Man has risen from the lowest position of a caveman to the highest position of a spaceman. He has conquered time and space and has tamed all the forces of nature. But as every coin has two faces, so is the case with science. The science which has been of such great assistance to mankind has another face too. There is evidently a drastic change in the lives we are leading today and that we had some years ago. Science which has bestowed us with development, progress, expansion and growth has also rendered us with hostilities, violence, ruin, devastation and bloodshed. George Bernard Shaw has rightly said:
“Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.”
Gone is the age of steam. We are now in the age of hydrogen bombs and electricity. The most fantastic dreams of HG Wells in his novel: ‘‘The Dream’’ have come true. In this space age, where the wonders of science excel the wonders of nature, science affects our day-to-day life. Science has surpassed the old cobwebs of mythology and yesterday’s faith has proved to be today’s superstition in the crucible of science.
Yet the problem is whether science is a boon or bane to society. Science nurtures intelligence but leaves the will and emotions uncared for. As Helen Keller has quoted:
“Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all- the apathy of human beings.”
Science triumphs in automating processes but now it reigns over man. Automation is the order of the day. The specter of war and destruction haunts the world and nobody is safe. Controlling scientific knowledge with moral judgement may be a solution to this dilemma. Audio-visual appliances annihilate times and distances. But more valuable than these concrete achievements is the spirit of science. Science means systematised knowledge. It finds the causes of phenomena, and works through observation and experiments. Science is the torch-bearer of the civilisation.
Is science really a bane? As religion is a Matter of Faith, in the same way science is a Matter of Fact. Modern warfares are destructive beyond the wildest dreams of our unscientific predecessors. Machine guns, shells, submarines, the atom hydrogen bombs and nuclear weapons can destroy the world in the twinkling of an eye. Aeroplanes in war act as engines of mass destruction. Not only in times of war but in times of peace also man lives in the midst of diseases. Though cures are being invented, diseases are multiplying too.
If the former is in arithmetic progression, the latter is in geometric progression.That is why peace lovers blame science as a curse. It is said that Mathematics makes man subtle and history makes man wise. Likewise, science upgrades the human intellect. It supplements him with acute knowledge and adds to his comforts. It should be refined by the philosophy of love, by a desire to tolerate others and then only man will be able to avert the evil effects that may follow from the misuse of science. An integrated educational pattern, which makes a scientist aware of his social responsibilities, may be a solution to the present turmoil. The extremely genius Albert Einstein once quoted:
“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”
Indeed, since his times, science has advanced manifolds. More than ever, science has brought hope to the lives of many with its medical advances, genetic engineering, biotechnology, various inventions and discoveries. Science has made it possible for man to live for longer time, decrease the death rate, increase the life expectancy etc.
Moreover, life has become extremely easy only with the help of science. Going places is easy, staying connected with people is convenient and keeping updated with the latest in world, and being entertained are all the blessings of science. Today even a child cannot imagine his life without cartoons. Latest technology toys that can fly, dance, move around, talk etc, mobiles, television, video games, movies and latest clothes are the boon of science. Doubtlessly, we cannot live without electricity. An hour’s power cut at our homes and offices drives us mad and makes our routine and work go haywire. Telephones, television, radio, kitchen appliances like mixer, grinder, LPG, refrigerator, ovens, microwaves etc make our lives easy, comfortable and enjoyable. And who can forget computers! Life has never been the same ever since the IT revolution took the world by storm. The entire world has been reduced to one global village. Any kind of information is just a click of mouse away. There has been an explosion of knowledge and wisdom.
The leap of science in aeronautics and space research is commendable. One cannot think of life without the satellites hovering over the earth for a variety of reasons. They make so many things of our daily life possible like—weather forecasts, communication, entertainment etc. Nuclear power can do wonders if used for the betterment of mankind. But the tendency of man to tread the forbidden paths leads him into the black hole of death, destruction and decay. Man has manipulated deserts, hills, mountains, oceans, ice covered regions, all of them, in accordance with his needs; and has exploited animals to their extinction.
Man has constructed whole new islands for himself; but global warming is a big threat to the already existing lands. Man has invented radiations and lasers only to prove harmful to human body than being beneficial. Science has made modern man’s life simpler but has loaded it with huge tensions and threats.
Science is the greatest blessing that man could ever receive. It is indeed a boon and a blessing, if used for the benefit of mankind and for constructive purposes unless it becomes a tool in the hand of a few selfish and evil-minded people. When used as a weapon to destroy, create fear, spread violence and annihilate people, then science becomes a double-edged sword destroying even the perpetrator.
It is thus in our hands to make science a blessing for humanity or to convert it into a curse, a bane and destroy even the footprints of mankind on this planet.