Today on Blogcritics
Home » Science and Mankind

Science and Mankind

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

In the 19th century, Thomas Love Peacock, the author of numerous social satires, made the following observation. “I almost think it is the ultimate destiny of Science to exterminate the human race.” Approximately one hundred years later, having just witnessed the power of an atomic explosion, a famous physicist made a similar observation. The physicist’s name was Robert Oppenheimer. He said, “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds” (Sherwin 501).

Both men believed that Science, if left to its own devices, would probably annihilate mankind. Many others agreed, while still others disagreed. Literature is replete with end-of-the-world scenarios, in which humanity is responsible for its own demise. And of course, Hollywood picked up on the theme, producing myriad apocalyptic blockbusters. These books and movies reflect a simple proposition, that of cause and effect. The effect is the extermination of the human race. The cause is Science run amok.

Science is responsible for thermonuclear weapons, bio-chemical weapons, the slow destruction of the ozone layer, and the pollution of the earth. And even worse horrors are on the horizon. Science is already engaged in genetic experiments, bio-engineering of foods, time-space travel, and promises that nanotechnology will soon be a reality.

Religion, which is the opposite of Science, condemns such scientific advances as heretical. They are nothing more than mankind playing at being God. Religious thought presents a hierarchy of causes. At the top of the hierarchy is God. He is the governing cause. When mankind forgets his place in the pecking order, as he did in the Garden of Eden, the outcome is disaster. Religion names such hubris “sin.” According to Religion, the result of sin is death. In the Garden of Eden, the resulting death was spiritual in nature. In the modern world, because of the secular manipulations of Science, the result could be the extermination of humanity.

The debate between Science and Religion goes on and on, ad infinitum. Essentially, the debate revolves around humanity’s fear of death. Death is the ultimate effect. Science declares that it can, if given the time and resources, eventually conquer death. In other words, Science can eradicate all the causes of death. Religion declares that ‘the truth’ will set you free. In this case, the truth is faith, religious understanding. Or as Oswald Spengler put it: “God is man’s refuge from the Destiny which he can feel and livingly experience” (Spengler 320).

The two opposing viewpoints of the debate are evident in society’s attitudes toward the problem of old age. Religion’s methodology is to improve the quality of life. Thus, the elderly are encouraged to remain active, and to disseminate their wisdom to young people. In other words, the elderly should be venerated and tolerated, rather than tossed aside as useless. Once encompassed by death, the elderly, according to Religion, will experience eternal life, the gift of faith.

Science chooses to confront old age from the medical angle. Science, as it has already demonstrated, can increase the life span by means of ferreting out disease, by the application of drugs, and by improving nutrition. Eventually, Science will increase the life span of human beings to the point of virtual immortality.

Religion asserts that only God can offer eternal life and that when mankind, in the name of Science, assumes the role of God, death is the inevitable outcome. On its part, Science asserts there is no evidence of God, therefore Science is mankind’s only hope of defeating death.

As previously pointed out, the debate goes on and on. More than likely, it will never be resolved. For neither Science nor Religion can stop death. Myriads of people die every day, some from disease, some from warfare, some from starvation, and some from old age. Science is impotent to stop the cycle. And Religion operates on hope, the hope that there is life after death. Hope is all Religion has because Religion can’t stop death either.

In the end, Peacock’s observation was just that, an observation. Only time will tell if he was correct or not. Either Science will conspire to somehow wipe out mankind by means of a new-fangled biological or chemical contraption or, as Religion has warned, God will lose patience with his creatures and destroy them lock, stock, and barrel. Of course, there’s a third possibility. The situation will remain forever as it is now, with people like Thomas Peacock waiting for Science to exterminate the world.

Powered by

About Randall Radic

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/dr-dreadful/ Dr Dreadful

    What a barrel of nonsense. It’s fascinating that a supposedly rational adult can make this moronic argument.

    You talk as if science was a personification independent of human control. Make no mistake: science is not “responsible for” weapons of mass destruction, the depletion of the ozone layer and industrial pollution: PEOPLE are.

    Certainly science was used as a tool to accomplish all those things, but blaming science is like saying jump ropes are evil because this little girl was murdered with one.

  • katmosisxo

    the second evil God sent us was science

    • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com/ Christopher Rose

      That’s the stupidest thing I’ve read today…

  • Joseph O Polanco

    The principles of Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem absolutely gainsays Radical Positivism’s fundamental philosophy. After all, Science is suffused with suppositions that cannot be scientifically substantiated. The epistemology of radical positivism, thus, abrogates science itself. For instance, the principle of induction cannot be scientifically justified. Trying to provide a good inductive argument for radical positivism is hopeless since it necessarily begs the question by presupposing the validity of inductive reasoning in the first place!

    Even more fatal is that radical positivism is self-refuting. At its heart, this pernicious philosophy tells us that we should not accept any proposition that cannot be scientifically proven. But what about that very premise? It cannot itself be scientifically tested much less corroborated. Therefore we should not believe it. Radical Positivism thus asphyxiates itself.

    Or, as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem revealed, ‘Whatsoever can be bounded cannot explain itself without referring to that which is without itself – some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable.’

    This is what renowned Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he concluded, “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

    • Rob Knaggs

      “After all, Science is suffused with suppositions that cannot be scientifically substantiated.”

      You have got to be kidding. Can you honestly not see the absurdity of that statement?

      • Joseph O Polanco

        For instance, the principle of induction cannot be scientifically justified. Trying to provide a good inductive argument for radical positivism is hopeless since it necessarily begs the question by presupposing the validity of inductive reasoning in the first place!

        Even more fatal is that radical positivism is self-refuting. At its heart, this pernicious philosophy tells us that we should not accept any proposition that cannot be scientifically proven. But what about that very premise? It cannot itself be scientifically tested much less corroborated. Therefore we should not believe it. Your Radical Positivism thus asphyxiates itself.

