In 2:17 of the Bible's(i'm assuming everybody knows what Bible I'm talking about!), "God" tells Adam to not eat of the tree of life; otherwise, he will know things, good and evil, and become mortal. Then, chapter three of
Genesis has the Serpent tricking Adam's wife, Eve, into eating of the tree of life, and the chapter has some creative mythological explanations of how human female birth is painfull and how the Serpent got to be the way it is.
I've seen worse theorizing quite honestly, but it is the idea of becoming conscious of knowledge and good/evil that I'm interested here. After Jericho as far as we can tell its being the first settled agricultural community - or, certainly the most succesfull of the first settled agricultural communities, Civilization as defined by agricultural living spread up and down from Jericho in the Egytian and Hittite empires, and then further east to the Babylonian and Persian empires. When the Bible was written, civilizations had already come and gone; dark ages had already come and gone; mysterious ruins already dotted the landscape; knowledge had already been lost of bygone eras of human history; they didn't even know Jericho was the first agricultural ruins back then. The ideas that mankind was fallable was already in the air when the Bible was written - that civilization has social problems.
And then, there was knowledge. Mankind noticed over the thousands of years of civilization already that knowledge was unique amongst the living things of the world; it's what separated us from them - but, at what price? They knew that words can sometimes hurt or help adversaries; you were not allowed to utter the word of god in some cultures. They didn't know whether they wanted knowledge or not; sometimes it helped them, sometimes it didn't because either they didn't make up the knowledge right, or somebody else came up with better knowledge; throughout the bible, they demonize it at one time and ask for it sometime later.
I'm seeing much the same with the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology folks. I mean even Plato had backwards notions of knowledge and how it relates to the human condition. These guys, Bill Joy and his followers, sound as mixed up like astrology and alchemy is; and, like Plato, they seek to do things with 'straightedge and compass' only. Or, like Aristotle, his physics is all wrong; like Aristotles 'four element' physics, CRN's understanding of ethics and science are all 'crystal spheres.' I can't claim to be the Newton of social-psychology, but I'd claim comparison to Democritus over Aristotle/Plato.