What's Happening

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Silver2195: Crichton's works are not an example. The point is that technology should be used responsibly; studying genetics is fine, but further scientific study and a big change in the social climate is needed before we start making ape-human hybrids.

Idle Dandy: I can't agree with the Alien reference. That's more of an Evil Corporation thing. Weyland-Yutani didn't create the aliens; they just know about them and want them for their weapons division or other greedy purposes. There's actually very little related to science in Alien or Aliens, as the characters aren't even scientists, just miners and marines, respectively (I know nothing of the alleged third and fourth movies; I deny their existence.)

Rocket Master: Guys, um, i've seen this one in Pokemon. Mewtwo, i think it was. Mewtwo was an attempt at creating a super-clone of Mew.

Morgan Wick: Thank you for your suggestion! When you feel an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the Edit this page link at the top. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes ó they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome.

(Yes, I just snarkily swiped Wikipedia's message to the effect of "why don't you fix it yourself, since you brought it up?")

Idle Dandy: Don't know if that was in reply to me, but OK. I'll snip the Alien line. I'm very, very willing to add examples to everything. I hate to snip someone else's stuff.

Morgan Wick: Nah, I was talking to RM. And now this has become a bad sitcom plot that I could swear we have but which I can't think of off the top of my head.

Nornagest: I don't think the Serenity example counts. The Aesop there seems to be more about the excesses of government interventionism than scientific research.
Looney Toons: I removed the following addition to the points at the (current) bottom of the page

  • The Amish are a good example of this.

because the Amish do not, as I understand it, declare any science or technology "against God". They evaluate and decide whether or not to use technologies based on whether or not it will adversely affect the integrity of their community. Anything that is likely to encourage members of the community to isolate themselves from others, or distract them from the needs of the community, is either restricted to business use (computers, telephones) or outright discarded.

Ununnilium: Okay, I'm kind of ripping this up, so feel free to call me on it:

  • Gargoyles played this to the hilt. Every single scientist or doctor in the entire series is either misguided or outright evil, every robot turns evil (at least, until magic shows it the way), etc...
    • The robots didn't turn evil, they were designed to be evil or in one case hacked by the villains. Magic was used for evil too

Yeah, honestly, I don't see it.

  • Serenity / Firefly: In the feature movie, it is revealed that the Reavers — a race of madmen who torture, rape, eat and then sew the skin of their victims to their own skin — are the result of a government experiment intended to make people more docile gone awry.
    • Yet Mal doesn't condemn them for science, but for trying to change human nature. It's the arrogance that is condemned. In fact, the only true luddites in the show turned out to be religious fanatics.

This seems to be Government Is Evil, not Science Is Evil. The problem wasn't the science, it was the idea of making people easier to control.

  • Most Spider-Man villains are science-gone-wrong, but then, Spidey himself is a science geek and a product of science, so...

Self-defeating. Science is just as often the problem-solver as it is the problem-creator here.

though be fair, this seems to simply be the natural outgrowth of Crichton's obsession with science — the fact that all of his heroes who live to see act two are intellectuals moderately undermines this trope.
  • On the other hand, most of these intellectuals end up whinging about maybe we shouldn't be messing about with whatever-it-is, we're not wise enough.

Indeed. Self-defeating Conversation in the Main Page.

Sphere features a space ship from the future that fell back in time with a dangerous alien artifact that's really a human artifact from even further in the future (two for the price of one!), and the list goes on...

I don't think this one really counts. There's never really a suggestion that the future humans shouldn't have made the ship. (And when did it say where the Sphere came from?)

  • The basis of the webcomic Girl Genius. Somewhat justified in the Girl Genius universe as the majority of "Sparks" (as scientific geniuses are called in this universe) have tended to be dangerously demented lunatics who have unleashed all manner of horrors upon the innocent populace just because they could.
    • Although they are known Sparks, the Heterodyne Boys are worshiped as Big Damn Heroes. (Probably because all they seemed to fight were the fruits of more traditionally-insane Sparks' labors.)

Nothing that stars a heroic Mad Scientist could possibly fall under this trope, IMHO.

