Dangerous science

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Magical Realist, Aug 10, 2013.

  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Are there any dangers in letting science dictate how our lives will be run? Is there room in a scientocracy for humanistic values and morality? How might science one day pose a threat to our own freedom and humanity?


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  3. arauca Banned Banned

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    I thing science is neutral we human are the danger to ourselves
     
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    What country do you live in??? Here in the United States, it is corporations, politicians and Religious Redneck Retards who dictate how our lives will be run. Science has some influence, but it is easily overruled. For example:
    • Global warming is an undisputed fact. There is disagreement over how much of it is due to human activities, but there's no disagreement that it's happening. Most of the world's major cities were built on seashores, so they will need to be moved about 25 miles inland in the next 200-300 years as sea level rises. This is a Herculean project that will require the cooperation of the corporations, the government and the churches to avoid chaos and an economic disaster. Yet none of these institutions are even acknowledging the problem.
    • Telecommuting would reduce America's petroleum consumption by more than 25%, while improving the condition of our urban areas, reducing the stress on parents, and leveraging new technologies to improve the quality and economy of projects in nearly all industries. Yet corporations are hostile to the idea (even IT vendors!); the government has virtually outlawed it for their own employees, and the churches are so bogged down in Bronze Age fairytales that they don't even know what the internet is--except a nifty way to bug people for contributions and to spread those fairytales.
    • The benefits of marijuana for people who suffer from asthma and glaucoma, and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, have been established scientifically for decades. Yet corporations fire people who test positive for it, the federal government refuses to acknowledge the facts (although many state and municipal governments do not), and many churches regard its use as a sin.
    So please explain to me how science is dictating how are lives are run? I think it would be more accurate to say that science is on the run, trying to stay ahead of the shit-for-brains corporations, government agencies, and churches.
     
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I didn't say it was. I asked if there was a danger in LETTING science dictate how our lives are run. Different thought altogether.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  8. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Ah, "backtracking" again, are we?

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    It's a moot question as it can never happen.
    Science is a tool wielded by humans.
    It is we humans who decide how we live our lives (through tools of governing such as politics, corporations etc).

    Asking if it is dangerous to let science dictate is similar to asking if it is dangerous for a revolver dictating where a bullet lands.

    Not sure of what your intent was with this question, but perhaps rewording it to get more to that intent?
     
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I am not sure if I would generalize it to science, but computers surely run our lives to a great extent. Most junk food is now scientifically designed for maximum stimulation of endorphins. Science is used for many automated functions, but it is still humans who make decisions to use science, sometimes with unintended consequences.
     
  10. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed. But is that the fault of science or the people?
    Is the OP asking whether humans should place so much reliance on the increasingly advanced output of science? Or whether we should invest in the scientific method as being the arbiter of policy etc?

    Maybe some clarification from MR here would help.
     
  11. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

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    I think the question does have some merit. For instance during the cold war, we were reminded constantly that we could all be wiped out by a nuclear holocaust. Is that a case of science (albeit the science of war and weapons tehnology) dictating how we live?

    Then today we have the internet and mobile phones, do these dictate in any sense, how we live our lives? I would say to the extent any of us uses technology and "relies" on it (think cars, airplanes etc) then technology, the child (or perhaps the orphan) of science, does dictate our lifestyle, if not "the way we live".

    You could of course, shun technology and live in a cave somewhere, but who really wants to do that?
    Then there are all those scientific theories that don't affect our lives, such as general relativity or black holes. I guess most people can live without those and not notice any difference.
     
