Will Science and Technology Destroy Human Civilisation?

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Mind Over Matter, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

    There are 3 myths in modern society.

    1. Science and technology is our ultimate salvation

    2. Human beings are basically good.

    3. Science and technology can be controlled.

    In the infant years of modern technology and science, when new cures where being discovered and new technology was making human labour a little lighter, people could be forgiven for thinking that science will bring us in to a new utopian age without suffering or poverty.

    In the new millennium, history has made it brutally obvious that science can have the opposite effect, and as we continue in our technological and scientific achievements, that effect is in danger of outweighing the good. We already have nuclear bombs. In the future it appears nano technology and the ability to reprogram matter will be available to us, and relatively soon. The damage this could cause is tremendous. Whole populations could be silently wiped out over night.

    The truth is, science and technology is only as good for us as our ability to counter its negative effects. Some say, so long as its in the right hands such horrors can be averted or controlled. But what hands is the right hands? America? You gotta be kidding!! You only have to look at Hiroshima, to realise that western government is far from being the moral light of the future. And what in human history proves to any sufficient degree that humans are basically good? It seems to me that despite humanities moral achievements the evil of man far out weighs the good, and the fact that we have any kind of working order in society at all is only because necessity forces us to work together. I certainly don't see any evidence, accept for minority groups here and there, that people love each-other or really give a dame accept when it suits them. Apart from necessity human beings are largely selfish animals; some more so than others, but we are selfish none the less. No, I don't believe that human beings are basically good; although they are certainly intelligent enough to realise that we must have a certain degree of order so that the elite ten percent of the population can benefit. If it were the case that human beings were basically good we would already live in a better society than we are living in now.

    I believe, despite the good intentions of human-beings, that science and technology will inevitably spin out of control and give an even more horrific potency to the words "survival of the fittest".
  2. WillNever Valued Senior Member

    One day we're going to develop such advanced technology, involving things like antimatter and all sorts of nasty stuff, that one everyday person might have access to the resources that could destroy this whole planet.

    Only if humans are living on more than one planet can we hope to survive self-imposed annihilation.
  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The primary force for violence and evil on this planet is religion. Religion--at least the monotheistic Abrahamic varieties which dominate the world--is anathema to civilization, because it reinforces our tribal instinct and discourages us from regarding each other as brothers. And religion is anathema to science, because it is based on an irrational belief in the supernatural.

    If we observe science as threatening to destroy civilization, it is because religion wants to destroy civilization and revert us back to the Stone Age when it had more control over us, and because religion sees science as a way to achieve that goal.

    Neither civilization nor science will be safe until we outgrow religion, one of our more most primitive and evil instincts.
  4. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

    We are past the point of having the discussion as to whether science and technology is our ultimate salvation or not. Once we set down its path, we were committed. The Earth presently supports more people than it could without it. Take it away and you will have mass death and destruction. Neither can we halt it where it stands. Our present level of science and technology cannot be maintained. It will eventually run out of resources to fuel it, collapse, and lead to mass death and destruction.

    The only option we have is to continue improving our science and technology to replace the older technologies as they become nonviable.

    The best we can do now is to work to direct scientific and technological advances as intelligently as we can.

    It's too late to worry if we bet the house on the wrong horse to win or not. Its the only horse we've got left that has any chance of winning at all. All we can do now is try to improve its chances.
  5. Pachomius Registered Senior Member

    Perhaps if I may, we must make a distinction between religion and spirituality.

    Perhaps if I may, we must make a distinction between religion and spirituality.

    Does spirituality threaten science and technology?

    But what is spirituality?

    And how does it differ from religion?

  6. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Technology is, in essence, the invention of tools. We routinely talk about Stone Age technology, going all the way back to the first stone hammers and axes, flint knives, and sharpened sticks. Language, the taming of fire, the creation of clothing, the cultivation of plants and the domestication of animals were all technologies. The history of our species--indeed of several ancestral species predating H. sapiens--has been the invention of technologies in order to transcend nature. Technology freed us from the feast/famine cycle by allowing us to produce our own food. By thus allowing us to settle in villages instead of chasing our food across the landscape, it freed us from the nomadic lifestyle so we could build wonderful, life-enriching objects that are too heavy or too fragile to carry, like furniture and pottery. By creating the first food surplus this planet had ever seen, it allowed us to stop regarding other tribes as hated competitors for scarce resources, so we could merge into larger communities, resulting in division of labor and economies of scale... so that some of us could work outside the "food production and distribution industry" and become skilled full-time teachers, explorers, inventors, artists and musicians.

