You dehumanize a man as much by returning him to nature - by making him one with rocks, vegetation, and animals - as by turning him into a machine. Both the natural and the mechanical are the opposite of that which is uniquely human. Nature is a self-made machine, more perfectly automated than any automated machine. To create something in the image of nature is to create a machine, and it was by learning the inner working of nature that man became a builder of machines. It is also obvious that when man domesticated animals and plants he acquired self-made machines for the production of food, power, and beauty.
On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.