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Is science failing humanity?

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posted on Jul, 29 2007 @ 10:43 PM
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There was an advertisement on earlier today for a television special on one of the multitude of Discovery * channels about antimatter. The ad starts off, "Scientists explore the future of antimatter..." which sounds quite promising but then the ad continues with, "...making bombs stronger and more stable..." and at that moment I closed my eyes and tried to put away the growing fear that I am actually living on an entire planet full of lower life-forms.

I can tell you the exact day I lost all faith in science as a positive force in human development. I was 13 years old and on the television was some nonsense about nuclear weapons playing on, I think, The Discovery Channel. The testosterone pumping through my veins at the time ensured that I, like every other boy that age, found large explosions absolutely mesmerizing. The entire program was on the development of nuclear weapons from those small things that can only ruin some people's day all the way to the larger ones that # on everyones' day.

The main focus of the program was on the wonderful scientific discoveries that lead to the development of ever more powerful nuclear weapons. Scene after scene of stock footage showed "men of science" happily writing out long formula and building test devices. About halfway through the program it occurred to my 13 year old mind that in any war the scientists of a country are at least as responsible for any death and destruction caused by the use of the tools they have created as the governments themselves are for using them. The reasoning was simple: scientists fail to act morally when they give powerful knowledge to those without the understanding or morality to determine the proper use of said knowledge.

There ain't no such thing as the scientific community

Scientists must soon realize that knowledge is one of the three pillars of power; the other two pillars are force and belief. The government is in the business of force since they own the military while world religions derive power from a control of belief. Because scientists continue to allow themselves to be the willing lapdogs of governments and corporations, their power is subverted and taken out of their hands. The entire system is broken because scientists by and large are gamma males and tend towards seclusion. This results in a non-unified social class (because scientists are a social class) that is easy to exploit by the two more unified classes: priests and politicians. The disunity allows an enormous amount of power to be taken by both other pillars of power by either utilizing or subverting the power of knowledge to their own ends.

I believe the phrase, "knowledge is power" is in fact a warning to scientists to realize that science is not a job but rather obligation to humanity.Scientists need to be in a position to say, "No!" to a world leader asking for knowledge and they need to be of a mindset to die for the core belief that not everyone should know anything they please.

Religions had to fight and win many battles to be recognized as a separate, distinct, and respectable form of power from government force. Today it is such that religions and governments co-exist and in some cases overlap yet neither tries to overcome the other. In some sense, it may seem that religions are largely at the whim of the governments but the truth is that religions simply understand that their power is better served by silent co-operation (as equals) with government. The same needs to be said of the power to create; the power of the scientific mind.

Jon

[edit on 7.29.2007 by Voxel]




posted on Jul, 29 2007 @ 10:44 PM
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Lets make a Guild
What the human species needs is something of a "Scientists Guild" structured around the only method of retaining class power any human being has ever come up with: the secret society. If you don't believe me just think about how the government keeps power: secrets. So many, in fact, that the government probably spends more money ensuring its own people don't find what it is doing than the government spends trying to figure out what the other countries are doing.

I would use the term technocracy to describe the type of institution I propose.

The largest force acting against the creation of such an organization comes from the flawed preconceived notions that many in the scientific community harbor. Among these are paramount the belief that all humans have a right to any knowledge available and that people should help the government they live under. Both of these ideas are flawed and propagated by the very people who benefit from the openness of knowledge - the people with the power - the politicians. It is hypocritical that many scientists who would be opposed to secretiveness as a way of retaining power for themselves are the same people doing research stamped "Top Secret" thereby ceding that very power to the government for little more than a living wage and a laboratory.

The willingness to give-up control of something they create could almost be seen as a lack of self-esteem on the part of the scientists. They allow someone else with half the knowledge and a millionth the understanding to determine both when it is proper to use the invention and to what ends because they are unsure of their ability to make those decisions for themselves.

The secret is the key

The Guild should recruit members while they are still undergraduates and, in extreme, cases even offer membership to special high school students as a way to pay for higher education. Membership is for a lifetime and the covenant is absolute - anything discussed within the Guilds Labs are absolutely secret. As with any secret society the penalty for betraying the covenant would be death. The Guild would seek to form mutually beneficial agreements with various countries and corporations.