  12. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    I have to agree with Sarkus, on all of the stated points!
    The natural laws of all sciences existed long before man became privy to them.
    Cellular phones or computers did not create mankind, nor did they create the advertising or merchandising that seems to mandate a reliance upon them.
    Never mind that the OP is open to the possibility that cellular phones and computers were actually in use prior to their invention!
    It would almost seem that those who do not have the ability to "dazzle with brilliance" think that they can make up for the lack of that quality, by repeatedly over-exercising their inane ability to "baffle with Billshut"!
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    No..I'm not rewording the question for you or anybody else. Everyone remembers science-based fiascos like vivisection, eugenics, and the 40 year old Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment just to name a few. (See below for more examples of science gone awry). Then there's that great novel I'm sure you're familiar with called "Brave New World" about a society totally controlled with a happy pill? Sound familiar? So don't pretend science is all humanistic and ethical all the time. And what becomes of a society taught that there is no freewill in accord with the basic tenets of neurology? That we are all just blind brain processes contained in illusions of feeling and thought and imagination? What would be the effect of such a total nihilistic worldview foisted on the mass mind? Kids raised to believe their personhood and love and happiness and freethought are just hardwired delusions meant to lure us into spreading our genes around. What becomes of the innate value in being human and free when we ourselves become our own wired up lab rats?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unethical_human_experimentation_in_the_United_States

    Man is effected by the tools he uses. A man carrying a hammer around all day will be looking to hammer things. A man carrying a gun around all day will be looking for things/people to shoot. A man with the tool of science will always be looking for things to dissect and take apart. Our consciousness is changed by the technologies we depend on. My question goes to the longterm effect of this whole tool-using mindset on human nature. Are other humans or animals just tools to increase our knowledge of the world with?
     
  14. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    "vivisection, eugenics, and the 40 year old Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment" - Humans are responsible for those actions - Science NEVER CONSCIOUSLY played any part in any of those examples - science can NEVER CONSCIOUSLY do anything!
    And your statement : "...that great novel I'm sure you're familiar with called "Brave New World" about a society totally controlled with a happy pill?" That "great novel" of which you speak is a work of FICTION!

    Mr. Magical Realist, your own CONSCIOUS spewing of fantasies, delusional beliefs, fictional events/actions/facts and bald faced lies are infinitely more DANGEROUS than any science could, consciously ever be.
     
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The Defensive Response is Telling

    The Defensive Response is Telling

    Of course there are. Namely, the scientific process does not, and is not intended to, account for human behavior.

    We have seen how the relatively objective study of economics can create problems in our society insofar as other people—not necessarily the economists—try to put "economy" above "people".

    There is no basis for human rights, justice, or dignity that can be objectively identified through the scientific method. It is the subjective aspects of our psyches that will prevent us from "going Borg".

    Meanwhile, the attempts to ward off the question are telling. Someday, we might well have enough neurological data to render psychology a physical science. Whether we know what to do with it at that point or not is a question we can only answer when we arrive at that crossroads.
     
  16. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Tiassa, could you please clarify what you are meaning to say by stating : "...the attempts to ward off the question are telling.". What, are these "attempts", "telling", precisely , from your view ?
    What would you think if I made the statement : "Someday, we might well have enough neurological data to render "fantasy" a physical science."

    I cannot help but feel that the OP is trying (and failing) to anthropomorphize Science.

    Just in case :

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/anthropomorphize

    http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/01/why-do-we-anthropomorphize/11766.html

    Please and possibly, thank you
     
  17. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Yet in your response your provided the necessary clarification - so thank you.
    Sure, you seem to be equating "science" with the way we then choose, as a species / society, to use that science.
    I'm not pretending science is all humanistic and ethical all the time - it is a tool and as such the nature of use is down to the wielder.
    But on the basis of your clarification, yes, I would think there is clearly a danger to certain things, but that is not the fault of science per se, but in the letting of the output of science curb freedoms unduly. And how we use something is not really an issue of science but of the nature of the society.
    I don't think our consciousness is changed that much at all. I think humans are wonderfully adaptable to the tools available... remove all technology and science, and humans will still probably survive (as long as they can (re)discover the necessary skills).
    Will future scientific discoveries threaten what it means to be "human"? I think whether one sees it as a threat depends on who one is.
    But I would like to think humans will continue on and adapt to any future discovery.
    We are, of course, in danger of wiping ourselves out, and our desire to cure everyone of every ailment does seem to cause bugs to become resistant to our medicines - so there are always those threats.
    But ultimately I think that we, as a species, will adapt. Afterall, do we think of people who lived 10,000 years ago as any less human than we are now?