  • The gleefully trashy B-Movie C.H.U.D. could have been taken to mean this, but primarily emphasized The Government as the villain, rather than science, especially when it turned out that 'C.H.U.D.' really stood for Contaminated Hazard Urban Disposal. then it's not an example? `.`

  • The short-lived series Century City covered lawyers in the year 2030, and their cases involved the advanced technology of the time. One of the characters, Lee May, was part of a "Genetic Prototype Project" and had joined the firm as a "test case" to see how "genetically enhanced humans function in society."

This seems less like "Science Is Bad!" and more like "Science!" or even "Science?"

  • Also Real Life: if you've ever had a computer crash so hard that the front power button won't do anything, and then find out there's no switch on the back either, you begin to sympathize with this trope.
    • Hint for those with that problem: hold the power button for 4 seconds. If that doesn't work, oh well, the "official" power disconnection point is the power cable.

Doesn't really have anything to do with the trope.

  • In the original series (and sometimes in later ones), any attempt to upgrade the ship with some "new-fangled technology" went hopelessly awry and had to be destroyed completely, after which everyone sighs gratefully at staying exactly where they are.
  • Any species with a higher technology level than the Federation is typically shown to be evil, uncaring, moronic, arrogant, or some mixture of all four, but it definitely needs to be taken down a peg.
  • Real Life: Some extreme anti-Western groups/nations condemn technology for being "dehumanizing" or "against God". Funny how they have no problem using high tech weapons rather than good old swords and bows...
    • There are also extreme fundamentalist Christian groups who condemn technology for being, you guessed it, "against God". They do this by posting on the Internet and offering DVDs that preach the same message. The irony seems to be just beyond their grasp.
      • Or the ones that have no problems with advanced medicines and organ transplants (with the exceptions of Christian Scientists) yet cry foul at stem cell research and things of that nature.

"Every", "any" — these are useless words. Bring in some actual, specific examples.

  • Almost every Captain the franchise has had is ultimately much happier with some simple pastoral low-tech pleasure than doing the high-tech space exploring they're supposed to love and be driven to:
    • Kirk would rather be riding horses and making breakfast in his little farmhouse. (As seen in movie VII)
    • Picard would rather be digging for broken pots and... well, riding horses and having a bunch of kids in a little (French) farmhouse. (Also movie VII)
    • Sisko would rather be playing baseball and fishing (or working in his father's seafood restaurant).
    • Janeway would rather be... uh... settled down to a menial job snuggling with some bland human alien. ... Janeway, why are you such a letdown even at this? I mean, even Archer indulged himself with water polo and taking his dog for walks., because they enjoy doing these things, that is all they ever want to do. Despite their repeated statements about exploring the universe being the most important thing.

Janitor: Pulled

Old Lady #1: "When my ex-husband passed away, the insurance company said his policy didn't cover him."
Old Lady #2: "They didn't have enough money for the funeral."
Old Lady #3: "It's so hard nowadays, with all the gangs and rap music..."
Old Lady #1: "What about the robots?"
Old Lady #4: "Oh, they're everywhere!"
Old Lady #1: "I don't even know why the scientists make them."
Old Lady #2: "Darren and I have a policy with Old Glory Insurance, in case we're attacked by robots."
Old Lady #1: "An insurance policy with a robot plan? Certainly, I'm too old."
Old Lady #2: "Old Glory covers anyone over the age of 50 against robot attack, regardless of current health."

Way too many lines of quote before the topic.

Joeyjojo: Pulled.

  • While there is usually not much scientific progress in Dungeons & Dragons (where it could be argued that magical research takes its place), the druid class is still very much built around the stereotype of the hermit who lives in the forest and uses his or her nature-granted magical powers to defend the wilderness against the encroachment of civilization. (There may be some handwringing about 'balance' involved, but the fact remains that we rarely if ever see a druid actually taking civilization's side in that conflict.)

Itís a really long bow to draw Science Is Bad from that.

