Science offers knowledge based on experiment and observation, but technology is the total sum of the application of knowledge. This has made life easy and comfortable for the user. A country said to be a developed country when it has many technical advancements. A small country like japan has succeeded to acquire this prestige because of its advancements and applications of technology at a high level. This century is the age of Science. We cannot imagine our life without science. It has become a part and parcel of life. It is a symbol of progress.
INVENTION OF ELECTRICITY:
We are enjoying the comfort of science in all the fields. Electricity is another important scientific invention. The comforts of life like electric lamps, fridges, washing machines, Air conditioners are the gifts of electricity.
DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE IN AGRICULTURE:
The development in the agricultural front, which is the backbone of our country, is really encouraging. New improved techniques have helped to increase crop yield, methods like drip irrigation, invention of hybrid varieties of seed have gone a long way to help agriculturists. Production of disease resistant seeds leads to high yield and it paved way for the green revolution also. But using of pesticides affects the soil and reduces the nitrogen content and it leads to land pollution.
DEVELOPMENT IN MEDICINE:
Development in medicine is marvellous. Without shedding a drop of blood, doctors are able to do surgeries. The latest devices helps to diagnose diseases at an early stage itself, thus bringing the death rate down. X-rays and laser were also used in the medical field. Almost all kinds of diseases are entirely cured by modern medicines.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
We are in the age of science and technology. Man cannot live without the aid of science. Science has so much engulfed our lives that nothing can take place in our day to day work without the help of science. Our food, transport, learning, administration, recreation and social life are all linked with science in various ways. To answer the question whether science has come to mankind as a boon or as a use for ruin (bane), one should know what science exactly means. Science is said to be a systematic classification of experiences. We, men wonder at the various things and events happening around us. We get doubts; what are they? These questions are the basic seeds for science. Then starts the thinking, reasoning, analysis, synthesis, comparison and contrast and finally the truth emerges.
Scientists say there is a scientific method for everything and there are inevitable steps to be followed: (1) Observation (2) Hypothesis (3) Experiment (4) Theory and (5) Proof. All scientists have, in a way, followed these steps. The aim of science is search for truth, and to know things, hitherto unknown. A scientist does not accept ideas, simply because, they were accepted by others earlier. Great discoveries are a result of reasoning. A lot of patience and observation are required. Civilization, as it is today, is the result of a number of discoveries made in the field of science. The invention of them simple wheel has resulted in our modern industrialization. Electricity, as a source of energy, has revolutionized the world. Medical science is so much advanced that the average life of an Indian has risen to 62 years from 35 years.
Science has contributed to the success of our green revolution and now we have enough food for all. We have enough clothing and better shelter too. All this is possible, because of science. Radios, T.C s and cinemas which entertain us are the products of science. So a common man has to conclude that science is a boon to mankind. There is the other side of the coin also. T.L. Peacock says; “I almost think that it is the ultimate destiny of science to exterminate the human race”. That is the other point of view. It is science, which gave birth to destructive weapons like dynamite, guns, rifles, rockets, atom bombs, hydrogen bombs etc. it is science that gave electrical power and nuclear power.
If nuclear power is used for peaceful purposes, there is no need for fear. But after all it is human to err. Can anyone say that there is no chance of the destruction of a Hiroshima or a Nagasaki being repeated? If that happens, will not science be a bane of humanity? Leaving that apart, another creation of science is pollution of the environment. Industrialization with the aid of science has polluted air, water, food and the atmosphere. The ozone layer is giving threatening signals.
So here is a case for man to consider science as a cause of ruin. Man is a rational being. He can safeguard himself against all odds. That is how he was able to conquer and control all other creatures in the world. So let us believe that his wisdom will prevail and he would reason out for the well being of his kind on this planet. When the universe reveals more secrets to man by means of science, there is hope that the present man will become a superman and eventually science would be only a boon and not a bane of his life. Science without conscience is death of the soul.
Human freedom, human rights, advancements about the knowledge of our Solar system and other Stars in the Universe, inventions of new machines for transportations, communication, etc., invention of new methods of doing surgical operations with the aid of video camera monitored by TV and electronic devices and new medicines for curing diseases, discovery of new elements, semiconductors and super conductors for various applications in industries, vehicles, etc., creations of new residential apartments to harness Solar energy for domestic purposes, etc., creation of sky labs to observe and discover new galaxies, quasars, pulsars, Black Holes and exploring the existence of human life or possibility of it somewhere in the Universe, etc. are indeed some of the achievements of the modern civilization due to science and technology.
