Humans love to experiment and basically wonder, "If this happens, then what will be the reaction over there?" But sometimes our experiments have greater consequences than we understand when undertaking them. And because there are times where the results of the experiments take decades show up, most people believe that the experiment showed everything was just fine. But as we learn more, the naive belief that we really understand enough to play poker with nature keeps coming up.
Tonight's example covers how easy it is to run an experiment on ourselves without understanding the real consequences. Not too long ago it once seemed like such a good idea to "Control Nature" by using a generous application of pesticides and fertilizers in order to overcome nature's pests and limits. Yet it is this gamble that is the subject of NY Times' Nicholas Kristof's concern that perhaps we are playing a losing hand.
The Greeks believed the gods were playing with humans to amuse themselves. Perhaps one of their cosmic jokes is to let humans learn just enough to set off dangerous experiments on ourselves and our environment, and then only later let us learn enough more to understand the terrible consequences of our bold battle with nature for ourselves.