    And bear in mind that there are always things that people hold true (as beliefs) that are beyond the purview of science - the unscientific issues such as God, the paranormal, the supernatural etc. And while there remains the unscientific then there will always be an outlet should science be seen to get too far ahead of itself.
     
  18. river Valued Senior Member

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    All science is dangerous if we as the general population doesn't understand it
     
  19. dumbest man on earth Real Eyes Realize Real Lies Valued Senior Member

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    Sarkus, oddly, reading what you wrote reminded me of a conversation I was part of years ago. Not in a Deja Vu sense. More in the phrasing or gist of what you were saying. Especially the "...people who lived 10,000 years ago as any less human than ..." part.
    I know the odds of you and myself, having ever had conversation, in the real world, are even less than 0, at best.
    But, I find myself having to ask :
    Do you know what Metrology is ?
    And, if so, have you any recall of "the mighty ohm", "the first watt" or by even smaller chance, "Shaomi Daihwa" ?
    I know, these are seemingly stupid questions, but hey, I am the dmoe
     
  20. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Only in as much as it is the study of measurement.
    Can't say I do, although a quick search on google confirms (expectedly) the first two are related to electronics (circuit-boards, hi-fi etc). Not heard of the Shaomi Daihwa.
    Sorry to have kept this within your most anticipated realm of responses.

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  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Personally, I don't see a scenario as in "I, robot", but all we need is to look back a few hundred years and see the enormous changes science and technology has brought to our way of life. But, so far, science and technology is still dependent on human instructions.

    When we start building AI, then the danger becomes real. A someone already said, computers and science itself have no human emotion, and cannot judge what is beneficial or detrimental to humans. Even employing the three fundamental robotic commands of preventing harm to come to humans, there would be no hesitation in a purely robot run world to shut down most industries as being detrimental to the health of humans.

    Factories do not close down even when their waste products kill humans. But imagine that factories employed moral judgments of what is good and what is bad for humans. Most industry would close down.
     
  22. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    The Rationale of Irrational Rationalism

    As a political leftist and would-be revolutionary, I am well aware that there sometimes comes a point when advocates of an idea refuse to entertain the notion that what they believe in might be capable of doing something less than progressive, or, indeed, detrimental.

    In the end, attempting to shield science, as such, reminds that some have not thought the issue through. Arauca makes the point appropriately: science is neutral we human are the danger to ourselves.

    The subsequent parsing of the question is no more than pedantry.

    The reality is that an ultimately rational society of human beings is still a collective of irrational individuals. There is no guarantee that a rationalist society will act rationally unto itself.

    Any number of seemingly rational courses risk outcomes in which the human species is weakened. Of course, that measure for contrast is entirely my own idea of what is rational; others might disagree.
     
  23. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    10,296
    The question has been asked and answered. Science/technology is in itself completely neutral - people decide how to apply it. Ever since the first man picked up a rock the decision has been ours to use it to hunt food or to kill/injure a fellow human.

    It's quite simple to see what the OP is after; he wants someone to say something like, "Yes, we have developed the means to destroy life on Earth through a nuclear holocaust." Sure, we could choose to do that but the CHOICE is still up to us. We learned a valuable lesson form dropping the two bombs on Japan in WWII and nuclear weapons have not been used against humans ever again.

    My point is that we DO learn as we go along - what to do and what NOT to do. We could have easily brought conflict to an abrupt halt by dropping nuclear bombs on North Korea, North Vietnam - or today on one or many Middle Eastern countries to end conflicts even before they erupt into actual war. It would have allowed a quick and easy exit from Afghanistan. Such use would also eliminate the rising threat in other places like North Korea today and in Pakistan.

    But we have CHOSEN not to do so, and again, because science/technology does not DRIVE our choices.
     

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