Scientific understanding and technological intervention may provide two different paths for addressing complex social problems. More scientific understanding is commonly prescribed as necessary to guide appropriate policy interventions and behavior. Technologies in contrast may offer a direct solution to a problem that does not demand policy or behavioral change. While solving a problem through better scientific understanding and changed behavior may seem more ethically or operationally satisfying than solving it through appropriate technological intervention, it is also often much more difficult. Drawing on several examples such as childhood vaccines and climate change, I argue that scientific knowledge has a tendency to exacerbate value disputes that impede action, whereas appropriate technological interventions have a capacity to sidestep or resolve such disputes. I end with the suggestion that some notion of pragmatic technological progressivism needs to be resurrected as part of any hopeful agenda for enhancing justice, equality, freedom, and mutual understanding the world.