In everything fast forward has become the policy of modern civilisation. Man is competing with Time in order to go ahead of future before it comes! Speed, speed, nothing but speed has become the formula of human activities in all fields. He is trying to reach other Stars and planets though impossible now may be possible sometime in the future. By forgetting the present, modern man is aspiring too much for the future. But to these fast activities in the name of scientific development man has become mad and the world is also in a mad rush after nothing, which cannot be called as civilisation. So, man by acquiring new habits like mad rush after something which is not clear, is behaving in a strange manner creating new psychological problems and unbecoming of a human being in the modern world.
Scientific Advancements only for External but not Internal Developments
Modern civilisation, which has evolved with the advancement of knowledge in science, applied science i.e. engineering and technology and industries, is only a material civilisation of man. D. H. Lawrence in his novel, Women in Love says that the symbols of this civilisation, “factories, jazz, cinemas” have made man’s life quite meaningless and that means the denial of sex which is nothing but degeneration and destruction of human life in the world. T.S. Eliot in his poem, The Waste Land says that the modern world has made man’s life unproductive and unfulfilling due to the offshoot of materialism and ideological conflicts and the result is that there is no love, faith and hope but only death wish.
E.M. Forster also dislikes mechanical life and “motion.” In his novel, Howard’s End he says that “merely growing industrialisation is not enough” and merely running “a motor car” using “heavy luggage” while travelling and wearing “good clothes” are not at all called civilisation. His wish is that there should be reconciliation between natural and philosophical life of man and synthesis of the life of the body and the life of the spirit. According to him civilisation is the sum total of culture based on Music, Dance, Art, Letters and Education.
Science – Analysis of Parts, and Philosophy
– Synthesis of Parts to know the Whole Truth
Modern world is scientific world. Science is becoming everything. Nonbelievers of God, soul, etc. and those interested only in materialism and the utilities of everything without bothering about human values and ideals totally rely upon science and scientific truths only in everything. First man was under the control of Nature. Now he almost controls Nature with the help of Science. He invented machines to reduce physical burden, save time, increase comforts in order to use his leisure for better thoughts and better works giving importance to human values, making the world a better place to live and exploring the Universe to enhance his knowledge and satisfying his curiosities. At first he was just monitoring the machines. But now machines monitor the affairs of men!
The theory and practice of science to discoveries or inventions or detections or diagnoses or remedies, etc. follow the method of experiment, observation and inference though logically the process may be inductive or deductive and express the results mathematically through formulae since mathematical truths are self evident absolute truths. This is possible only if the field of search is clear and well defined. Otherwise the methods of philosophy only are helpful to solve the problems. However science starts as philosophy and ends as art i.e. it begins with hypotheses and completes in achievements.
Therefore in this respect science is very easy, helpful and reliable for analysing and solving many crises in the modern world as far as material or physical things are concerned. But science cannot even touch or solve the problems of good, evils, life, love, God, Soul, Spirit, etc. which are of great value, meaning and ideals for man. For science physically there should be something, then only it can be understood and something can be created or destroyed. In short as far as science is concerned microscopically and telescopically parts only can be explored to understand the whole truth, whereas the case is reverse for philosophy and arts.
– A great wonder to Poets, Philosophers and Scientists
Nature is a great fascination not only for the poets and the philosophers but also for the scientists and the intellectuals because of its hidden mystery. The Universe with all its twinkling Stars and planets is a great wonder and a puzzle that remains yet to be solved. Though there are natural laws to explain the phenomena of Nature yet many laws have to be discovered to explain the phenomena like Black Holes or Magnetic Balls, fast expansion of the Universe, etc. In fact the door of the Universe was first opened by Copernicus to explore and discover the secrets of Nature. Yes, Copernicus first said to the world that the Earth is not the centre but the Sun is the centre of the Solar System! Then Kepler discovered that the planets are not revolving round the Sun in circular orbits but in elliptical orbits.
After that Galileo established that Ptolemy’s Geocentric theory is wrong and Copernicus’s Heliocentric theory is correct by inventing the telescope to show to the world the position of planets and Stars of the Milky Way and shattered the old notion that man with the unmoving fixed Earth is the centre of the Universe. Then it was discovered that Sun is only the centre of the Solar System in the Milky Way or the Universe. Then Industrial Revolution changed the world. Steam engine was invented. Aeroplane was invented. And Rocket was also invented. Movements of the people increased along with speed. Speed increased on and on, but it was not enough for man to reach distant Stars and planets! The discovery of Space goes on and on and yet the curiosity to know the mystery of the Universe is not still satisfied or finished.
