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Author Topic: Is science important?  (Read 2037 times)

Offline franklinw94

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Is science important?
« on: 16/02/2013 18:03:22 »
Science have need everywhere. Without science we can't lead our daily life. So we all are realize the importance of science.



Mod edit - I've formatted the title as a question - please do this to help keep the forum tidy and easy to navigate. Thanks!
« Last Edit: 18/02/2013 09:50:10 by BenV »


 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Is science important?
« Reply #1 on: 18/02/2013 14:38:19 »
An understanding of science is important to us humans in modern life, but to other animals and to plants no understanding is needed. Even to humans, science was of no consequence for the first few hundred thousand years, or so.

Our problem is, we don't understand science as well as we like to think we do. In fact our dabbling in science has caused more problems than it has solved, so far. Everything was trundling along just fine, until we put a spanner in the works.
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Is science important?
« Reply #2 on: 18/02/2013 16:31:45 »
I was listening to a a series of lectures on microbiology in history -the Black plague,cholera, small pox, typhus, scarlet fever, Bone Break fever, syphilis,  TB, malaria, and lots more. The professor shares all the gruesome details about what it was like to die from that disease, and what it was like to live in a town or village where 30-90% of the people were wiped out, with no one to care for the sick, bury the dead, or farm the fields.

I think people feel that science has caused more problems than it's solved because we can see the problems of today but have a dim memory of the problems of the past.

You read almost nothing about 1918 flu and some history books make it sound like a nasty cold that only killed very young or old people.   The 1918 flu which killed 50-100 million out of 1.8billion on the planet. Like SAARs it killed young healthy people. The muscle aches and pains were so bad, some people screamed when touched. Lungs filled with fluid and bubbles of gas, fevers were so high, that doctors sometimes thought they were dealing with malaria or dengue fever, or some other disease.  It killed 675,000 Americans out of 105 million. Britain lost 228,000.

Our memory of plagues and famines is surprisingly short.
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Is science important?
« Reply #3 on: 19/02/2013 11:00:22 »
I certainly can't dispute that science has done wonders for us human beings, well, so far as we are concerned anyway. But, it is our ability to overcome natural disaster, disease, famine etc. which has been a major factor in the human population explosion from around 1bn in 1800 to 7bn today and the distinct possibility of between 10bn and 16bn by the end of this century. And we are not finished yet; we continue to find new cures and procedures for health problems, resulting in ever more individuals surviving childhood and living longer than ever before.

Inoculation programmes in Africa ensure more children reach maturity, but families continue to be large. In the past, a high number of offspring was essential because of the 6 - 10 children born perhaps only 3 might survive to reach maturity. In the developed world we have come to terms with the fact that science has progressed to the point where we need only give birth to the number of children we want, or are able to support. It is highly unlikely that any of our children will fall foul of natural disaster. If we do not communicate and educate Africans on this point and continue to help more children survive, some African nations will have greater problems feeding their population than they have today, putting resources elsewhere under greater strain.

Over the last 50 years, or so, the west has benefitted from technological advances giving us TV, radio, telephone, automobiles, air travel, microwave ovens, cell phones, digital cameras, laptops, tablets, readers etc etc etc. All of these are energy consumers. While they were invented, developed and originally made in the west, most are now made in the 'emerging' nations, along with our designer jeans, handbags, shoes and everyday clothing and other trappings of our modern world. Even many of those goods bearing the label 'Made in the USA' or 'Made in the EU' are dependant on component parts made in India or China. A pair of designer jeans made in India for a few pennies might sell on top London fashion street for 100 or more. An electrical gadget made in China for a few dollars might sell in New York for $200 or more. Now those slave labourers are seeing what Americans, British, French, Germans, Japanese etc have got and seeing that Koreans are getting it too and are saying 'We want that too'. And who are we to deny them? With a population of over 2.5bn between them, India and China are putting a great strain on the world's resources.

What is our answer to the problem of generating enough energy? Easy and economical to access fossil fuels are beginning to run short. As the episode with BP in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrated, we are having to extract oil and gas from ever more difficult and potentially dangerous places than before. Nuclear power leaves us with a long term legacy of highly dangerous spent fuel rods and as Chernobyl, Long Island and Fukushima have demonstrated, accidents and the forces of nature make this a perilous road to go down. Solar, wind and various means of hydro electricity cannot deliver sufficient power. Other 'eco friendly' means, such as chopping down vast swathes of diverse forest to plant palm monocultures for bio diesel are about as 'eco friendly' as poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Should we not slow down, or even stop? Take stock of where we are and where we are going. Ask ourselves, 'Can this planet sustain our aspirations?'

As Man evolved, nature (of which we are a part, like it or not) evolved ways and means to control our population, just as it does with all other species. Through science, we are gradually lifting ourselves out of nature, beyond its control, and that will be our downfall.
« Last Edit: 19/02/2013 11:02:49 by Don_1 »
 

Offline cheryl j

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Re: Is science important?
« Reply #4 on: 20/02/2013 16:55:35 »
I agree with much of what Don says. As old problems are solved, new ones seems to arise, sometimes, but not always, as a consequence of solving those problems. Modern medicine cured many of the infectious diseases of South Pacific islanders, increasing their quality of life and life expectancy, only to find years later an increase in morbidity as these people adopted a western diet and sedentary life style, accompanied by soaring rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

Some of the consequences of scientific intervention can be controlled by the individual, however, if they have they have the knowledge. It is pretty difficult to control whether you die of Bubonic plague.

If you wreck your car, it does not necessarily mean that cars are bad, only that you should drive more carefully. And if cars are endangering the planet through global warming, then they must be redesigned. Problems or defects with technology do not invalidate technology - they simply demonstrate the need for better technology, and I would argue it does continue to improve. Many of the problems you mentioned have nothing to do with technology, but greed, either by consumers or corporations focused mainly on profits. Greed is a human weakness, not a consequence of science or technology. 
 

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Re: Is science important?
« Reply #4 on: 20/02/2013 16:55:35 »

 

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