The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
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27-09-2011, 08:32 AM
 
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(27-09-2011 08:07 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  When we indulge the scientific geniuses - when society lets them get away with bad shit, and they cut themselves too much moral slack, these special people can do far more serious damage than exceptionally talented cellists can.

Good point, Peterkin, especially in academic environments -- I have seen 'rock-star' level scientists being able to neglect their teaching responsibilities and 'play' with almost whatever they felt like playing with.

Quote:And the teachers need to be chosen, not on the basis of which prize-winner would be a bigger feather in the school cap or a bigger draw for funds, but which cares most for, and can best communicate with, the young people in his charge.

That is also true, unfortunately. This problem can be solved only if universities have reliable, adequate funding from government and NOT vitally dependent on industry and/or military for survival.

Quote:Aside from that, the two insurmountable problems are money and competition, which may or may not overlap in any given instance.

Yes, this is the essence of the problem.

Quote: I think co-operation and free sharing of information could prevent a whole lot of waste, as well as lay open to peer scrutiny any short-cuts, blind-spots, fudging of data, conceptual errors, potential disasters.

Some of this is already done by peer review procedures and publishing papers in scientific journals. Except for classified research, which includes all of military and most of industry related projects.

Quote:I believe most scientists are ethical people, with a strong desire to benefit their society. In isolation, it's too easy to fall into patriotic mode, or a winner/ loser mind-set; too small a horizon, insufficient perspective.

We're not about to get a perfect world, but it wouldn't kill us to try - while failing to do so certainly will.

At least start thinking about it and not fall into the mindset of "science is perfect, science is wonderful, science is not evil, nobody dare say anything bad about science!". I have seen it on other forums and it always strikes me as a kind of religious faith in a perfect fantasy world that doesn't exist. Science, as all human activities, can be used both for good and evil, as many of you pointed out before. This thread is about trying to think of ways of channeling science to serve the common good.
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27-09-2011, 08:56 AM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
Quote: Zatamon:
Some of this [information sharing; scrutiny] is already done by peer review procedures and publishing papers in scientific journals.

I meant long before publication; from the very start of a project, so as to save duplicating the same error. Pooling ideas, monitoring one another's results, double-checking calculations with a fresh eye. Why wait until a whole lot of resources have been wasted on a false path? Also, on a really good idea and worthwhile avenue of inquiry, more brains with different perspectives might produce better outcomes, sooner.

Quote: Except for classified research, which includes all of military and most of industry related projects.

Except? But this is where most of the harm is done. This is what most needs addressing by the very public who will suffer the overlooked side-effects and pick up the tab for cleanup.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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12-10-2011, 06:14 PM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
I suppose even fire and the wheel had a 'dark side'.
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16-10-2011, 08:03 PM
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
Science is the greatest human endeavour ever begun. The problem is the intellectual immaturity of our species.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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16-10-2011, 08:06 PM (This post was last modified: 16-10-2011 08:30 PM by NotSoVacuous.)
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
Under construction.

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
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16-10-2011, 08:31 PM
 
RE: The dark side of science -- how do you feel about it?
(16-10-2011 08:06 PM)NotSoVacuous Wrote:  I see nothing wrong with science's creation of things like the A-Bomb. The people that use it in the way they do is the problem. Although the use of it on Japan was against civilians, I am kind of glad it happened or we all would be speaking German right now.

On a side note, it might be create defense against aliens one day!

NotSo --- NOT SO at all!

Suffice to say that any society that invests enormous time, energy, resources and talent into developing something that has only one conceivable purpose: mass murder and mass destruction, is certifiably insane, no matter what justification is used.

Sorry, but you can't get around this by imagining hypothetical alien invasion! Big Grin
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