    It can be argued that technology is, in fact, part of our nature, since the invention of technology was well-established as a defining behavior of the hominid line before H. sapiens first walked the earth.

    To suggest that we forsake technology is to suggest that we stop being who we are.
    This horse has been winning for several million years, since the first primitive hominid discovered an easier way to cut meat. In fact our flint knives, specifically, gave us one of our first advantages in the African ecosystem. We could scrape the meat off of bones that the carnivores left behind. This technology allowed us to evolve from grazers to scavengers, greatly increasing our protein intake. This in turn allowed our brains to become bigger, which gave us the intelligence to invent more technology, and the cycle continued until we became the planet's apex predator... and kept going from there.
  7. Pachomius Registered Senior Member

    Spirituality is also and more importantly a part of our human nature.

    Spirituality is also and more importantly a part of our human nature.

    As regards technology, it is also part of the nature of our fellow life forms, animals.

    Did animals invent tools or they just found them?

    No, matter, whether inventing or finding, it comes to the same beneficial change in the human situation -- and also in the situation of animals.

    But I ask myself, do animals exhibit any kind of spirituality?

    And what is spirituality?

    What about burying the dead among humans, that is an example of spirituality.

    And you don't need to adopt a religion to bury your departed family members and also fellowmen your neighbors.

  8. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

    the problem is not religion nor technology, it's the people who use them. would you blame the knife for a stabbing? a gun for a shooting? lots of things can be used as weapons, if you're looking to hurt someone.
    joepistole likes this.
  9. Mind Over Matter Registered Senior Member

    I believe, despite the good intentions of human-beings, that science and technology will inevitably spin out of control and give an even more horrific potency to the words "survival of the fittest".

    Yes, this fear is endemic in the human race and began to express itself after Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the rank pessimism that began to pervade the arts and humanities. Even Hollywood in the 50s produced a run of fright-pictures about extra-terrestrials and the dire consequences of our penchant for experimenting with instruments of evil. One could say that Mary Shelly and Robert Louis Stevenson saw it coming in the 1800s when they penned Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

    The arts have very much died over the last hundred years. Today Hollywood is amok in spectacular movies that have plenty of special effects but little soul. Forget music. There are no great composers to speak of. Poetry, drama, and the novel are nearly dead.

    It is all science, science, science ... and technology, technology, technology. Nothing of any great consequence can come of so unstable a cultural system. What good is curing the cancer of the body when the man has got cancer of the soul?
  10. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

    Yeah, you do know that those films were anti-communist, rather than anti-science, don't you?
    Here's a new word for you for today: metaphorical.

    Gotta show that we actually have souls before you can claim we have cancerous ones. :rolleyes:
  11. Dredd Dredd Registered Senior Member

    Will Science and Technology Destroy Human Civilization?

    According to the NRA "Science and Technology [GUNS] don't kill people, people kill people". The answer to the question is better determined by asking "in what direction are we heading?" :shrug:
  12. granpa Registered Senior Member

  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    And Abrahamists are always looking to hurt people who are unwilling to convert to their religion. It makes people hate each other for not sharing the same form of ridiculous superstition.
    People have been saying that for as long as we have records. Within the lifetime of many of you, people my age insisted that the internet was going to destroy civilization by encouraging us all to stay indoors and not get enough exercise. They did not foresee wonderful developments like this very website, where people of all cultures and religions get together in peace. Americans wept for Neda--a citizen of a country that we are told is our "enemy"--after seeing the video of her dying. No one would have seen that thirty years ago.

    People thought the Industrial Revolution was the end of civilization; instead for the first time in history average people ended up with a measurable amount of leisure time, and the ability to travel to distant parts of the world and meet each other.

    If you're looking for a technology that even in retrospect seems rather scary and counterproductive, try the metallurgy of iron. Bronze technology mandated a certain level of peace because copper and tin deposits are almost never found close to each other, so distant cities had to cooperate to trade ore. Iron not only made them able to be hostile, but it also allowed "barbarian" tribes to make their own weapons and become "kingdoms." The invention of iron technology is referred to by historians as the "Bronze Age collapse," because civilization went into a tailspin for many centuries.

    Bronze itself was a mixed blessing. Flint knives, stone axes, pointed sticks and arrowheads can be used in combat, but only fairly close-in combat. Bronze swords and armor were the first "weapons of mass destruction."