DISCOVERIES AND INVENTIONS:
After Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo successfully fought for truth and died as heroes achieving immortality and permanent places in the annals of science; superstitions and fear began to lose their ground permanently in the world. Brave new world was born and bold achievements were made by Newton, Michael Faraday, Max Planck, Heinrich Hertz, Thomson, Louis Pasteur, Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Einstein, etc. Without the progressive achievements of Electricity and Electronics perhaps mankind would have been blind and lame in a primitive world of the past even today!
Really what a progress the world has made! When we think about Gravitation we remember Newton, for Electricity Michael Faraday, for Electromagnetic Waves Heinrich Hertz, for Electron Thomson, for Quantum Theory or Photoelectric Emission Max Planck, for Theory of Relativity Einstein, etc. But whatever be our thoughts, words and deeds in the world, Nature, Universe, etc. Everything is enclosed and bounded within Space and Time, beyond which nothing can escape. That is our position in this mysterious Universe.
SPACE, TIME AND MATTER:
Next what we have to see is what mystery, power, beauty, wonder behind this Universe is. What is this Universe? When has this started? How long has this been going on like this? How long will this go on so further? By thinking over these questions it is possible to say that the Universe is after all nothing but Space Time continuum only. The thing is we don’t feel that a thing called Space with Time existed in the past, is existing in the present and will be existing in the future too!
This is because we think Space, Time and all kinds of Matter in it as separate entities and separately. But in fact Space, Time and Matter are related things. Even the Laws of Newton’s Mechanical Physics or Classical Physics are based on the assumption that Space and Time are dual things in an inertial state. But the reality is otherwise! That is why Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Modern Theory of Physics has successfully come into vogue to explain various phenomena in Nature.
According to Classical Physics it was felt as said earlier that Matter and Energy are two distinct forms. While Energy was associated with Matter its nature was considered as distinctly different from matter. Albert Einstein found this dualism not only unnecessary but also quite absurd. He while developing his Theory of Relativity made the startling suggestion that Matter may be converted into Energy and vice versa and wrote down the famous Mass Energy equation, E= mc2, which became the secret formula for the Atomic Bomb! Indeed with the actual explosion of the Hydrogen bomb this equation was proved experimentally as well as really to be correct. With that the ideal dualism between Matter and Energy came to an end, which is a revolutionary development that totally changed the course of physics in the recent times.
SCIENCE FOR CONSTRUCTION AND DESTRUCTION:
The use of scientific knowledge in the constructive side i.e. in industries, agriculture, transport, health, etc. has done a lot of good for the whole of mankind. But in the destructive side scientific knowledge in the form of Nuclear Weapons, intoxicating drugs, electronic video tapes, CDs, DVDs and games of immoral nature, etc. has done and is doing a lot of harm beyond human imagination which has to be curbed at any cost. There are also works of knowledge having both good and bad effects which have to be balanced by education or otherwise for the healthy progress of society and development of the world as a whole. First, Industrial Revolution changed the world. As a result Agricultural Activities reduced, mush rooming of harmful labour came up and environmental pollution appeared and is doing great havoc now.
Second, Technological Developments have modernised the world but have resulted in cultural decay with change of human culture, in the creation of pollution in air, land and water, in the deforestation, the building of congested cities with unhygienic conditions, in the exploration of natural resources thereby creating long periods of droughts or bringing in flash floods during the times of cyclonic storms and untold destructions everywhere, etc.
Third, Electronic Developments capturing all fields of human activities in the form of electronic devices such as calculators, Televisions, Computers, Robots, musical instruments, etc. have totally changed the face of the world and as a result, a lot of time is saved but man is made a slave of machines and if anything fails in the electronic system, nothing can be done. Finally more than all these things the production of Atomic energy for good i.e. for power generation and the nuclear proliferation for bad use i.e. for the stock piling of Nuclear Weapons have brought the world either to the creation of One World State for solving all the problems of mankind by fulfilling the dream of the most welcome or expected Utopia or the destruction of the world civilisation!
