Sociology

When Science and Technology does more Harm than Good



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Many of the achievements of science and technology have held so much potential. This has especially the case during the last few centuries. Certainly a the good that has been done by science and technology could fill volumes. However, the title above, "when science and technology does more harm than good", means this article will focus on that instead.

As is the case with many of the achievements of mankind, the results of the misuse of science and technology has resulted in grave harm. In the hands of people intent on misuse science and technology has, since mans beginning, been used for harm. Think back in time. The new technological invention of the spear is used against a rival tribe resulting in death! And so the story goes.

Science and Technology by themselves, so to speak, have only been able to do harm with the approaching of the industrial age. Now, through no wrong intention, people cause harm through the use of science and technology because they have no alternative. How can this be so?

As an example, we heat our homes in winter with energy produced from a coal burning power plant which is pumping tons of carbon into the atmosphere, thereby assisting the cause of global warming. Perhaps solar or wind power could be used, but most people cannot afford such equipment.

This highlights two primary ways science and technology sometimes do more harm than good. Mans intentional misuse of it through war and terror. And secondly, mans use of science and technology to fill a normal and necessary need where harm is the unintended result.

In the post industrial age governments of the world have, more hastily than ever, raced toward more and more powerful technologies to enable them to achieve victory in some of the most deadly wars ever fought.

But in the race to do so the byproduct has not been considered at all. Rather it has been ignored completely. Then when the technology created is put to more peaceful use, still without considering the result of using it, the destructive byproduct wreaks havoc on the civilian population.

During WWII the race to produce a nuclear weapon was on. Now nuclear weapons number in the thousands all over the world. Small nuclear arms are in use on the modern battlefield. With what side effects to soldiers and civilians?

Some have said that the nuclear weapons dropped on Japan during WWII saved more lives than were lost because it brought a quick end to the war. But that view does not take into account the fact that nuclear technology has caused a lot of other damage since.

Consider Chernobyl or Three Mile Island for just two examples. Sure, these were were accidents, but the damage is nevertheless done! Where to put nuclear waste is becoming a huge problem. It doesn't just decompose like a thrown away wooden spear.

The entire world is becoming increasingly aware that the ongoing use of carbon fuels is a cause of global warming. Again, this is the result of science and technology developed and used without consideration of the byproducts. Discarded plastics, oil spills, smog and so many others.

Where will it end? There are environmental causes and peace movements. Governments are working to agree upon terms to reduce global warming. But there is a mountain of disagreement on how to accomplish these things, if they really can accomplish anything at all.

The reason for doubt is because of a force much larger than any of these groups. A force more unified in pursuit of it's goal than any global human force has ever been. It is more powerful than any other group in it's influence of government. It stands in opposition to accepting the costs of cleaning up any harm science and technology have done.

It is the global economy, companies, corporations and the military industrial complex. Their goal is profit. Profit with little or no consideration of the results.

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