        Or, as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem revealed, ‘Whatsoever can be bounded cannot explain itself without referring to that which is without itself – some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable.’

        This is what renowned Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he concluded, “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing. We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created.”

        Demonstrably, then, your contention with and distaste for the notion of God’s existence is not evidentiary but purely philosophical. It is your philosophy – and only your philosophy – that occludes your path to knowing your Creator’s truths.

        Nevertheless, the day you finally decide to open up the confines of your epistemology of truth is the day the bounteous ken of God will at last be within your grasp. Then, with great shock and piercing regret, you’ll realize you’ve been needlessly depriving yourself all this time of staggering and precious truths.

        • Rob Knaggs

          I said nothing about my opinions or emotions with regard to the question of God’s existence, not did I give any hint of an adherence to “Radical Positivism”, whatever that may be when it’s at home.

          My objection is merely to your characterization of science. In science, “suppositions that cannot be scientifically substantiated” cease to become science. Your contention that science is “suffused” with them is therefore nonsense.

          Maxwell is one of the most important scientists of all time but he lived over 100 years ago, and was writing before the discovery of any of the elemental particles, before the development of quantum physics and before the discovery that matter and energy are just two related states. His is hardly the last word on cosmic origins.

          Having said all this, I suspect the above points are of little account to you since you seem to be responding not to my comment but to some inaudible voice to which you alone are privy; or, more likely, you are copying and pasting from some sort of tract, since it’s unlikely you could have composed an original response of that length in the four minutes since I posted my comment.

          • Rob Knaggs

            Ah, yes, you ARE copying and pasting. A quick Google search of the phrase “even more fatal is that radical positivism is self-refuting” reveals that this identical comment has been posted on at least half a dozen different atheist blogs over the past three years, usually under the name “Maxximilliann”.

          • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com/ Christopher Rose

            He’s obviously incapable of rational thought, Rob, so I’m going to stop responding to him now and may decide we’ve had as much of his robotic idiocy on the site as we should tolerate.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            i. Alright then. Please provide a scientific justification for the principle of induction. Also, scientifically certify that we should not accept any proposition that cannot be scientifically established.

            ii. My apologies. I was under the impression you were an Atheist.

          • Rob Knaggs

            Ah, the old “ask science to do that which it was not designed to do, and utilize this to invalidate any scientific theory or finding that disagrees from your religious worldview” ploy.

            Sorry, not biting.

            I may or may not be an atheist, but that is irrelevant to my original objection.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Yet, Science hinges on the principle of induction as well as a posteriori causality, among many, many others. That is to say, Science is suffused with suppositions that cannot be scientifically substantiated.

        • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com/ Christopher Rose

          Induction is another mathematical method and can be mathematically justified, but can not be applied to justify anything else, so once again you indulge in fool’s errands. ”

          Mathematical induction is a method of mathematical proof typically used to establish a given statement for all natural numbers. It is done in two steps. The first step, known as the base case, is to prove the given statement for the first natural number. The second step, known as the inductive step, is to prove that the given statement for any one natural number implies the given statement for the next natural number. From these two steps, mathematical induction is the rule from which we infer that the given statement is established for all natural numbers.

          The method can be extended to prove statements about more general well-founded structures, such as trees; this generalization, known as structural induction, is used in mathematical logic and computer science. Mathematical induction in this extended sense is closely related to recursion. Mathematical induction, in some form, is the foundation of all correctness proofs for computer programs.

          Although its namesake may suggest otherwise, mathematical induction should not be misconstrued as a form of inductive reasoning (also see Problem of induction). Mathematical induction is an inference rule used in proofs. In mathematics, proofs are examples of deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning is excluded from proofs.”

          I’ve already rebutted your other abuses of logic and reason, so I’ll not repeat them.

          • Joseph O Polanco

            Your stricture is reductive and, therefore, does not obtain. Induction, “inference of a generalized conclusion from particular instances,” as well as “inference in which the conclusion about particulars follows necessarily from general or universal premises,” i.e. deduction, both enjoy universal application in all domains of human though. Try again.

    • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com/ Christopher Rose

      I can’t find any serious literature that establishes a fundamental philosophy for “radical positivism” but, whatever it may be, it isn’t maths and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems apply to maths, not philosophy, so your whole argument is incoherent.

      However, you appear yet again to be objecting to belief in something that can’t be proven, even though that is the problem your theist notions face. Is your tactic then to attack your critics on the same grounds that they criticise your arguments rather than actually responding to their arguments?

      James Clerk Maxwell, who died 134 years ago and therefore was completely unaware of contemporary science in general or physics in particular. He was also some kind of religious evangelist and therefore a victim of the same delusions and pretensions as all such unsubstantiated fare.

  • bliffle

    Polanco is wrong. “The principles of Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem absolutely gainsays…”. Neither Godel principle is capable of proving anything except that some other proofs are not countably denumerable, that is, placed in one-to-one correspondence with integers, that is, aleph 0. In other words, if you take on the task of proving something it may take forever (or at least what we call forever).

    Godel doesn’t absolutely assert anything, it does show that the class of propositions included in simple Propositional Calculus (say, Boolean Algebra) cannot be PROVEN in a countably denumerable number of steps. That does NOT mean that it cannot be proven! Nor is it thereby disproven!

    What Godel says is that the tool of Propositional Calculus cannot prove or disprove the body of science and math.

    Sorry! It must be disappointing that we cannot prove or disprove something with a given tool. Perhaps we have merely chosen the wrong tool. This time. But perhaps we can discover the right tool with further study. But the fact that Propositional calculus cannot be used to prove something does not prove that the opposite is true: the two propositions are merely contrary and not contradictory.