Cat's Cradle

Scientific Innovation and Cat's Cradle: Do Our Beliefs Impede Progress? College

Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle asserts that our attitudes—as well as the behaviors that stem from them—toward the implications of scientific innovation impact the decisions we make. In doing so, he provokes the reader to investigate the potential repercussions of viewing science as a holy grail of sorts, following it as if it is a religion. The individuals in the novel who rely solely on the acquisition of knowledge are those who contribute to the end of the world, a result that is meant to highlight the dangers of not looking past objective facts. This tendency to undermine the importance of anything but science is apparent in the behaviors of many of the novel’s characters, the first of which is Felix Hoenikker, a man instrumental in creating the atomic bomb who does not contemplate how his work might affect the world. As an individual who “just [i]sn’t interested in people” (Vonnegut 13), he routinely fails to relate what he does as a scientist to the moral implications that his work has on society at large.

With little to no regard for others, “people can’t get at [Felix],” and when faced with the concept of sin as it related to the creation of his atomic bomb, Felix replied, “‘what is sin?’” (Vonnegut 17). With no interest in the...

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