Modernity optimistically and fervently believed that all of Reality , the entire chemical, biological and physical world, was plastic of a definite sort : thermo-set-able.
Everything - even human beings - was malleable but once set perfectly and 'cured' would remain thus - perfect - forever.
It was, in a sense, a view of reality as all K-selectable ; round rods for every round hole : every niche perfectly matched to an activity or being - forever.
Modernity feared, a fear never far away from this optimistic view of Reality, that Reality could also be plastic of the thermo-softening sort, if left in the wrong human hands : infinitely re-meltable in new shapes, most of them horrible mutations far far from beauty and utility.
Only a firm - tough - brutal - hand could keep the human forces of r-select from ruining Paradise.
Today we tend to more see Reality as r-selecting and thermo-softening : infinitely and eternally unpredictable.
But as post-Modernists, we tend to lay the credit or blame for this less at the feet of humans and more at the feet of Nature itself.
Humans can still create any chemical we can imagine, for example, but we no longer claim that we know, in advance , how it will interact with the world outside the lab.
This is because all of the hyperreal claims made by WWII authorities on both sides all fell flat on their face-----making us survivors eternally suspicious of extravagant claims about the human ability to precisely control Reality's plasticity.
Man manipulate the plasticity of Nature : yes.
But precisely manipulate that plasticity : no, no a thousand times no....