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Does science ever scare you?

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#1 CygnuS

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 12:51 PM

The older I get the more I worry about science. Perhaps I shouldn't say science itself but the things that result from science. In my 60 years of living I have benefited greatly from those results. I wouldn't have lived this long without science's benefits and I am thankful for everything I have that is a result of science. But science and technology are always double edged swords. The problems that have come from knowledge just seem to get bigger and bigger. Global warming, the potential of nuclear, biological, chemical or cyber war, a major solar storm taking out all the satellites and creating a Mad Max society, future artificial intelligence going too far.... I could go on. 

Should we start ramping up the few conversations that we have about the possible dangers or is that being disrespectful to everyone (like us CN members) who love the scientific process? We can't go back and undo the past but should we start to be a little more careful about blazing into the future? 


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#2 opticsguy

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 12:58 PM

Science does not scare me at all.

Politicians scare me, ALL of them.


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#3 cst4

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:05 PM

I don't find science scary... I find people wielding science for the wrong reasons scary.  But looking back through history, even with terrible weapons like nuclear bombs, I do feel that the good science has brought has outweighed the bad.  And I have hope that humanity will continue to learn from its mistakes and strive to better itself and the world in which we live.  But no matter if science is viewed as good or bad, it is simply inevitable so we all just might as well adapt.


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#4 Jim Waters

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:10 PM

Science does not scare me at all.

Politicians scare me, ALL of them.

Exactly....  +10...


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#5 bobzeq25

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:27 PM

Ignorance/denial of science is a _lot_ more scary, particularly with people who have actual power.


Edited by bobzeq25, 16 January 2020 - 01:28 PM.

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#6 ShaulaB

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:30 PM

Science doesn't, and never has, scared me.

 

The people who want to turn a profit from science scare me cr@pless. The megabillionaires, and now corporations, can buy politicians by the dozen. I know CN does not approve of political commentary, but the US has a real problem with corporate greed, including that of the military industrial complex.

 

End of rant. Dear moderator, remove my post if it does not adhere to CN terms of service.


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#7 Jim Davis

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:45 PM

Nitrogen fixation is one of those scientific ideas that is a two edge sword. Nitrogen compounds are needed for many things, mainly agricultural fertilization and the manufacturing of explosives. The biggest natural source of this was bird droppings. The largest deposits were in the Atacama Desert, and actually caused the War of the Pacific, and is the reason it is part of Chile today instead of Peru and Bolivia. Industrial processes were invented, and allowed greater production, which allowed the massive manufacturing of explosives during World War I. It also lead to the widespread use of chemical fertilizer that we depend on to feed the worlds population. Every new idea has many uses, for good or for bad.


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#8 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 01:48 PM

The word science has become a misused label for technology mainly. Science is not a thing, it's a methodology crafted to reveal the natural universe.  Science and (good) music are the two purest achievements of mankind. 

 

Greed, power, fear and ignorance (religion) are part and parcel with the unfettered industrial haymakers and politicos. 

 

The pot is stirring faster as the heat rises...


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#9 Paul Skee

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 02:09 PM

Nice to see BlakStar's comment regarding technology being confused with science. I'm not sure where it came from, but my brother, now long passed, gave me a concept which has stayed with me. I paraphrase, "Science is Man's attempt to see order in nature. Art is Man's attempt to create order".


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#10 DaveC2042

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 03:17 PM

Nice to see BlakStar's comment regarding technology being confused with science. I'm not sure where it came from, but my brother, now long passed, gave me a concept which has stayed with me. I paraphrase, "Science is Man's attempt to see order in nature. Art is Man's attempt to create order".


Nice.

But these days sometimes art tries to create chaos. Which I mean as a positive.

#11 mich_al

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 04:17 PM

Science does not scare me at all.

Politicians scare me, ALL of them.

 

That was my first thought when I saw the title.  We need a whole new way of doing things !



#12 CygnuS

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 09:48 PM

The problems that have come from knowledge just seem to get bigger and bigger. Global warming, the potential of nuclear, biological, chemical or cyber war, a major solar storm taking out all the satellites and creating a Mad Max society, future artificial intelligence going too far.... I could go on. 

 

Most of you aren't afraid of science and I get that but sometimes I have trouble separating it from the results. To me what you are saying is that you are not afraid of science but you are afraid of full scale nuclear war (using that as one included in above examples). Yet it was science that caused the war...or more specifically politicians that used the weapons developed by scientists. Yet if we hold the politicians 100% responsible and let the scientists off the hook that would mean that scientists don't need to bother with ethics since science is more important.....and any bad that comes from it is not their responsibility. 


Edited by CygnuS, 16 January 2020 - 09:49 PM.

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#13 Jay_Bird

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:06 PM

The problems you list are more threatening because we ignore the science that could inform better decisions.  Instead we see short term gain over long term cost, zero sum outlooks, and many tragedies of the commons.   The people making and pushing these choices scare me more than the facts.  



#14 Mister T

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 05:47 AM

Nice to see BlakStar's comment regarding technology being confused with science. I'm not sure where it came from, but my brother, now long passed, gave me a concept which has stayed with me. I paraphrase, "Science is Man's attempt to see order in nature. Art is Man's attempt to create order".

I would say Industry is Man's attempt to create order.

Unfortunately order may end up being a planet baked to death by the greenhouse effect.