Chuckg: As regards the "Terminator" entry, several points. One, Dyson would have had no control over how his creations were used once his research was finished. Two, even without Dyson there was a distinct probability that Cyberdyne could complete the research anyway... having an existing sample of the technology to reverse-engineer enormously increases the odds that simply plugging away at it will eventually solve your problem, even if you don't have access to genius. So cooperating with the effort to steal and destroy the original T-800 hardware was Dyson's best option for avoiding the holocaust.

As for his death... do not get me started on how utterly fuckheaded the SWAT team was there. As far as the police could know, Dr. Dyson was very likely a hostage. (The desk guard's account of events would be ambiguous: was Dyson cooperating or working under coercion? Even without a gun directly pointed at him he's outnumbered three to one by people who have guns, when he doesn't.) Do they not show the SWAT team a picture of the guy they're supposed to be rescuing? Are policemen supposed to open fire on anything but a clearly confirmed hostile target during a hostage rescue? Was Dyson even holding a gun when they first saw him?
Haven: I took out this example for the reasons cited, plus the fact that it's only the Krell's id machine that is seen as bad, not "science" (I mean, the good guys fly around in a spaceship without coming under fire). If there's an aesop, it's "power wielded irresponsibly is bad".
  • Forbidden Planet is a classic example of this trope. The Krell Precursors reached the Sufficiently Advanced Alien pinnacle of enlightenment, and wiped themselves out instantly. Unfortunately, they left behind enough Lost Technology for their Deadly Upgrade to be replicated.
    • Although, at the end, the Captain remarks (to cheer up the scientists' beautiful, mourning daughter) that perhaps one day we humans will reach the Krell's state of sufficient advancement, and be able to learn from their mistakes so that we don't wipe ourselves out with monsters from the Id. Make of that what you will...
      • Plus, Robbie the Robot is an A-OK guy, who even gives you free booze. For a movie where science wipes out a civilization, it's not too anti-science as a whole.

Ununnilium: Okay, I'm kind of ripping this up, so feel free to call me on it:

  • Gargoyles played this to the hilt. Every single scientist or doctor in the entire series is either misguided or outright evil, every robot turns evil (at least, until magic shows it the way), etc...
    • The robots didn't turn evil, they were designed to be evil or in one case hacked by the villains. Magic was used for evil too.

DoKnowButchie: It may not be well expressed, and may not be intentional, but I do think that the series does have an anti-science undercurrent. Consider that almost every advancement in technology—Lasers, A.I., life-like robots, nanomachinery is almost exclusively used by the bad guys (at least until Bad Guys turned the meaning of "Bad Guys" on its head). Consider that science tends to go wrong even when it's not being used by the bad guys (Matrix). Consider that genetic engineering/transhumanism is openly derided as an "atrocity" by at least one sympathetic character, and that the only character to make a counter-argument is Sevarius, the closest thing the show has to a Complete Monster. Consider the episode "Heritage", which explicitly does show the ideas of rational, science-oriented Natsilane to be wrong, and considers his adoption of traditional tribe values as good. Consider that the only unquestionably good character with an aptitude for science—Lexington—doesn't really do much with it aside from explaining it.

Now, like I said, this may have been an unintended conscequence rather than an intentional thing. Given the stories progression, I'm pretty sure that things would eventually go beyond "science is uniformly good/bad", as they have in "Bad Guys". However, given what we have seen, I do feel confident in saying that the show is an example of the trope. Once I manage to write something I feel comfortable with, I'll be re-adding the show to the page.

___________________________Rename_________________________________________ Maybe it should be called Technology is bad, this trope seems to be cristsixing technology, not science (two differn things.

Asmodemus: They mean the same thing to the average person.

Also, some Science Is Bad moments come from experiments and attempts to discover something new. Technology is usually used, but it's the pursuit of science and knowledge itself going too far that is seen as being Bad in such cases, not the technology as such.

Haven: Removed this because, well, basically it's everything that could be wrong with an example. I think I would have preferred a huge wall of text because that would have at least explained how it related to this trope, and then I could have trimmed it down.

  • In the New Dark Age ending of Deus Ex, along with the Templar ending of Invisible War.

The main reason why this trope exists is probably because of the Cold War. Science nearly did end the world as we know it, and while it doesn't mean that science is always bad, I don't think that this trope should always be viewed with ridicule.