    I'm sure when agriculture was invented and people began to build permanent settlements instead of chasing their food across the landscape and sleeping in a different location every night, some of the elders were predicting the demise of the human race.
    Good grief, just how old are you??? You sound like my 92 year-old mother-in-law. I'm 67 and I am overwhelmed by the cornucopia of arts around me. Ralph Vaughan Williams, Richard Strauss, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Federico Mompou, and many other of the greatest composers in history did most or all of their greatest work after 1910. My wife has a master's degree in literature and she'll hold up Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Saul Bellow, William Faulkner, Jerzy Kosinski, and a list of other authors that I'm not even familiar with against the greats of the past. You apparently have no taste for popular music, which is a shame, because it's reached the status of high art since sound reproduction technology turned it into an industry. The Beatles and Pink Floyd will be remembered as long as Bach and Beethoven. If I hear one more piece of pre-Impressionist "classical" music with its constrained unsyncopated rhythms and that stooopid "amen" chord resolution that they all end on, I think I'll barf. Some of today's three-minute pop songs are more interesting than the old worn-out symphonies.
    Stay tuned and you might find out that the soul is just one more piece of fiction.
  14. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    1. Science and technology is our ultimate salvation.

    Science , when used properly, can help overcome many problems that humans have had and will have so do not think that science isn't any good at all but only a tool to help when used correctly.

    2. Human beings are basically good.

    If they weren't there wouldn't be many humans left for they would all be killing each other by now and we would all be dead.

    3. Science and technology can be controlled.

    To caretain degree it can be as long as society keeps it in check. When society lets science go haywire then it becomes a big problem.
  15. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    Humans are savage in nature. And as long as technology is profit-driven, there will be negative consequences to all new advances.

    But I do have faith in man's ability to conquer technological obstacles whether they be the Spinning Jenny or oceanic microbes that trap CO2.

    I think the next step for man in inwards- the emergence of a universal truth that transcends physics and goes off into philosophy but has practical implications for mankind.
  16. Lori_7 Go to church? I am the church! Registered Senior Member

    there are an infinite number of reasons why people hate each other. lots of times, they don't even need a reason. and if religion wasn't available, they would easily find another.
  17. cleese Registered Senior Member

    what i really should indicate here , that there is a huge difference between the scientific advance or progress , and what so-called Civilization . what the west represents now , is not a form of civilization at all .... its just a great workshop . a factory that produces the best technologies that used to give this nation or that and advantage over the others . but the core of the real Civilization , is ethics only . then come the branches represented in science and technology . if there is ethics , you should not then worry about the demise of humanity , due to a savageness of a technologically advanced nation . (remember heroshima and nagazaki?).
    thanks for your precious wonder .
  18. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    So I take it you think religion is a bad thing then?

  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    What was your first clue? I think religion and revenge are the two most destructive and most evil of all human instincts. They both probably served a purpose in the Paleolithic Era, but they have no useful role in civilization and in fact more often than not work to bring it down. Religion makes people feel good (which is why it's still so popular in an era when educated people should be expected to know better) but at great cost to humanity in aggregate.

    Especially the Abrahamic religions, which perhaps more than any of the others reinforce their members' atavistic tribal instinct by teaching them that they're slightly better than everyone else and it's their sacred duty to make them all just like them--whether they want to be or not. It truly does have much in common with drugs. It's "the opiate of the people," as Marx said, but he was a moron whose unworkable fairytale economic system was nothing more than an offshoot of Christianity. His motto, "To each according to his needs, from each according to his ability," was based on a passage in the Book of Acts. Can you imagine a self-respecting Confucian or Hindu teaching that civilization can survive if what a man takes from it does not need to correlate with what he gives back?

    We all thought the Holocaust was the Last Holy War and Homo sapiens would finally grow up, but a mere two generations later the Christians, Jews and Muslims are ready to annihilate each other all over again.
  20. Jan Ardena Valued Senior Member

    Fraggle Rocker,

    Just a hunch.

    "Revenge" and "religion" in the same bag. Interesting.

    Interesting how you leave out plain old "people" exacting revenge, which would not only be more accurate, but give us something to actually work with.

    You have contention with people feeling good?
    And educated folk should know better?
    And people feeling good is a great cost to humanity?
    I'm begining to wonder about you Frags.

    Substitute "Abrahamic religions" with the "white race" or to be more specific certain aspect of it, and what you just said makes more sense.

    Nice get out clause Frags.

    It would be interesting to see that passage.

    I can imagine corporations, and governments living by that creed.
    Hey wait a minute! I don't have to imagine.
    But the real question is; are religions behind these corporate entities, or people? And are these corporation headed by all races of people or just one?

    I wasn't aware that the Holocaust was a "Holy War", nor that "we all" understood it as such.
    Since when did "eugenics" become a religious issue?


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