#15 CygnuS

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:21 AM

I would say Industry is Man's attempt to create order.

Unfortunately order may end up being a planet baked to death by the greenhouse effect.

And I suppose you could say that it is the fault of humans and not science but separating the two is difficult so both should be feared because it is both that caused the problem. But I  guess fearing science is unreasonable since it wouldn't exist if humans didn't create it so it is only the humans who could destroy us that we should fear. In other words, blame the murderer, not the weapon. My point is that maybe we should consider more seriousely the future results of science as we continue to use science to invent more and more ways to destroy ourselves. 



#16 Jeff B1

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 10:14 AM

Yes, each and every time I engage in it smile.gif  I usually find out much of what I see is not true and almost all I read is total nonsense. Shocking and scary, huh?


Edited by Jeff B1, 17 January 2020 - 10:16 AM.


#17 StrStrck

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 11:05 AM

Wrong science performed by the wrong people, and for all the wrong reasons.

(I can’t define my wrongs without the risk of singling members of Earth’s society out).


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#18 CygnuS

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:14 PM

 I usually find out much of what I see is not true and almost all I read is total nonsense. 

That's why I like logging into CN. It's the only place on the internet where I can be sure that everything is true. 



#19 Jeff B1

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 12:57 PM

That's why I like logging into CN. It's the only place on the internet where I can be sure that everything is true. 

lol.gif


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#20 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 05:16 PM

Animals use technology of their own, monkeys with grass draw strips getting insects, crows using sticks to aid in retrieving prey for example.  They are not using science. If we say humans are using science when using tools and technology then we should therefore attribute science to other species. Monkeys and crows and circular dolphin bubble nets are not science. 

 

The danger in misusing the word relates to politics and inferring a tool or object misused or used for ill purposes shows science as a thing or way of thinking to be bad. All kinds of nefariousness there.  



#21 CygnuS

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 12:29 AM

 

 

The danger in misusing the word relates to politics and inferring a tool or object misused or used for ill purposes shows science as a thing or way of thinking to be bad. All kinds of nefariousness there.  

It can be tough to separate science and technology even though they are different. If you go back to my original post and take out "science" in every place it is written and replace it with "technology" you will see that the post doesn't change at all. The trend that science and technology is on seems to be one of creating more and more ways to destroy ourselves. Since there is nothing to stop that trend, the logical conclusion is that it will succeed, given enough advancements and time. Can you think of any way to stop science and technology from developing bigger and better ways to end our way of life? 



#22 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 01:25 AM

It can be tough to separate science and technology even though they are different. If you go back to my original post and take out "science" in every place it is written and replace it with "technology" you will see that the post doesn't change at all. The trend that science and technology is on seems to be one of creating more and more ways to destroy ourselves. Since there is nothing to stop that trend, the logical conclusion is that it will succeed, given enough advancements and time. Can you think of any way to stop science and technology from developing bigger and better ways to end our way of life? 

 

 

I see your point on the difficulty in separating science and technology yet I do make a conscious effort to do just that, for reasons I shroud in the nefariousness reference. I believe it does change the meaning, and rather strikingly.  Science enables technology and advancements to make many things possible and improved. There is a purposeful effort of will and desire behind that.  It also takes a purposeful and decided effort to use these very things in real and perceived negative or harmful ways. 

 

Will ill used technology destroy us? No, it cannot. We blame the tool we cannot control for the greater good.  The tool bearers are the real problem. If it is not possible to control or divert, then switching the premise to removing the tool becomes an attractive wish, disappointingly as impossible as putting a genie back in a bottle.



#23 CygnuS

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 04:05 PM

.  The tool bearers are the real problem. 

You sure got to the root of the issue with that quote. However, asking the question "Do tool bearers ever scare you?" might not have gotten me any views.

So, first came humans, then came science, then came technology, then came many ways to destroy humans. Now where we're at is humans not concerned enough to stop humans from creating even more ways to destroy humans. Next will come the human-made destruction of all humans. No wonder advanced civilizations haven't visited us yet. Intelligent life destroys itself before it can make it very far. That seems to be our destiny. You' re right about not being able to get the genie back in the bottle. Our lust for technology is simply too strong.


Edited by CygnuS, 18 January 2020 - 04:09 PM.


#24 Crow Haven

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 09:38 PM

It's too late.  There is no way to put the monkeys back in the bottle.



#25 llanitedave

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Posted 18 January 2020 - 09:49 PM

Most of you aren't afraid of science and I get that but sometimes I have trouble separating it from the results. To me what you are saying is that you are not afraid of science but you are afraid of full scale nuclear war (using that as one included in above examples). Yet it was science that caused the war...or more specifically politicians that used the weapons developed by scientists. Yet if we hold the politicians 100% responsible and let the scientists off the hook that would mean that scientists don't need to bother with ethics since science is more important.....and any bad that comes from it is not their responsibility. 

Science absolutely does NOT cause wars.  Ignorance and greed, and those that use them for their own selfish gains, are what cause wars.  Yes, these terrible people can use science to inflict harm on others.

 

But the victims can just as well use science to defend themselves from those attacks.

 

As for ethics, the process of science is impossible without it.  Science cannot advance on falsehoods.  Fraud, deceit and falsehoods undermine science and hold it back, they don't move it forward.  For this reason, I'd argue that science as a process is more fundamentally ethical than most other human endeavors.


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