The Guild would support their members financially and never interdict in a fellow members work. The only requirement would be that any publication, patent, or theory would first have to be approved for ignorant consumption by a panel elected from within the constituency. The panel would be tasked with determining both the immediate and potential benefits and detriments a technology presents to humanity as a species. If a particular piece of technology is deemed to posses a potential to be misused or the social development of humanity too limited, then the technology could be hidden from the public.

The important thing to understand is that in such a model the knowledge is not destroyed nor restricted from those possessing the moral character to apply the knowledge in the goal of furthering human understanding. Instead, the idea is shelved and not revealed or sold to either corporations nor governments. Members of the guild still have full access to the work and can develop further on the original idea as they will. If they succeed in producing a functionally equivalent but socially safer invention, the panel may elect to release the new invention while continuing to suppress the public knowledge of the old. Further, a periodic reevaluation would ensure that even inventions possessing great potential for misuse could be released once and if the public's social awareness has progressed or if measures have been taken to ensure little misuse is possible.

Jon

[edit on 7.29.2007 by Voxel]



posted on Jul, 29 2007 @ 10:50 PM
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The Parable of Tesla
There is an interesting story about Nikola Tesla who was the not-so-famed inventor of the electrical transformer, the main protagonist for AC electricity, and the father of pretty much everything wireless. Tesla's contribution to humanity can not be overstated, unlike Thomas Edison's contribution which is always vastly overstated anytime his name is mentioned during a discussion on science.

The story goes that Tesla sought to make the most powerful weapon of all time - a real ray-gun. Soon after he tested his creation by firing it in the vicinity of the north pole, reports came streaming in from Siberia of a massive explosion. Horrified by the news, Tesla destroyed both the plans and the ray-gun so that they can never be used again by any human being.

Whether the amazing ray-gun story of Tesla is true or not, there is a quality to be respected in the story of an inventor who, after creating the most powerful weapon known to man at the time, destroys his most remarkable creation. Buried in that story, is a moral and feeling human being who truly understands human nature and decides that his soul, conscience, chi, or whatever is of greater importance than some footnote in the myths of a long-lost civilization.

-----
This is a work in progress. Notice that it has no real conclusion. The Parable of Tesla is actually how this thing started so I decided to include that. I figured this is the best audience for this kind of rant so I am looking forward to what everyone here thinks about this.

I just feel that science has an obligation to the human race and not to governments; that it answers to people and not nations.

Jon



posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 01:39 AM
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Because I'm tired and don't feel like being lengthy, I have a short answer.

Science/Scientists are'nt failing humanity, the generals and people who control the funding are.


Everyone has the right to know anything they want, so long as it is'nt violating privacy.

Just because you know how to build a nuclear bomb does'nt mean you can,
that is without access to the proper materials, knowing how to do something is meaningless.



posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 01:42 AM
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loki nailed it. Exactly right.



posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 05:15 AM
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Science hasn't failed. Everything you have today is thanks to science, if you don't like it get rid of internet and your computers too.

Religion, has only being deceiving people since the beginning.



posted on Jul, 30 2007 @ 08:09 AM
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Science has failed humanity because human beings use the products of scientific research for the same purposes they use everything else?

More like humanity has failed science -- or rather, failed to show that it is mature enough to deal with the enormous power science has placed at its disposal.

And anyway your proposed solution is the secret society?

What a star you are.

That suggestion is enough to make me overcome my lifelong aversion to smileys and present you with two lines of those hideous grinning ones.

[edit on 30-7-2007 by Astyanax]



posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 07:15 PM
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Science isn't failing humanity, humanity is failing humanity. Scientists are human beings, same as you and me. They need to work to make money to feed and clothe themselves and their offspring. To work, they have to take a job at some research lab. Some company or government owns that lab and dictates what type of work they are to do. Then the owners take the result and either shelve it or package it as a product, be it an atomic weapon or deodorant. In the case of corporate labs, say Proctor and Gamble, they don't want their scientists spending lab time on saving the world, they want them developing a better smelling deodorant that they can sell to the sweaty masses. So to keep body and soul together your scientist puts his nose to the grindstone and pumps out dozens of different formulas of deodorant that some test group will sniff at until they decide that he has produced the correct fragrance. then he moves on to the next task assigned him. At home he may work quietly on some project of his own, but without backing there is little funding, and little chance of success. This is how the world works, and until a real benevolent multibillionaire appears to create the worlds first free science research facility, that is how it will continue to work.



posted on Aug, 4 2007 @ 07:32 PM
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Um. Guys? Every post following the OP has been addressed in the original postage, if you take the time to read it thoroughly.

