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Scientific Knowledge - Who's Responsible for its Use?

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Scientific Knowledge - Who's Responsible for its Use?

Society has become very dependent upon the technological advances of science. As a result, our expectations of scientists to continue to make our world better are extensive. Unfortunately, not all scientific discoveries and technological advances have resulted in improvements. In fact, environmental problems, such as air pollution and toxic waste, have resulted from the technological advances we use daily. Blaming the scientists who create the methods, concepts, and procedures that lead to negative circumstances is easy to do and done quite often. But should the scientists be the owners of this blame? How is this fair when their initial intentions for research were to improve, yet the findings and application result in harm? The problems of the general public, supposedly invoked by the scientists, lie in the hands of society. The miscommunications of the media, ignorance, and neglect for the environment, contribute to the misapplication of scientific information.

Lewis Thomas, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, defends the motive of scientists to pursue their research. Very often, scientists are charged with hubris, the "overreaching pride that leads humans to start 'doing things reserved for the gods' " (Thomas, 236). Techniques, such as recombinant DNA and in vitro fertilization, are means by which society believes scientists have defied the intentions of Mother Nature. But should the scientist be responsible for the act of hubris when it is the lay people who exploit the scientific methods. The drive for research may be to truly make a positive difference and make a lifesaving contribution to the world. Lewis Thomas contends that the drive for knowledge is due to...

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...ources of information. Science will continue to evolve, as we humans have. Our responsibility, we who rent this earth for the duration of our lives, to practice good judgement in the use of scientific information, so that we can keep this earth habitable for generations to come.

Works Cited

Bishop, Michael J. "Enemies of Promise." In The Presence of Others: Voices that Call for Response, edited by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1997.

Kelly, Kevin. "Interview with the Luddite." In The Presence of Others: Voices that Call For Response, edited by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1997.

Thomas, Lewis. "The Hazards of Science." In The Presence of Others: Voices that Call For Response, edited by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz. New York: St. Martin's Press. 1997.
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