posted on Oct, 4 2007 @ 12:36 PM
Proposition: "Science has done more harm than good in human history and needs to be strictly regulated".
Ladies and Gentlemen, with apologies to my opponent for the delayed start, I would like to outline the arguments I will be developing during this
This debate is not about whether all scientific research should be outlawed. Of course not. But it does need to be strictly regulated. Thus far,
science and technology have done more harm than good and pose great dangers to society.
The potential of scientific development needs to be harnessed for the good of society, not simply to add to the swelling coffers of multi-national
companies that can afford huge research and development programs.
Possibly the most obvious danger comes from the Weapons of Mass Destructions (“WMDs”) which science has helped produce. There may not have been
any WMDs in Iraq, but there are more than enough nuclear bombs and biological weapons in other countries to risk adding humanity to the list of
extinct species (a list that grows longer every day due to “scientific progress”).
Numerous significant environmental disasters have arisen from scientific and technological developments. Nuclear waste, CFCs, global warming, acid
rain, chemical pollution and smog would just be the first few items on a very long list. We have been paying too high a price for labour saving
devices which supposedly make our lives easier (yet somehow we seem to have less free time and work harder than previous generations).
My opponent may try to gain your support by pointing to the material benefits which science has brought and the greater life expectancies. However, I
will be asking you to think about the deeper impact on humanity of scientific “progress” and the long-term risks which mankind now faces from the
use of science and technology.
I will be asking you to think about how “science” really works, who benefits and who is harmed. Most scientific research is currently funded by,
and for the benefit of, various industries and companies. Even a lot of research in universities is now done in partnership with industries and has
the clear goal of making a profit. And with the profit motive comes a willingness to take risks (or a blindness to those risks) – including risks to
the environment and human health.
A “scientific” approach is supposed to be objective and neutral. However, this supposed objectivity is sometimes used as an excuse by scientists
to wash their hands of the consequences of their research, whether it is a better way for us to kill one another or to reduce the diversity of life on
The prevalence of the “scientific” mindset has also left much of the Western world without any real moral compass. Religions have been undermined,
but science offers no alternative guide to right and wrong. It does not offer any meaning or purpose to our lives, other than as consumers.
The pace of scientific development threatens to outpace regulation. Genetically engineering food is being farmed despite widespread public concern.
Other areas of research, such as nanotechnology, have the potential to wipe out all life on the planet.
While strict regulation of science may somewhat slow the pace of scientific “progress”, this would be a small price to pay for reducing the risks
Science has done more harm than good in human history and therefore needs to be strictly regulated.