Posted in Science and Technology

GP ESSAY : Discuss the view that too much faith is placed in science.

Unedited Student Essay from 2010 – Student’s final grade for the A-levels : B

In this modern age, science and technology is found in every nook and cranny of the world. From the computer to the ubiquitous mobile phone. Science and technology has changed our lives for the better. The good news is that technological advancement nowadays are improving at an exponential rate to assist us in our daily lives. It is no wonder why most would cite that science is the way of the future. However this has led to a mindset where most would expect that science would pave the way in solving our world’s ills. Some of the world’s problems such as environment, poverty and even the world’s security. There are instances where science has made progress in alleviating these challenges, however in placing our hopes on science is like placing all our eggs in one basket, if it fails we will be bound to inevitable doom. Thus this is why I feel that the notion that we place too much faith in science is valid where we rely of technology to help us solve our problems.

With an increasing rate of global warming and demand for energy, most people feel that science is the most feasible method of dealing with these issues. This has led to a mad rush of scientist to come up with newer and better technologies targeting these issue, such as constant improvement of energy efficiency and in the search for the elusive dependable renewable energy source. Looking at how technology is advancing there is this view that it is just a matter of time before such issues are solved. However this is why we place too much faith in science. There is already a way of filling the demand for energy which does not contribute to global warming. Wind energy is cited by Green Peace as being able to fuel the world with enough electrical output with current technology. Unfortunately, this is not done as it is not cost efficient and companies do want want to share their intellectual property without personal gain. Thus countries like China who have the capability to delve into such clean energy could lose out because they do not yet have the technology to create it efficiently as technological giants like the US while the US does not have any interest in sharing their technology in rotator turbine in their wind mills. Thus scientists working in the confines of their national borders would continue striving for newer and more efficient ways of creating energy and thus creating further wastage of resources. Even if this new technology  allows the older technology to come cheaper and affordable to the poorer nations to efficiently solve their energy demand in the future, this step (of developing science for national interests) seems illogical as the environment is a global issue that has no respect for national boundaries thus nations should prioritise the protection of the environment rather than mettle profits. In spite of this, people are still beguiled by the allure of technology to be the main solution, rather than cooperation

Transnational corporations are a key producer of greenhouse gases which exacerbate the problem of global warming with their energy hungry mass production factories and thus they should be thwarted in several aspects to mitigate their level of pollution. Even with legislation like limited carbon credits, these companies try to find loopholes where they purchase such carbon credits from companies who work scientific methods on reducing the output on these greenhouse gases by dumping it in places like the ocean to give a temporary relief on the environment which will probably have a backlash in the near future. This causes issues for future generations instead of solving the problem we are delaying the inevitable unless something is done! Thus this is why the view that too much faith is placed on science. Irresponsibility cannot be solved with science.

There has been an substantial amount of research done in ameliorating the problem of global hunger and poverty. With the success of the green revolution in food production using science and technology to increase yield, there is and increasing number of countries using such technology to increase output. In spite of increasing food production and yield there is an increasing number of people dying from starvation. Is this due to the burgeoning population? I beg to differ as many organisation such as UN has stated that with current yields there is enough food to provide for every human being in the world, but why is there still so much starvation in the world? Well that has to do with man’s nature of being selfish and the greed for fuel which lead to much of food production to be used to produce ethanol to fuel our gadgets such as cars. With the USA being one of the largest producer of food there is still a demand for import for food even though there is more than enough food supply in their country. With this in mind how can man place so much faith in science to further improve our agriculture yield to feed the starving. But the surprise is that many nations are in constant research on improving their food production. Although it is irrefutable that some faith in science to provide for the starving is essential since it has shown its effects with the green revolution that it is possible to improve yield with science and technology. Nonetheless with current technology we can solve this world ill and do not require further improvement in technology, what we really need is empathy and caring of the rich and not greed and selfishness to provide supplies in good will to these poorer nations. Thus there is too much faith placed in science to solve the problem of global hunger when there the answer to the problem is right in front of us!

With a proliferation of terrorism and extremist groups, it is little surprise that global security is a key issue. Science and technology in the area of weaponry has improved tremendously and many nations fund heavily in such projects to improve their weapons. These nations state that the funds are to improve national security and global security against attacks. Weapons of mass destruction are also heavily research to provide a more deadly effect to its victims. With such weapons in a country it is normal to feel that we are safe as this acts as a deterrence to other nations. It is true to a certain extend that with such high level of technology we will be secure from attacks as history has shown that nations with nuclear capability has not attack one another even when tension escalates, just before the breaking points the nations backs down. Any logical person will know that if a nuclear war breaks out, devastation will be unavoidable on both countries which is definitely not worth the issue. However this does not extend terrorist as they do not have any clear boundary or legal ownership of land. Thus is war breaks out between terrorist groups and countries there is no possibility of attacking a specific place to rid these extremist groups who apply “hit and run” tactics to weaken the enemy. With such faith in powerful weapons of mass destruction, who knows that one day if terrorist obtain nuclear weapons, their possibilities in assault are endless. This shows that faith in science in global security may seem sanguine but in actual fact when things go awry there will be no prevention method to curb such a situation. Thus this shows that there is too much faith in science and does not allow for a backup plan if things do not go according to plan.

With such issues to consider, my conclusion would be that there is too much faith placed in science where there are definitely other more feasible ways to solve these world ills and there is not a need to delve into further research for such issues. We do not need better technology, we just need to change ourself to be a more caring and compassionate person and if we all do our part in striving for a solution for such world problems. There is a definite chance of solving these problem.

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