The Impact of Science and Technology to Society
The rapid rise of modern science has created major social problems. Not only has science created profoundly affected man’s material way of life it also offered an equally profound mental upheaval. As resulted from the changes it has effected in man’s rational understanding of his environment and his attitude toward knowledge. Materials life has primarily felt the technological knowledge growing out of industrial application of scientific discoveries, techniques, and methods. At the same time, the increased awareness and the understanding of nature and the enlightened attitude toward knowledge have seriously impinged upon man’s religious faith and outlook.
These effects are by no means unilateral. Technological improvements lead to a society enjoying comfortable life and with more leisure time. Furthermore, these selfsame technological advances could also be motivated in a negative way. Just a single scientific misinterpretation can exterminate the material existence of his “creator” rather than giving him a better life. Amidst technological jungle, what fate one could wait? Science is a good model of logic; it is coherent and often clear. By careful analysis, one could think that man’s way to survival lies in his ability to be a critical juror of this complex mortal world. Independent of his relative reaction his decision will significantly affect the future state of science.
Man is a rational being; he has the capacity to reason, according to Aristotle. Man could not alienate the inextricable relationship of “science” and “society”. Nor is science and religion on opposite sides of the fence! Not only does science color man’s attitude toward religion, but also religion has a marked effect on science, the scientists, and its advocates. Religious principles should be the guide by which society decides how it will use the material products of science.
Modern communities mean urbanization; they use rapid transportation, hi-speed communication facilities, the preservation and distribution of food, adequate sanitation, and the use of mechanical power. If calamity destroys the capital city of a certain country, community life becomes slower; transportation, food distribution, manufactured goods, professional services, and power distribution would be a remote possibility. Through technological application, science has become the material basis for civilization. Civilization becomes daily more complex through applications of science; and with that growing complexity there develops the weakness based on the fact that civilization would be seriously impaired by the destruction of only a few of its parts.
Science has many faces. It is the man in the white coat; the mechanical brain; the E-mc2. Science could also be a monster that could turn on its creator in times of depression and uncertainty. Science is the fulfillment of hope. It is the cure to one’s illness and the torchbearer in times of great try. Science adored man’s curios instinct for it bridges illusion from reality. Science is pro-human. Through the development of machines, science provides solace from backbreaking physical and manual labor. Modern technology could prolong life in countless ways. Science break the chains of superstition, provide market venue for technological products. The leisure of technology made distance irrelevant. Science created a global village ruled by rational and sociable individuals.
On the other hand, science by the very technological progress, which it fosters, leads to the division of labor regimentation of workers in factories; overcrowding of cities and concentration of economic power. These factors can mean the control of man by man and a loss of self-reliance on the part of the individual. On a broader scope, scientific and technological progress means that man has control over increasingly powerful means of destruction.
Man must decide how he is going to apply his new powers. In the last analysis, science has given him a whole battery of new techniques, which are only means to an end and not ends in it. The question facing society has to do with the utilization of these means. What are the goals toward which human aim? The answer must be based on the values we cherish and on our convictions as to what is good. Another person cannot make the decision on one’s behalf.
What are man’s obligations to his fellow? Why should man strive to achieve this?
These are questions beyond the scope of science’s philosophical and religious grounds are necessary to determine the “humanity” of a rational soul. After man has decided what it is he wants, science can help him in getting it. While science can not tell him where he should go, it can help man in finding justification of his choice, especially those outside the limits of science. “Science” serves as head, “Technology”, the body, and legs support the two. Science and Technology should be at the forefront of man quest for greatness, should we aim for a more peaceful global society.