ly different metaphysical positions.

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