Although, yes, a secret society is a bit of a hard pill to swallow.



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 02:37 AM
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Hey, Im not sure that sicence is failing us, i think its how certain people (Armed forces) is using it. I know we must get some defence weaponry technology, but i think weve all took it too far now.

So in whole, science is not failing us, its just what a certain amount of people are doing that is failing us.

Take Care, Vix



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 12:02 PM
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Voxel wins the interweb.

Gumbyments feed the scientists,scientists sell their soul to gumbyments..or maybe it's our soul



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 06:08 PM
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Science has not failed humanity. It does not have a consciousness and does not make decisions. People make decisions. The people that have choosen to use the benefits of science as a means of destruction are the ones that fail humanity. Science is a good thing, and as with any good thing it can be used for positive or negative. Which will we choose? Well, it is also not complete. Science has mainly been used as a means to develop technological gadgets, if it was also used to develop better morality, then many of the reasons for the assumptions of it 'failing' will obliterated.



posted on Aug, 10 2007 @ 08:50 PM
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In regards to the original question......I would simply suggest that it be kept in mind that science and its resulting new technologies and ideas have lead to positive changes as well as negative. We are all free to conjecture opinions as to which way the balance has tipped.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 10:27 PM
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As a scientist myself, I'd like to say something...

First, you'd need to find a source of virtually unlimited funds. I'd like to know where you plan on getting that, because science requires a lot of money. It always has.

Second, I never met an undergraduate in a science-based major who wishes to cause harm to the human race. And I think contrary to popular belief, scientists do not even kill lab rats without thinking twice about it. I've known many people who take them home as pets, and it's not to somehow relieve their minds that they at least saved some, it's to understand what we're killing to make the human life better. You can't say the same about people who eat meat on a daily basis, and never think twice about it.

I don't get how a scientist is any different from a common person who does nothing to turn the world around. In the United States, not many people even vote for the president, or vote at all in local elections - while at even government funded laboratories, scientists are generally very vocal about their political views and do vote (and if you believe they like our current administration, you're dead wrong, and openly express rage).

You know what you need to do instead? Focus on the real world problems rather than this illusion that scientists are socially inept and follow the will of others. I can tell you that we go to bars (and even get into bar fights! WOW!), go to the beach, go to the gym, and generally enjoy any sort of social event! Who would've thought that the days of Isaac Newton are over?!

Start a guild that focuses on eliminating the economic dependence on the sales of weapons, or a guild that wants to eliminate all the lobbyists parading around Washington and whispering nonsense into your elected officials brains. Oh, and start a guild that stops watching TV, for god's sake...



posted on Aug, 22 2007 @ 01:12 PM
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I'd have to agree with T_Jesus. Although I've only been in science for a few years, I share his views.

Science hasn't failed anyone and science itself does not have obligations to anyone. People themselves do. As in any ANY other community, profession, etc., there will always be people willing to do whatever it takes to make a buck, get a grant, become famous, etc. I can bet my life that the percentage of such people in the scientific community is a LOT smaller than that of such people in business, politics, armed forces, etc.

In my particular department we regularly have ethics discussions on what's alright and what's not and what obligations we as people have to society. The standards that we at least try to adhere to are much higher than those that were imposed on me when I worked for private businesses.

As far as the guild idea you propose, I don't think it will ever work. When was the last time you heard of a secret society that has not used its secrets for evil and self-gain?



posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by Voxel
Lets make a Guild
What the human species needs is something of a "Scientists Guild" structured around the only method of retaining class power any human being has ever come up with: the secret society.


Speaking AS a for-real scientist: No.

No. A thousand times no. A million times no.

Science exists and makes progress because of open borders between us and between us and the public. When knowledge becomes a function of secret societies, then (as in the past) major abuses of power and information occur and the ones "in the know" can be easily manipulated by others.

Yes, I find the lack of knowledge painful and frustrating at times (and the lack of research) -- BUT... I can't simply turn away and scoff "insect" and go back to my ivory tower.

