Linking satire and science evokes the standard response that late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century satirists, individually and practically in chorus, attacked the foolishness and the excess of scientific experimentation, especially that demonstrated by the Royal Society. Satirists, so conventional wisdom holds, argue that the so-called natural philosophers' farfetched projects have nothing to do with the understanding of human beings, the strengthening of a wise society, or the improvement of the moral state. The third book of Gulliver's Travels and the last book of the Dunciad confirm this view and in treatise after treatise appear as the supporting examples. Another approach—one that offers similarity rather than antagonism, stresses mutuality of method, recognizes simultaneous evolution, and results in greater understanding—may be preferable. Satire and science have much in common. From origins and development to objectives and methods, the two show a striking similarity. Understanding that similarity illuminates both subjects and their practitioners.



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