THE USE OF SCIENCE:
Science which is supposed to be ruling the world is sub serving politics. Science which has conquered the places of both religion and philosophy is just waiting to conquer the places of politics which may happen in the future. Religion is about spirit, philosophy is about mind and science is all about matter. Science has almost conquered the world and is already in the direction of conquering the Universe. With the aid of science man is capable of doing anything except bringing back life to the dead body. Otherwise, many mummies sleeping in the pyramids of Egypt would have regained life and would have been functioning alive with the vanished classical splendour of the past!
Scientific thinking is based upon facts and hence there is sureness in man’s action and his works proceed in time and complete within the programmed schedules. Scientific approach has helped immensely to find suitable solutions to many problems which were previously believed to be insoluble. Science is doing great service to mankind in the field of industries, agriculture, medicine, psychology and physiology. Science has indeed unraveled many mysteries of Nature and the power of nature is harnessed in all the fields for the benefit of mankind.
CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF SCIENCE:
While doing so many new problems are coming up as big threats to human life and achievement in the world. They are the problems of Nuclear Weapons in war, air and water pollutions spoiling the environment and new diseases affecting the physical condition and the psychology of men. How are these problems to be tacked? These problems have to be viewed in the global perspective and the things that lead to such threats have to be eliminated as a whole. Actually the main threats to mankind in general are poverty, disease and ignorance. Science and technology should be used to eliminate these threats first so that real peace, development and prosperity can be achieved in the world. The use of science should be in that direction and that is the way by which human culture can be maintained.
WISE USE OF SCIENCE TO UPHOLD HUMAN CULTURE:
Science is only a means to achieve certain desirable ends in order to enhance the dignity of human life and is not there to replace man by its inventions in the form of Robots, Computers, etc. to monitor man’s activities and become master of man. Computer brain cannot understand human feelings and replace human brain whose myriad functions are simply superb, unique and wonderful and are beyond the scope of any mechanical devices of man’s own inventions. Therefore it should be noted that this is the scope and the limitation of man which everyone should remember and use wisely the scientific knowledge in order to uphold human culture so that everyone can think, live, love, enjoy and die honourably as a human being and not as anything else.
THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE:
The pursuit of knowledge carried on by scientists for the past several centuries has produced results over which opinion is sharply divided. Science originally intended to conquer and harness the forces of nature for the good of man, is looked upon by some as the chief cause of the suffering of humanity today. On ‘the other hand, there are a good many people who consider science to be the harbinger of all progress, prosperity and comfort. The controversy has been raging for a long time, though science goes on taking long strides .obviously regardless of the conflicting opinions pronounced on its achievements.
Leaders of thought, be they scientists or not, however, occasionally pause and ponder whether science is going the right way and really promoting human welfare. A dispassionate and comprehensive survey of the fruits of scientific advance in the various spheres of human life provides sufficient ground to be sceptical about the claim that science is an unqualified and unmixed blessing to humanity. They have reason to conclude that all is not well with science and its application.
Pure science is a relentless search for truth, for the discovery of the laws of nature. As such, no fault finding is possible with pure scientific research. The position, however, changes materially in regard to the application of scientific research in the field of practical activity. Science is like a sharp sword which can be used for either defending yourself against the enemy or cutting your own throat. What the pure scientist gives to his fellow-beings may thus be turned to their advantage, or exploited for subversive and destructive purposes. The application of science, therefore, depends upon the just or unjust aims man has in view, and the history of the world shows that the application of science has not always been governed by principles of justice and consideration of the general good of the people.
The 19th century witnessed the invention of steam loco motives, oil engines and other automobile machinery. Consequently, heavy industries of iron, cloth, etc., came to be set up. Production of these and other goods increased rapidly and their quality also improved^ great deal. It was claimed that the burden of drudgery and physical labour was taken off the shoulders of man and shifted to the machine. Apparently, the claim was correct, but the labour-saving devices of new machinery dealt a death-blow to cottage industry, resulting in large-scale unemployment.
It also brought into being the tyranny of capital over labour. The rich industrial magnates exploited the situation and utilised the inventions of science for feathering their own nests. A new form of slavery the subjugation of the factory and mill-workers to the capitalist raised its ugly head. The condition of workers in mills, coal pits and factories in Eng-land and other countries was pitiable beyond description. Even women and very young children did not escape the new method of exploitation.
