Terminators: Wordplays for Ideas & Insights
Science is not Omniscience
Some of the issues discussed at the Asilomar conference can be expressed in
these words: science, conscience, omniscience, prescience and conscious.
Science comes from the Latin 'scire' meaning "to know."
'Omni' means "all" and thus "omniscience" means "all-knowing." Ironically,
"science" to a researcher is as much the pursuit of what we don't know as it
is the codifying of what we do know. Yet many people expect omniscience of
Prescience means foreknowledge to some, foresight to others. It's not just a
vague intuition or a hunch, but the ability to peer down the road and make out
obstacles and opportunities.
In some uses, prescience means to know what is going to happen before it
happens. In "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, the Ghost of Christmas
Yet to Come carries both connotations of prescience, when Scrooge asks of him,
"Are these shadows of things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that
May be, only?"
Conscience literally translates as "with knowledge" but means the moral voice
or the ethical compass that guides our choices.
Conscious, as in "conscious decision," implies an awareness and an
acknowledged choice between two or more options, where the options are weighed
and assessed, and some are chosen while others are not. Scrooge knew well of