There is a phrase that the Native Americans (and Lakota in particular) use: "all my relations." I am not just a brain in a bottle... I am connected to each person that my words reach, and they are connected to me (I can gain a lot of insight and wisdom if I listen to their voices when I do my research (because my research involves human subjects.)) Everyone and every lifeform are "all my relations."

They are not toys. I am not some kind of deity.

We don't need a secret society. We need to get out and start interacting and teaching (and teaching people how to use the tool, logic, and how to do good research and how to know speculative fiction from real truth.)



posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 02:38 AM
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Science hasn't failed humanity.

The reality is quite to the contrary - it's served it perfectly.



posted on Aug, 23 2007 @ 04:23 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Science has failed humanity because human beings use the products of scientific research for the same purposes they use everything else?


A very few does and only because those who attempt humane applications are mostly prevented from doing so.


More like humanity has failed science -- or rather, failed to show that it is mature enough to deal with the enormous power science has placed at its disposal.


Humanity is not currently in control of it's destiny and and it's our so called leaders that have failed to implement the changes we asked them to.


And anyway your proposed solution is the secret society?

What a star you are.


Fighting secrecy with secrecy sounds kind of stupid to me. At best success will be kept a secret and a new controlling class will be formed and at worse , and more likely so, they will die secretly and in short order.


That suggestion is enough to make me overcome my lifelong aversion to smileys and present you with two lines of those hideous grinning ones.




Stellar

[edit on 23-8-2007 by StellarX]



posted on Aug, 24 2007 @ 04:19 PM
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Originally posted by Direwolf
Science isn't failing humanity, humanity is failing humanity.


Did humanity decide to build nuclear weapons instead of nuclear power plants? Did humanity decide to it's most 'economic' to dump millions of tons of grains in the Oceans while people starve? Did humanity decide that cheap generic drugs , that saves lives, should not be made because it infringes on 'intellectual property rights'? Do humanity choose war and destruction or are they dragged into it by declarations made by their so called 'leaders'? How is humanity responsible for a mess created by those who do their best to deceive us and keep us in ignorance of their plans? Humanity might be failing but it's in not understanding inhumanity that drives those that are currently running the world.


Scientists are human beings, same as you and me.
They need to work to make money to feed and clothe themselves and their offspring. To work, they have to take a job at some research lab. Some company or government owns that lab and dictates what type of work they are to do.


Do not kid yourself into thinking that they are doing it to feed and cloth their kids as they could also find jobs at Walmart or KFC; that's how the majority feed and cloth their kids. They take these jobs because they want MORE and they are willing to be fooled by the quite clever propaganda that is meant to help them do just that.


Then the owners take the result and either shelve it or package it as a product, be it an atomic weapon or deodorant. In the case of corporate labs, say Proctor and Gamble, they don't want their scientists spending lab time on saving the world, they want them developing a better smelling deodorant that they can sell to the sweaty masses. So to keep body and soul together your scientist puts his nose to the grindstone and pumps out dozens of different formulas of deodorant that some test group will sniff at until they decide that he has produced the correct fragrance. then he moves on to the next task assigned him.


Like a good little drone who has not proven that his mind is quite adept at learning and remembering particulars; these people know what they are doing but it's no surprise as the entire process is by design meant to find them.


At home he may work quietly on some project of his own, but without backing there is little funding, and little chance of success.


Yet the mavericks keep succeeding against the might of the establishment.


This is how the world works, and until a real benevolent multibillionaire appears to create the worlds first free science research facility, that is how it will continue to work.


Why we need to hope for that type of multibillionare i do not know and i can't imagine what his motivation would be? When last did you meet one of those? and do you believe people get that wealthy by being kind and considerate and generally doing what's in mankind's best interest?

Bah.

Stellar



posted on Aug, 24 2007 @ 08:05 PM
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"Do not kid yourself into thinking that they are doing it to feed and cloth their kids as they could also find jobs at Walmart or KFC; that's how the majority feed and cloth their kids. They take these jobs because they want MORE and they are willing to be fooled by the quite clever propaganda that is meant to help them do just that."

Yes, a job at Wal-Mart and/or KFC will clearly be able to provide your child with the best education and chance at what we define as success in this world...




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