Thus, what Was hailed as a great blessing eventually turned out to be a curse, particularly for the exploited labourers and frequent conflicts’ in the shape of strikes, lockouts between capital and labour became the order of the day. Labour-saving machinery was applied to the service of man, but the overall result of this application was perhaps more evil than good. There was discontent, friction, immeasurable wealth on the one hand, and abject poverty on the other—palatial residences of capitalists stood in sharp contrast to slums in every big industrial town. Not only that, every industrially advanced nation began to look for its raw materials in other countries and markets for its finished products. Thus, economic and industrial advantages become an additional motive for aggressive wars.
The application of science in the social sphere also produced highly questionable results. The introduction of machinery gave a new tempo and speed to human life and activity. Material considerations seemed to prevail over other interests, the sanctity of joint family life was violated ; art and literature came under the spell of the mechanisation of human life. People came to have more medicines and better surgical aid, but that did not promote better standards of health. Outdoor life, love of natural surroundings came to be at a discount and life on the whole became highly artificial, mechanical and prosaic.
Science has done the greatest disservice to mankind in the yield of armaments and destructive engines of war. The invention gunpowder was hailed as a great achievement but humanity should rue the day on which this invention took place. Steadily and relentlessly, gunpowder has been used for new weapons so that today artillery, gun-fire, shells and bombs have become a hellish terror to everybody. Curiously enough, some of the best scientific-brains have devoted themselves to the invention of increasingly improved weapons of death and destruction. First came simple aerial bombing—then the atom bomb, followed by the far more terrible hydrogen bomb. And now we know that scientists are experimenting with cobalt, neutron and nitrogen bombs—for outmatching the hydrogen bomb in their destructive power.
That colossal sums of money and the best brains of humanity have been wasted on the production of instruments of war is indeed” a sad commentary on the application and use of science. Today, if an atomic war is unleashed, there is not the feast doubt that whole towns, countries and even continents will be -wiped off in the general holocaust. And as yet all attempts to ban the production to atomic weapons or, for that matter, the application of science to destructive purposes have so far proved abortive.
There are some sceptical thinkers who would like to forgo all that science has so far given and prefer, if possible, a revival of life as it was before the march of science changed it. This reactionary policy is as suicidal as the unrestrained use of science. To ban science altogether is to miss the real point at issue, and, to put k bluntly, to turn one’s back upon all the progress that mankind has made, in spite of the abuse and exploitation of science. It should not require much argument to convince a person that science, if pursued and applied in the right manner, can prove a real blessing to humanity. Thus what man needs today is not a ban on science, but ban on its misdirected use and application.
Man’s existence on this globe is a continuous progress of adjustment and adaptation to his environments, which are not always favourable. .For instance, man has to battle with, and hold his own against, the elements of nature, such as air. Wind and weather, the high seas and the lofty mountains. The climate at places is too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet; the soil, in some parts of the world fertile, in others hard and unproductive. Again, man contracts all manner of ailments infections and diseases.
It is in all these and many more spheres that science comes to his rescue. With its help he can cross the unchartered seas, fly through air, travel in deserts, turn infertile wastelands and arid fields into green pastures, harness the course of angry rivers, provide dams and bridges over them and even produce artificial rain, if necessary. The science of medicine and surgery has alleviated human pain and suffering beyond measure and opened up new vistas of health and longevity of life.
There is evidence to show what blessing the proper use of science can confer on man. It is equally true that there is plenty of misery, poverty, under-nourishment and suffering in the world. Many countries still retain a primitive way of life; the standard of living of their people is indescribably low. A great many parts of the world still lie undeveloped, unaffected by the magical touch of science. There is, therefore, a lot to be done by scientists to improve the lot of mankind.
The average man wants food, clothes, house, and education for children, adequate medical help, and proper opportunities for self-development. He does not want long-range artillery, atom bombs .or sellers. He loves peace and smooth fruitful life in which everybody must have enough to satisfy his physical wants as well as find food for his mind and soul. Now, if science can answer these needs of mankind, it can certainly be a blessing. That Science can achieve this laudable purpose is not a vain dream, provided man’s conscience is awakened and the heart of the scientists and those who govern their activities is in the right place.
Atomic energy, for instance, can perform as great constructive miracles as the havoc by its bombs. Let the scientists utilise it for peaceful purposes as vigorously as they applied it for destruction, and it will not be long before the world is turned into a veritable. Paradise. At bottom, therefore, the problem of science is a moral problem. Man has to learn to be fair, accommodating and just. If this miracle takes place, science would cease to be the dreadful monster which it often has been in the past.