Cumprir a promessa genómica

VIENA – Para a maioria das pessoas, uma promessa é razão para se esperar alguma coisa, uma esperança bem fundamentada, que não é passageira. E éuma promessa nesta acepção que liga a ciência à sociedade: as pessoas acreditam que os progressos científicos e tecnológicos são a chave para percorrer o caminho incerto rumo a um mundo melhor, no qual a vida das gerações futuras possa ser mais longa, mais saudável e mais feliz.

Esta promessa teve origem há cerca de 400 anos, com a institucionalização da ciência moderna. Após a descoberta de que a matemática podia ser aplicada na compreensão do mundo físico, um pequeno grupo de filósofos naturalistas voltou-se para o empirismo experimental com objectivos práticos. Liderada por esta minoria, a revolução científica varreu a Europa, estendendo-se posteriormente ao resto do mundo.

Na sua obra Instauratio Magna (Grande Restauração), Francis Bacon, um dos mais eloquentes defensores da ciência moderna, transmitiu uma visão de um mundo novo, transformado pela investigação sistemática dos fenómenos naturais. Declarou que, ao imitar e distorcer a natureza, os seus segredos serão revelados - sendo possível manipulá-la de forma a melhorar a vida dos seres humanos. O objectivo pragmático de Bacon de utilizar uma compreensão científica das causas naturais para “concretização de todas as coisas possíveis”, que actualmente se designa por inovação, foi a promessa original feita pela ciência à sociedade e constituiu o núcleo do Iluminismo.

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